I hope Iraqi cuisine is tasty, because Iraqi restaurants may be the only thing we'll get out of our Mesopotamian adventure. (Of course, the neocons may eventually wonder why they were so enthusiastic for a war that ended up bringing lots of anti-Semites to the U.S.) The NYT reports:
In the latest indication of the crushing hardships weighing on the lives of Iraqis, increasing portions of the middle class seem to be doing everything they can to leave the country. In the last 10 months, the state has issued new passports to 1.85 million Iraqis, 7 percent of the population and a quarter of the country's estimated middle class.
The school system offers another clue: Since 2004, the Ministry of Education has issued 39,554 letters permitting parents to take their children's academic records abroad. The number of such letters issued in 2005 was double that in 2004, according to the director of the ministry's examination department. Iraqi officials and international organizations put the number of Iraqis in Jordan at close to a million. Syrian cities also have growing Iraqi populations.
A reader writes:
Not if you read this article by Lawrence Kaplan in The New Republic from the 4/3/06 issue:
While over 40,000 Iraqi Christians have fled their homeland since the invasion, last year the United States permitted fewer than 200 Iraqis to immigrate.
...but "the policy since the war began is, 'We're not granting asylum.' ... There is no processing of refugees from Iraq." The reasons derive from post-September 11 security restrictions and, in the telling of a senior administration official, from the fiction that Iraqis, now liberated, no longer endure systematic persecution.
Sorry to hear that about the Arab Christians, who typically have assimilated well in the U.S., but, overall, that shows more sense than you'd expect from this government. We may still get the big airlift off the roof of the US embassy of American collaborators, although I can't say we've seen all that many enthusiastic collaborators in Iraq compared to South Vietnam.