SHAME: US is Screwing Over Iraqis who Helped Us

imageI am ashamed to be an American today.  I learned about TheListProject.org

Synopsis: Iraqis who helped US in Iraq during and after the war have put themselves in danger and are now being murdered in Iraq, because US failed to protect them or take them in as refugees.  US had a moral obligation, went through the motions (senate passed a law allocating 25,000 visas), but…

The machine that should have allowed people to immigrate failed

Example: a guy worked as a forklift operator, attempted to immigrate as a refugee, provided US Immigration everything needed, had the American company he worked for vouch for him, and yet the system dragged the process on failing to adequately handle his case.  He started the process on June 28th, 2011.  Around June 2012, he was murdered. (source: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/takingnames/)

To say that this guy, who took an immense risk in Iraq to support US, has been betrayed feels like an understatement.  “Screwed over” is a more appropriate phrase.

US is our country and, when things go wrong, it is our fault

Problem: It seems to me that the problem is not that people are malicious, but that the system has apathetic and unaccountable elements, leading to tragedy/travesty through inaction.

Solution: I don’t know what is the proper fix is, but, for starters, the system should not be anonymous.  Perhaps giving out names would be dangerous, but every employee should have an identifier and every employee should be required, by law, to sign with his or her identifier every communication and to provide said identifier upon request.  I would also think it would be good for all email communication to be publicly visible (even if redacted and with a delay to security purposes) so that press and citizens have the opportunity to monitor government activity.

Responsibility: People blame the system.  But the system is built and run by people.  We are these people.  Individual government employees sometimes fail to understand that they are not just paper pushers or cogs.  They are us.  The government job they have is a huge responsibility and whether they are in a lower court or in the Department of State, we, the people, entrust them/us with making sure that the system accurately reflects and represents us.

Action Items: What happened and continues to happen in Iraq is embarrassing, shameful, immoral, and outrageous.  What can we do?

Outcomes: the system won’t be fixed overnight.  But it should NOT be an anonymous Kafkaesque monster.  I suggest that we should pursue the following:

  • systemic transparency and accountability
  • when people are murdered (or other things go wrong) because of the system (in the US or abroad):
    • if the problem is with individual employees, who do not adequately do their job – these employees should be held accountable
    • if the problem is systemic, the system should be built to rapidly evolve
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Filed under Humanity, Life, Politics, WTF

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