Archive for the ‘Refugees’ Category

Refugee, Immigrant, U.S. Senator To Retire

December 2, 2008

This man is one of our true favorites at Peace and Freedom. A former refugee, immigrant and a true man of strength and character, he has seved his nation and mankind in coutless ways.  Vietnamese immigrants and those locked in Communist jails were among those he stood up for…. He is truly “the embodiment of the American Dream.” 

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S. Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who has struggled to boost his approval ratings because of close ties to President George W. Bush, announced Tuesday he will not seek a second term in 2010.

His seat was widely seen as vulnerable in two years, but Martinez, a Republican, rejected suggestions he faced difficult re-election prospects in a state won last month by Democrat Barack Obama.

“I’ve faced much tougher obstacles in my life,” Martinez said. “My decision is not based on re-election prospects, but on what on what I want to do with the next eight years of my life.”

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON and MARK WANGRIN, Associated Press Writers

Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., speaks at the Republican National ... 
Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., speaks at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 4, 2008. Martinez , who has struggled to boost his approval rating since taking office, will not seek a second term in 2010, a state Republican party official said Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008.(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Martinez, 62, was elected in 2004 after serving as the U.S. secretary for Housing and Urban Development during the Bush administration. He served as general chairman of the Republican National Committee for 10 months, resigning in October 2007.

Martinez was born in Cuba. At the age of 15, he fled to America as part of a Catholic humanitarian effort called Operation Pedro Pan. Catholic charitable groups provided Martinez, who was alone and spoke virtually no English, a temporary home at two youth facilities. He then lived with two foster families, with whom he remains close. He was reunited with his family in Orlando in 1966.

In appointing Martinez in 2001, Bush said he was “the embodiment of the American Dream.”

Vietnam Agrees To Dual Citizenship

November 15, 2008

Vietnam has amended its nationality law to legalise dual citizenship, a change that could affect many in the Vietnamese diaspora of more than three million people, officials said Friday.

The legislature of the communist country on Thursday passed a revised law that maintains Vietnam’s long standing single-nationality principle but, for the first time, allows for a number of exceptions.

The change means that many post-war refugees and other overseas Vietnamese who have become citizens of second countries can officially reclaim their lapsed Vietnamese nationality without losing their new citizenship.

“Those who apply to regain Vietnamese nationality can retain their foreign citizenship if they have justified cause and with permission from the state president,” reported the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

A communist poster in Hanoi. Vietnam has amended its nationality ... 

Above: A communist poster in Hanoi. Vietnam has amended its nationality law to legalise dual citizenship, a change that could affect many in the Vietnamese diaspora of more than three million people, officials said.

(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081114/wl_
afp/vietnampoliticsdualnationality_081114085449

Afghanistan at the crossroads: Drought, food crisis drive Afghans out of villages

November 10, 2008

KABUL, Afghanistan, November 10 (UNHCR) – Severe drought and food shortages have caused thousands of people to leave their villages in Afghanistan’s north and west to find work and aid. Many more are expected to move in desperation as winter approaches.

Provinces such as Badghis, Faryab, Jawzjan, Ghor, Saripul, Balkh and Samangan have been hard hit by a harsh winter earlier this year, followed by a debilitating drought and poor harvest. The production of wheat – an Afghan staple – is reportedly down by 36 percent compared to last year, while the Ministry of Agriculture has said the country is facing a deficit of 2 million tonnes of mixed food items over the next six months.

Soaring global food prices have exacerbated the problem of food insecurity. A UN appeal in July reported that the prices of wheat and wheat flour have gone up by 200 percent countrywide over the past year. The worst affected people are the small farmers, landless people, nomads and casual labourers.

“There’s no rain this year,” complains Qadir, 25, who left his village in Balkh three months ago to find work in Kabul. “Back home, I own a plot of rain-fed land and grew wheat on it. It’s small but was enough to feed my family – until the drought. I just left the land. It’s useless.”

Saifullah, 30, chips in, “The drought has affected hundreds of families in Samangan. We cultivated seeds but couldn’t get a harvest or recoup our money. We’re all leaving.”

Momin, 18, is from Charken village in Balkh province, where he supports a family of six people. “My whole neighbourhood is affected. In the past, we could work on our farms. But now, people are going to Mazar-e-Sharif or Kabul to find jobs,” he says.

The three men have joined hundreds of others at Charahi Sarai Shomali, a busy roundabout in northern Kabul located beside a bus station that plies the route between Kabul and the northern provinces. They come here early every morning and wait for potential employers to pick them up for daily-wage labour, mostly on construction sites. They make US$3-US$4 a day and work three to four days a week on average.

To save up for their families, it’s not unusual for more than 10 of these migrant workers to share one room in Kabul. The living is rough, but at least they have some income and a roof over their heads – unlike the thousands of others who have been displaced by the drought and shortage of food and water.

The numbers of the drought-displaced vary. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre estimates that more than 6,500 Afghans have left their homes in the north and west as a result of the drought this year. The International Committee of the Red Cross believes some 280,000 people are suffering from its effects, and that thousands of families could leave their homes in search of food and work as winter looms.

In the last six months, UNHCR has reported the displacement of more than 2,700 families (approximately 19,000 people), mostly from or within Badghis, Balkh, Saripul and Samangan provinces. Some have gone to district centres like Mazar-e-Sharif, to nearby provinces like Herat, or to neighbouring countries such as Iran and Pakistan. All were forced to move because of food insecurity, drought or poverty.

Some families leaving Keshendeh district in Balkh dismantled their houses, indicating they had no intention to return. Those who remain said that without food and water assistance, 70 percent of the population – or some 500 families – could leave the area. UNHCR is working with other UN agencies and the government to start bringing water tankers as soon as possible.

“Meeting humanitarian needs in areas of origin is the best way to prevent food and drought-related displacement,” said Ewen Macleod, the UN refugee agency’s acting representative in Afghanistan. “This means pre-positioning aid before snow and the cold weather cut off access to some of these areas.”

Returnees have been affected too, including 183 families who returned from Pakistan to Saripul last year and recently left again for Quetta in south-western Pakistan. In the central Afghan provinces of Logar and Ghazni, food insecurity meant that returnees were too busy trying to support themselves to complete construction on their UNHCR-funded shelters. The agency worked with the World Food Programme to provide food to 700 families so that they could focus on finishing their homes before the onset of winter.

The largest recent displacement took place in Balkh, where 1,400 families left their homes in Alborz in late May and set up a makeshift camp beside a river in Sholgara district. After weeks of talks between the community, government and UN agencies, the families were transported back to their villages in mid-July, where they received food rations.

As security deteriorates in parts of the country, the UN has appealed for humanitarian access to allow aid workers to distribute food to needy communities ahead of winter. A recent report by British think tank, the Royal United Services Institute, warned that a looming famine in Afghanistan could pose a greater threat to international efforts to rebuild the country than the conflict there.

Desperation defies definition. Whether driven by hunger, thirst or poverty, thousands of Afghans are moving in an effort to survive. Asked if he plans to return home to Balkh soon, Momin the young job seeker in Kabul sighs, “If you have money, you miss your family. If you have no money, you can’t afford to miss them. You need to do something to help them.”

His friend Abdul Qadir, also from Balkh, adds simply, “If things get worse in Afghanistan, I’ll have to go to Pakistan again.”

By Vivian Tan
in Kabul, Afghanistan

Darfur: UN says 40,000 displaced in last 2 months

October 18, 2008

Some 40,000 civilians have been displaced in Darfur in the last two months by fighting between Sudanese government forces and rebels in the northern and central parts of the wartorn region, said the U.N. on Saturday.

