How we can truly help the Iraqis

September 24, 2007 11:00 pm

It's nice that some members of Congress, including Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Gordon Smith, want to make it easier for 20,000 Iraqis to move to America.

It would be nicer still if the Iraqis wanted to stay home.

We understand, though, why they don't.

Most people, we suspect, if allowed to pick between the two countries would choose America, where you're less likely to be blown up.

The 20,000 Iraqis in question have helped the American military in Iraq by working as translators and guides.

A pair of similar bills, one in the House of Representatives one in the Senate, would simplify the immigration process for all those Iraqis (or some of them, in the case of the Senate bill). This year, as of Aug. 31, 719 Iraqi refugees had moved to this country.

"We have a moral and practical responsibility to step up and help those Iraqis who have put their (lives) at risk because they help Americans," said Blumenauer, a Democrat from Portland.

"It becomes our moral obligation to do something," said Smith, a Republican.

We agree with Smith and Blumenauer.

But America's most important obligation to the Iraqi people is to help them replace the chaos that has reigned there since 2003 with a stable, relatively safe society.

The true measure of America's success in Iraq is not how many citizens of that country we usher into the comparative tranquility of America — it's how many Iraqis respond to our offer with words of native-born pride, "No, thanks. But we're happy right here. At home."