One More Cruel Hoax - Iraqi Refugees Return
...the much-hyped success of the surge and the return of the refugees is as big a bosh as Bush's WMDs. The streets of Baghdad and Mosul remain deadly killing grounds and the refugees are being manipulated like pawns in a political bunko game to get a U.S. president elected. Moreover, the myth of their return is a cruel hoax that could shred them of the legitimacy of sanctuary.
The campaign to foist these lies on the U.S. electorate began congruently enough just a few hours into this past November election day. On November 7th, the Washington Post reported on a Baghdad press conference by the U.S.-Iraqi Joint Pacification Command at which General Quassin al-Moussawi insisted the city had grown so safe that over 46,000 refugees had returned in October. Moussawi was seconded by his U.S. counterpart Major General Joseph Fils: "there is no question that families are returning to Baghdad." The next day, New York Times correspondent Damien Cave met with General Fils over egg rolls in the Green Zone and later wrote "by all accounts, Iraq families who fled their homes in the past two yeas are returning to Baghdad."
Then on November 12th, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki announced that 7000 families had already returned to Baghdad thanks to the good offices of Bush's surge and invited the millions of Iraqis still displaced by the carnage to come home. A spokesperson for the Displacement Ministry backed up the Prime Minister, estimating that 1600 families a day had returned from internal and external exile during October, many of them on free buses the Iraqi puppet government had sent to Damascus to transport refugees home.
Days later, even Cave had to concede the numbers were bogus. General Moussawi's 46,000 seems to represent all Iraqi citizens crossing the borders from Syria and Jordan during October 2007 and included returning vacationers, business travelers, religious pilgrims, and exiles temporarily returning to retrieve money or for medical care or to bury a relative - in addition to a few refugees going home for good. Even foreign fighters and three insurgents who had fled to Syria and were arrested in Baqouba days later are thought to be in the mix.
The 1600 families who had reportedly returned daily during October were more like 50, a representative of the bus line chartered by the Maliki government to bring them home, told Cave. Once more, thousands were still fleeing Baghdad - more than were returning according to a bulletin issued by the Iraqi Red Crescent.