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Writer

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, right, opens a three-day meeting ...
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, right, opens a three-day meeting to discuss the situation in Darfur, at the Friendship Hall in Khartoum, Sudan Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008. The meeting is being attended by regional supporters of President Omar al-Bashir, including the African Union, the Arab League, Egypt, Libya and Qatar, but Darfur rebel groups critical to any peace talks are absent.(AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

The estimate is based on witness accounts, a brief assessment mission and reports by the Sudanese government and aid agencies working in the area, said Gregory Alex, the head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in North Darfur.

“No emergency assistance has gotten to these people,” said Alex. “For the last five or six weeks, they have been living off assistance they are getting from other people … or what they can scrounge for.”

Most of the newly displaced are living in the desert rather than in refugee camps, said Alex. Many of them had been displaced by fighting before but had returned ahead of the recent attacks, he added.

More than 2.5 million people have been displaced in Darfur and up to 300,000 killed since ethnic African groups rebelled against the Arab-dominated national government early in 2003.

A recent round of fighting began in August when government troops attacked rebel-held areas along the border with Libya in northern Darfur — sometimes accompanied by aircraft and Arab militias.

In September, the fighting moved south toward more populated areas. But the U.N. and aid workers said they have had little access to the areas because of the continued tension.

Some villages in the Jebel Marrah area in central Darfur were totally emptied by the September fighting, said an international aid worker, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of government harassment.

The locals in the area were warned ahead of the fighting and about 10,000 of them fled before it broke out, said the aid worker….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081018/ap_on_re_af/af_
sudan_darfur;_ylt=AoHecBqHdIdOjWT0aK1UxZWs0NUE

Pakistan: A Very Personal War Against Terror

October 16, 2008

Nuclear-armed Pakistan remains critically important in the war against terror, critically important in halting the ugly tide of extremists and militants, critically important to regional peace and stability and critically important to U.S. national security.

On February 10 of this year, Pakistani journalist Muhammad Khurshid joined with me to write a commentary essay for the Washington Times.  We started by asking, “Given just 10 minutes with a candidate running for the White House in the United States, or ten minutes of discussion with a citizen-voter in America, what points should be made about Pakistan?”

A lot has changed in Pakistan and in the U.S. since that time.  President General Musharraf is no longer the dominant political figure in Pakistan.  Now, as we write, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari is in China currying favor and gaining much needed financial backing. That support from China to Pakistan is needed, in Mr. Zardari’s view, due to doubts about his U.S. ally and because of Mr. Zardari’s inability to deliver on very basic promises.  

Pakistan’s new government is unable even to deliver round-the-clock electricity to the nation’s capitol, Islamabad, and the safety and security of the Pakistani people is eroding steadily due to an onslaught of terrorist killings. 

 

Chinese honour guards march past Beijing's Tiananmen Square ...
Above: Chinese honor guards march past Beijing’s Tiananmen Square during a lavish official welcome ceremony for Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, outside the Great Hall of the People October 15, 2008. Zardari arrived on Tuesday for his first visit to China as president, and has said he wants his four-day trip “to remind the leadership of the world how close our relationship is”. Pakistan is set to usher in a series of agreements with China during the trip, highlighting Islamabad’s hopes that Beijing will help it through economic and diplomatic troubles.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)    
 

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) smiles with his Pakistani counterpart ...
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) smiles with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari in front of their respective country’s flags during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 15, 2008. Zardari arrived on Tuesday for his first visit to China as president, and has said he wants his four-day trip ‘to remind the leadership of the world how close our relationship is’. Pakistan is set to usher in a series of agreements with China during the trip, highlighting Islamabad’s hopes that Beijing will help it through economic and diplomatic troubles.(David Gray/Reuters)

 

 

The U.S. has doubts about Mr. Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s widow, who was called “Mr. Ten Percent” for his corruption and bribe-taking during his wife’s administration of Pakistan.   And Americans wonder if he is truly committed to the war against terrorists.
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Many Pakistanis say that the U.S. is raining down missiles upon Pakistan’s innocent civilians — missiles from unmanned Predator drones.  The U.S. says the cross-border attacks from Afghanistan are eliminating Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists.  Terrorist inside Pakistan are waging a daily war of bombings, killing and kidnapping that have surpassed the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The devastation of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel is the most visible evidence of this hate and death campaign.     

