Join a Discussion on Helping the World's Refugees

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
June 7, 2011
Live: Conversations With America: Helping the World's Refugees

On Tuesday, June 14, 2011, Eric Schwartz, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, will hold a conversation with George Rupp, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, on “Helping the World's Refugees.” The discussion will be moderated by Cheryl Benton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, and streamed live on DipNote, the Department of State's official blog, at 10:15 a.m. (EDT). You are invited to participate by submitting questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions now on DipNote.

Through Conversations With America, leaders of national nongovernmental organizations have the opportunity to discuss foreign policy and global issues with senior State Department officials. These conversations aim to provide candid views of the ways in which leaders from the foreign affairs community are engaging the Department on pressing foreign policy issues. From Afghanistan to India, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and internet freedom to world water issues, the Conversations With America series showcases how both the U.S. government and civil society are working across the globe on issues that concern Americans most.



New Jersey, USA
June 13, 2011

Liz in New Jersey writes:

I am wondering why more Iraqi refugees are not admitted into the U.S.? We started a war and created such a mess for their country.

We need to make amends and admit more, particularly those that worked for the U.S.

Thank you

North Carolina, USA
June 13, 2011

Louise in North Carolina writes:

Could you explain how IRC monitors the local IRC agencies to be sure all contractual oblizations are being met? Could you also explain the process one would use to ask IRC national a wuestion about local IRC resettlement agencies.

Judith P.
United States
June 13, 2011

Judith P. in the U.S.A. writes:

It is my understanding that our government is prepared to admit and provide financial assistance to all and any persons in Israel who want to leave for security reasons.

Why would this group be preferred and admitted without question, as this is how I understood it. There are many people from Muslim countries that are in danger because of their political beliefs, including their children.
I do not think that the admission of some groups over another is acceptable. They must all be evaluated using the same criteria, and no one from our "favored" government have preferred assistance.

Just as in Iraq, the people are responsible for getting rid of a government that is causing them pain and repression. Netanyahu is not our leader, and is treated like a King when he comes to American, and we pour over three billion assistance a year to this cruel oppressive and murdering government. Please provide assistance to the Palestinians over the Jews. Enough of this.

New Mexico, USA
June 14, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Nancy L. in Illinois,

-92,614 Iraqi civilian direct deaths from armed violence occurring from March 20, 2003 through March 19, 2008

-Coalition forces accounted for aprox. 12% (n = 11,516)

Source; Iraq Body Count database- not counting;

-400,000 found in mass graves from Saddam's decades in power.

Source; USAID

So how on Earth do you get a figure of "5 million Iraqi orphans" from the above figures Nancy? It just doesn't add up any way you figure it.

As I pointed out to Malin H. we didn't start these wars we're involved in.

Folks call Iraq a "war of choice" , but look at the choice of having left him in power after removing him from Kuwait; having only a cease-fire that was violated perpetually, Clinton bombed him in 98, and left him in power; a total of 12 UN resolutions later and diplomacy exhausted, would you have left him in power to fill more mass graves, sponsor terrorism and have illusions of grandure of reconstituting WMD programs while sanctions proved themselves a failure? Never mind the Iranian and Syrian destabilization program that instigated sectarian violence after his fall in addition to aiding al-quaida's presence and terrorism in doing so. That effort by tyrants only killed some 75% of the total civilians accounted for, and I suppose you think that's America's fault too, right?

You think diplomacy would have handled that better than the surge did that drove these terrorists out of Iraq along with the Iranian "special groups"?

Do you understand why Obama "surged" in Afghanistan?

Not because he adheres to Howard Zinn's philosophy I can assure you. But simply because he's charged with the safety and security of America and its people. That requires that we help others help themselves overcome their tyrants and terrorist threats posed by them as a "given" in that process.

The problem with Howard Zinn is that he thinks all humans are subject to reason, but the truth is diplomacy and reason never actually works with tyrants; and if that was the only avalable course of action to take in the face of the unacceptable wars foisted upon us, then we wouldn't be living today in a democratic society, because Germany would have gotten the bomb long before we did in WW2 and nuked the good 'ol USA with it.

Instead my granddad and his team built the first ones, and shortened that war by 2.5 years; saving the lives of over 5 million Japanese and at least a million Americans who otherwise would have died invading the Japanese home islands; as was imminent at the time.

One could say our involvement in Lybia is a "war of choice"; the choice to do nothing other than what Howard Zinn proscibes and watch as Bengazi was destroyed and overrun by a tyrant who vowed to "show no mercy" on the population; or the choice to step in and stop the slaughter and destroy Ghaddafi's capacity to make war on his people.

The only thing wars are good for is in offering humanity the opportunity to learn from them and attempt to become a more social creature able to deal with its collective insanity and the ethical infants who start them, for it only takes one.

Yet as long as dictators and tyrants are left in power long enough to cause human misery, there will be those among my fellow Americans who'll buy into our adversary's propaganda that it's all our fault and we need to somehow appologize for winning the wars we get into?

Do you realize that the first legistlative act following the Congress' authorization to wage war on al-quaida was to pay our UN dues in order to help 4 million Afghan refugees displaced by the taliban and the civil wars of the 90's, and that virtually the first US sorties flown were not to bomb Bin Laden's training camps, but to airlift food and supplies to Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan?

What other nation tries to address the harrowing symptoms of conflict at the same time we engage in defeating those who would do us, and anyone that doesn't adhere to terrorist's mad totalitarian ideology, great bodily harm to the world's people?

You know why this President of our's is today telling dictators to "get out of the way?

Here's a clue;

"Today there is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. I feel that we've got to look at this total thing anew and recognize that we must live together. That the whole world now it is one--not only geographically but it has to become one in terms of brotherly concern. Whether we live in America or Asia or Africa we are all tied in a single garment of destiny and whatever effects one directly, effects one in-directly."

-Excerpted from a 1967 interview of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Arnold Michaelis.



Texas, USA
June 14, 2011

J.R. in Texas writes:

I have been working with the U.S. refugee population since 2007. I have witness numerous government organizations try and fail to educate and provide resources to the refugees once they arrive here. The problem is that they are not educated upon arrival. They are given a handbook, they can't read. They are mailed letters, they have no idea what mail is or the importance of quick response. They are given a bucket of cleaning materials, they come from bamboo or thatch huts and dirt floors.

The fact is, they must be educated ON THE GROUND in the country they come from or they are set up to fail here when they arrive. We cannot expect them (especially those over age 40) to be able to adapt within a few months here with no preparation. I have witnessed suicides, homelessness, poverty, addictions, strain on medicare/medicaid, and insanity as a result of their lack of preparation when they arrive.

I propose rather than developing another plan of "what to do once they are on the ground here", we need to revamp the plan to culturally educate them in the camps to better prepare them for the shock of U.S. culture. --> The UNHCR and U.S. reps are currently doing a horrible job of this.



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