According to an annual U.N. report, Global Trends, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq produced nearly half of the world’s refugees and dispossessed people in 2008. The U.N. refugee agency also reported that developing nations carry the greatest burden, hosting an estimated four-fifths of all worldwide refugees.
Last July, then-Sen. and presumptive nominee Barack Obama wrote in an op-ed piece for The New York Times that his administration would “commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.” Under the previous administration, the United States accepted about 13,000 Iraqi refugees, with the vast majority given entrance during Bush’s final year in office. This year alone, the goal is to accept close to 17,000 Iraqis.
Half of all the world’s refugees were displaced by the United States? I doubt very much that most Americans are aware of how destructive those two wars have been. I knew that the war in Iraq displaced a huge number of people, but had no idea it produced a plurality of the world’s refugees.
Of course what this means is that the United States is responsible for these people. Let’s hope that the Obama Administration, unlike the Bush Administration, accepts some responsibility and attempts to right our country’s wrongs.