The Pakistani Army has entered Muhammad’s homeland in the Bajaur Agency of the tribal areas, creating at least 200,000 refugees and displaced persons, and probably more.  Muhammad has had friends and relatives killed and he has lost track of his own wife and family several times.  He has taken to asking Western journalists for funds and support.

Pakistani army soldiers take up positions in the troubled Swat ... 
Pakistani army soldiers take up positions in the troubled tribal areas in early October.
(AFP/File/Chand Khan)

In short, Pakistan is now at a cross roads that cannot be ignored.  An uncerttain and problematic economy and government have fueled militant extremists that are exploding in numbers and ferocity.

“Given just 10 minutes with a candidate running for the White House in the United States, or ten minutes of discussion with a citizen-voter in America, what points should be made about Pakistan?”

First, we would remind both Senators Obama and McCain and all Americans that the number one task of the President of the United States is his role as Commander in Chief of the armed forces, as defined in Article II of the Constitution.  Then we would suggest that the president has great singular responsibility and authority to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, ” as his oath states.  He is also tasked with defending the United States “against all enemies” and is the man who, arguably, has more singular authority than anyone else for the conduct of war, the preservation of the United States and the safety of Americans against the assaults from enemies including terrorists.

More than ever we believe that Pakistan is on the “tip of the spear,” teetering between total unrest and possible take-over by militant extremists.  Only close cooperation between the U.S. and the government of Pakistan can avert “loss’ of Pakistan, and emboldened Taliban and al-Qaeda, and continued and growing world=wide unrest and terror.

We ask God to watch over our friend Muhammad.  But we aslo ask God to keep in the fore of our presidential candidates’ minds the ongoing global conflict which has been tipping increasingly toward Pakistan.

Related:
China and Pakistan’s Strategic Importance: Background
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Violence Wounds Pakistan’s Trust in U.S.

Jason Motlagh and Ayesha Akram
The Washington Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan | A large advertisement on the front page of a major Pakistani newspaper recently featured an image of the Marriott hotel, ablaze in the night after last month’s suicide truck bombing.

“This war is OUR war,” screamed the headline, asking why those responsible for the attack that killed 60 people “should be allowed to overwhelm a nation.”

The media campaign reflects a growing crisis of confidence among Pakistanis. They fear more militant violence and are also increasingly uneasy about an alliance with the United States that appears to be spurring the attacks. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 64 percent of Pakistanis say the United States is the greatest threat facing the nation.

“The public is confused and demoralized,” said Ayaz Amir, a leading political columnist. “They don’t like what the Taliban is doing, don’t like what the U.S. is doing, and there is not a clear sense of direction from the new leadership. No solution is in sight.”

In an indication of the gravity of the situation in both Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, met Thursday in the military garrison town of Rawalpindi with Pakistan’s armed forces chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, and his Afghan counterpart, Gen. Bismullah Khan. It was the first such three-way meeting since U.S. ground forces raided Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, an area that remains a sanctuary for the Taliban and al Qaeda and may host Osama bin Laden. The Sept. 3 raid inflamed Pakistani opinion.

Last week, President Asif Ali Zardar  summoned Pakistani lawmakers and top security officials to a rare, closed-door session to discuss the situation in the tribal areas. The Zardari government hopes to devise a counterterrorism strategy that will affirm the primacy of a civilian government that followed nine years of military rule in February.

“The ongoing briefing session … is a step towards strengthening the democratic system as it is aimed at taking public representatives on board on the most important challenge the country is currently facing,” Information Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters last week. “Public ownership of the war” is critical, she said.

However, several lawmakers said afterward that the briefing lacked depth and diagnosis, especially on the terms of engagement with the United States.

A destruction at police station caused by suicide bombing in ...
Destruction at a police station caused by suicide bombing in Pakistan’s troubled area of Mingora in Swat district on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008. A suicide bomber attacked a police station in northwest Pakistan Thursday, killing four security officers — the latest in a series of blasts that are eroding confidence in the nuclear-armed country.(AP Photo/Sherin Zada)

Meanwhile, militants appear capable of striking with impunity.

