Saturday, April 14, 2007

How do we differentiate between the Iraqis we can trust from the ones we cannot? That is the basic question behind the New Yorker article (dated March 26) by George Packer. The article chronicles the experiences of several Iraqis who have risked their lives to work with the Americans, only to be denied the protection they needed or the insurance that if things got really bad for them and their families, that they would be cared for. But by acknowledging the need for refugee status, the U.S. is admitting defeat. And their distrust of all Iraqis because of the tenuous security situation in Iraq means that there is great reluctance to grant Iraqis any breaks on the security measures, even if it means they wait in long lines, rendered easy targets to bombers.

The author seems to imply that the Americans should be able to make the distinction between Iraqis we can trust and those we cannot. He tells the story of loyal Iraqis who have spent time in the United States, and those who have made great sacrifices, in order to serve the Americans in Iraq, all the while getting little in return. These guys should have been given a break, Packer implies.

This scenario is a lot like the recent use of "zero tolerance" rules in schools to create secure environments, which usually mean that administrators are relieved of the burden of making judgments about what should and should not be permitted. Categorically, there was no discretion for giving some Iraqis the protection they needed, without throwing "confusing" nuance into the way the rules are followed.

No comments: