Despite objections from Congress, President Bush said again today he's "the decision maker" who will not modify his plans for Iraq. He also confirmed his order to capture or kill Iranian agents thought to be threatening American troops in Iraq. Those stories, and the growing number of refugees from Iraqi violence and sectarian cleansing. Between 40,000 and 50,000 a month are leaving the country. Why have just 466 been allowed into the United States? How does that compare to Vietnam? On Reporter's Notebook, while President Bush orders a kill-order against Iranian operatives in Iraq, Russian President Vladimir Putin is in India, angling for lucrative nuclear contracts.
FROM THIS EPISODE
At the outside of the Iraq invasion, a tidal wave of refugees was predicted. It didn't happen right away. But last February, the bombing of a Shiite mosque set off the orgy of deadly sectarian violence that continues to drive both Sunnis and Shiites from their homes. Some 40 to 50,000 Iraqis are leaving home every month and some 2 million are already abroad. But just 466 refugees have been allowed to immigrate to the United States. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees calls it the largest exodus in the Middle East since Palestinians were displaced by the 1948 creation of Israel. A US official brands it "shameful," especially for those who risked their lives as interpreters and drivers for government agencies and civilian contractors. It's a far cry from happened during and after the Vietnam War. We hear from the UN, immigration reformers in the US and refugees, including a civil engineer who left Iraq in 2004--after her son was kidnapped at gunpoint by local gangs.
Faiza Al-Araji, Iraqi mother, engineer and refugee
Wendy Young, Kids in Need of Defense (@supportkind)
Andrew Lam, editor for New America Media
Jack Martin, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform
Before last November's election the Bush Administration, with virtually no opposition from then-minority Democrats, approved a massive nuclear deal with India. It was based in part on projections of increased trade with American suppliers. Today, India entertained an offer from Vladimir Putin to build four nuclear reactors in India. The Russian President reportedly will be guest at India's Republic Day celebrations after meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as we hear from Chidanand Rajghatta of the Times of India.
Chidanand Rajghatta, foreign editor for the Times of India
The Senate today confirmed General David Patraeus, President Bush's choice as his new Iraq commander. The vote was unanimous, but objections from both parties have not changed the President's mind about increasing troops in Iraq. The President also confirmed reports that he's ordered soldiers to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq. We get an update from Baghdad from Dafna Linzer, who broke the story of the President's order in the Washington Post, and Borzou Daragahi who is in Baghdad for the Los Angeles Times.