Hours before Mrs. Rehman spoke, four people were injured when a suicide car bomber attacked a police complex in a high-security zone on the outskirts of the capital.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/16/violence-wounds-pakistani-trust-in-us/

Nearly 190,000 flee fighting in Pakistan

October 15, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Nearly 190,000 people have reportedly fled fighting between Pakistani troops and extremists near the border with Afghanistan, the United Nations said yesterday as fresh clashes in the area killed 17 extremists.

A Pakistani police commando leads a convoy of armed Pakistani ...

A Pakistani police commando leads a convoy of armed Pakistani people on patrol against Islamic militants in Mamoon Khataki Shabqader on the border of the tribal district of Mohmand Agency on October 9, 2008. A Polish engineer kidnapped two weeks ago in Pakistan by suspected Taliban militants appeared in a video address Tuesday urging the release of jailed Taliban fighters.(AFP/File/Tariq Mahmood)

Fighting is spreading across Pakistan’s rugged northwest as the government cracks down on insurgents blamed for attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and a campaign of suicide bombings against military and Western targets within Pakistan.

Most of the clashes are taking place in Bajur, where the Pakistani military launched a big offensive in early August.

The U.N. refugee agency said 20,000 Pakistanis and Afghans had fled Bajur into eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province since the fighting began.

Read the rest:
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/20081015_Near
ly_190_000_flee_fighting_in_Pakistan.html

Consequences of Speedy Withdrawal From Iraq?

March 31, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 31, 2008

Every time I hear someone like Barack Obama talk about an immediate removal of American troops from Iraq, I say to myself: “you will condemn unknown millions to death and torture.”Even former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski believes a speedy U.S. troop removal will be a good thing.  And he said he supports Mr. Obama.

Writing in the Washington Post yesterday (March 30, 2008), Mr. Brzinski said, “The contrast between the Democratic argument for ending the war and the Republican argument for continuing is sharp and dramatic. The case for terminating the war is based on its prohibitive and tangible costs, while the case for ‘staying the course’ draws heavily on shadowy fears of the unknown and relies on worst-case scenarios. President Bush’s and Sen. John McCain’s forecasts of regional catastrophe are quite reminiscent of the predictions of ‘falling dominoes’ that were used to justify continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Neither has provided any real evidence that ending the war would mean disaster, but their fear-mongering makes prolonging it easier.”

Ironically, many of the same liberals who demand an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq are the same ones who believe they are great protectors of human rights and also suffer from the dream that America’s withdrawal from Vietnam was justified and made Southeast Asia a better place.

The truth is: America’s departure from Vietnam meant death, torture and imprisonment for millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians. Both contries became communist — which is hardly a good thing. 

In my view, America’s withdrawal from Vietnam was the biggest tragedy of American foreign policy during the last century. America’s withdrawal from Vietnam is a gigantic black mark on America’s history.

Yesterday, Dith Pran died. Dith Pran is the person who called the carnage in Cambodia after America left Vietnam “The Killing Fields.”

Mr. Max Boot, writing in today’s Washington Post said, “Why am I not reassured by Zbigniew Brzezinski’s breezy assurance in Sunday’s Outlook section that ‘forecasts of regional catastrophe’ after an American pullout from Iraq are as overblown as similar predictions made prior to our pullout from South Vietnam? Perhaps because the fall of Saigon in 1975 really was a catastrophe. Another domino fell at virtually the same time — Cambodia.”

Mr. Boot continued, “Estimates vary, but a safe bet is that some two million people died in the killing fields of Cambodia. In South Vietnam, the death toll was lower, but hundreds of thousands were consigned to harsh ‘reeducation’ camps where many perished, and hundreds of thousands more risked their lives to flee as ‘boat people.’”

