Angelina Jolie, right, poses with Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky in Baghdad on Feb. 7.
For those inclined to ask “who cares?” every time a celebrity-and-politics news item makes the rounds, consider it asked already. For everyone else, The Washington Post published an opinion piece by actress Angelina Jolie on Thursday about the problem of Iraqi refugees fleeing to Syria, Jordan and “a vast and very dangerous no-man’s land” within their own borders. Now, Jolie says, is the time for Americans to “do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.”
Angelina Jolie in The Washington Post:
Today’s humanitarian crisis in Iraq—and the potential consequences for our national security—are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of [the] Middle East, won’t explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?
What we cannot afford, in my view, is to squander the progress that has been made. In fact, we should step up our financial and material assistance. UNHCR has appealed for $261 million this year to provide for refugees and internally displaced persons. That is not a small amount of money—but it is less than the U.S. spends each day to fight the war in Iraq. I would like to call on each of the presidential candidates and congressional leaders to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.