How do I know personally about the carnage of refugees when America departs from a far away war zone? I am married to a former prisoner of communism and a refugee who was born in Vietnam.

Saigon fell to the communists in 1975. My bride made it to America in 1998. She considers herself one of the “lucky ones.”

Just yesterday, as my wife and I were teaching English to Vietnamese-Americans, a man named Chien told me that in 1975 his father was given three days notice by the communists to report for reeducation. He was gone for six years and ten months. When he returned, he had lost nearly half his body weight due to overwork, malnourishment and harsh conditions with no medial care.

Chien’s father considered himself one of the “lucky ones” — because he had seen so many tortured and seen so many deaths.

One of the most degrading and harmful crimes committed against refugees is rape. Pirates, criminals, police, guards, soldiers even sometimes representatives of the United Nations have been known to rape refugees.

The criminal act of rape is not so much a sexual act of gratification, according to psychologists. Instead, in the case of refugees, it is a barbaric act of power, control and forced compliance with any order or directive.

After hearing countless stories of rape and humiliation related to me by Vietnamese refugees and “boat people” who fled communist Vietnam between 1975 and the late 1990s, I thought it might be useful to share some small bits of these stories without using the real names of any of the victims.

May was about 25 years old when she left Saigon and began to run away from communism and toward freedom. She traveled with her family to the sea coast and as a group they paid a broker about $1,000 per person for the privilege of leaving Vietnam by boat.

They transited by sea toward Thailand and freedom but they had never heard about the pirates plying the seas in search of the vulnerable and weak.

May’s entire family and everyone else in her boat suffered the horrible fate of being descended upon by armed pirates. Four Vietnamese men were killed in the attack and two more were slaughtered because they did not react quickly enough to the orders of the pirates. One man was beheaded by the pirates in front of the horrified refugee women and children.

May and all the other women in the boat were raped repeatedly. But, because she was one of the youngest and most beautiful women in the boat, May was singled out for special humiliation, abuse and torture. Her arms were tied so each spread out parallel to the deck and away from her torso. The lines were knotted painfully tight so that she could not move. She looked like someone subjected to crucifixion. Then her ankles were bound and tied so that her legs were apart. More than 22 men had they way with May before she lost consciousness.

When she regained the ability to think, she felt unbearable pain and shame and embarrassment. He own mother cut her down after the pirates left and tended to her bleeding.

When this refugee boat made landfall in Thailand, every woman was “rinsed out” without her own consent or authorization. The Thais didn’t want any pregnant refugees on their hands.

“And the cost of entering Thailand and the cost of entering the refugee camp was rape,” a Vietnamese American woman told us.

“My sister was raped 13 times,” she said.

“Many of my relatives disappeared. We are sure they must have been killed.”May wound up in the infamous Thai refugee center called “Sikhiew Camp.” She estimated that in her two year stay there she was raped about 60 more times.

Another Vietnamese woman named Suan told me a heartening story about the value of human life.

Like May, Suan was raped on the boat trip from Vietnam to Thailand. When she debarked from the boat in Thailand and saw the women being rinsed out, she faked an illness and refused the procedure. For some reason the Thai police sent her on her way to the refugee camp.

A few months later Suan realized that she was pregnant. All of her relatives and friends told her to abort the baby – and an old woman said she knew how to carry out the procedure as painlessly as possible.

Suan, a Roman Catholic who believed abortion to be a sin, prayed for two weeks for guidance. Then she told her mother she would need help having “her baby.”

Suan gave birth to a baby boy while in the refugee center. Today he is an American citizen who is a policeman in New England.

Suan’s decision to have her baby — a baby forced upon her by a man she didn’t know and didn’t love — turned out to be a good one. A real lesson in the value of human life and our ability to overcome hardship.

So when I hear people talk about quickly pulling American troops out of Iraq without discussing the implications for so many in that region who will then be at risk, I think about the refugees and their hardship. I live among them every day.

I live among the “lucky ones,” because millions died and we’ll never know how many.

Related:
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Plan to End Iraq War

How Not to End the War
By Max Boot

‘Killing Fields’ survivor Dith Pran dies

Disaster of Hasty Withdrawal
By Henry Kissinger

Vietnam After the Fall of Saigon: 1975 Until Present

The Fall of Saigon: 1975 (Part II)

The Fall of Saigon: 1975 (Part I)

Thailand’s Criminal Abuse of Refugees: a Shameful 30+ Year Saga

How Not to End the War

March 31, 2008

 By Max Boot
The Washington Post
Monday, March 31, 2008; 12:00 AM

Why am I not reassured by Zbigniew Brzezinski’s breezy assurance in Sunday’s Outlook section that “forecasts of regional catastrophe” after an American pullout from Iraq are as overblown as similar predictions made prior to our pullout from South Vietnam? Perhaps because the fall of Saigon in 1975 really was a catastrophe. Another domino fell at virtually the same time — Cambodia.

Estimates vary, but a safe bet is that some two million people died in the killing fields of Cambodia. In South Vietnam, the death toll was lower, but hundreds of thousands were consigned to harsh “reeducation” camps where many perished, and hundreds of thousands more risked their lives to flee as “boat people.”

The consequences of the U.S. defeat rippled outward, emboldening communist aggression from Angola to Afghanistan. Iran’s willingness to hold our embassy personnel hostage — something that Brzezinski should recall — was probably at least in part a reaction to America’s post-Vietnam malaise. Certainly the inability of the U.S. armed services to rescue those hostages was emblematic of the “hollow,” post-Vietnam military. It took us more than a decade to recover from the worst military defeat in our history.

In a sense, however, we have never been able to shed its baleful legacy. Thirty years later, Ayman al Zawahiri acknowledged that he was still inspired by “the aftermath of the collapse of the American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/28/AR2008032801729.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 

Related:
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Plan to End Iraq War

Refugees Suffer the Agony of Mankind’s Most Heinous Predators

For a real human story from Cambodia, start by reading:
‘Killing Fields’ survivor Dith Pran dies

China hits back at US on human rights, says Iraq war a disaster

March 13, 2008

BEIJING (AFP) – China on Thursday accused the United States of human rights hypocrisy, as it branded the US invasion of Iraq the “greatest humanitarian disaster” of the modern world.

Police with their sniffer dogs walk across Tiananmen Square, ...
Police with their sniffer dogs walk across Tiananmen Square, as seen here on March 8. China on Thursday accused the United States of human rights hypocrisy, as it branded the US invasion of Iraq the “greatest humanitarian disaster” of the modern world.
(AFP/File/Frederic J. Brown)

In an annual response to Washington’s criticism of China’s human rights record, the Chinese government labelled the United States arrogant, and highlighted what it said were widespread US failures at home and abroad.

“(America’s) arrogant critique on the human rights of other countries are always accompanied by a deliberate ignoring of serious human rights problems on its own territory,” said the report, released by the state Xinhua news agency.

“This was not only inconsistent with universally recognised norms of international relations, but also exposed the double standards and downright hypocrisy of the United States on the human rights issue, and inevitably impaired its international image.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080313/wl_afp/
chinausrightsiraq_080313063702

Attacks Pushing Darfur Refugees Into Chad

February 11, 2008
Published: February 11, 2008

DAKAR, Senegal — Thousands of refugees fleeing attacks by Arab militias and Sudanese Army bombs in the ravaged western region of Darfur have flooded into neighboring Chad, the United Nations said Sunday, and many more may be on their way as Sudan strikes back at a rebel offensive in the area.The attacks throw a region sundered by conflict into still deeper chaos as a volatile mix of rebels, government forces and ethnic militias jockey to control a vast and unforgiving stretch of semidesert that straddles the two troubled countries. Just a week ago, Chadian rebels based in Sudan tried to topple Chad’s government, making it all the way to the gates of the presidential palace in Ndjamena before being beaten back.Making matters worse, the rebel group that had controlled the part of Darfur….Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/11/world/africa/11darfur.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
area.