Current Observations Home Current Observations Home Current Observations Home

Death By Bureaucracy

Thursday, March 30, 2006

There's an excellent editorial in the LA Times that I want to highlight that I thought was rather disturbing. It showcases the problem with government when good intentions come in contact with bureaucrats. Until I had read this editorial, I had not heard of this department, the federal Refugee Resettlement Program. From the editorial:
IN HIS SECOND inaugural address, President Bush made a stirring commitment to oppressed people yearning to be free: "When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."

For half a century, one of the best expressions of that bond has been the federal Refugee Resettlement Program. This State Department-administered program seeks to offer a safe harbor to those fearing persecution by tyrannical governments. But thousands of people whose lives are at risk for standing up for freedom will this year be denied help because of a Kafkaesque interpretation of who is deemed a terrorist.
The laws governing eligibility for refugee status have long denied it to anyone who commits a terrorist act or who provides "material support" to terrorists. These laws were strengthened after 9/11. The problem was created by recent legislation that expanded the definition of terrorists. There are real-life consequences from such myopic "reform."
The editorial then lists some tragic examples of people who have reached for a hand up, only to find a clenched fist pounding them back down. Here are a couple of examples:
In Liberia, a female head of a household was referred to the U.S. resettlement program by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a person particularly vulnerable to attack. Rebels had come to her home, killed her father and beat and gang-raped her. The rebels held her hostage in her own home and forced her to wash their clothes. The woman escaped after several weeks and made her way to a refugee camp. The Department of Homeland Security has decided that because the rebels lived in her house and she washed their clothes, she had provided "material support" to the rebels; the case has been placed on hold.

A Sierra Leonean woman's house was attacked by rebels in 1992. A young family member was killed with machetes, another minor was subjected to burns and the woman and her daughter were raped. The rebels kept the family captive for days in their own home. Homeland Security has placed the case on hold for "material support" concerns because the family is deemed to have provided housing to the rebels. Under this interpretation, it does not matter whether the support provided was given willingly or under duress.
I recommend reading this entire editorial. It's a cold reminder of what happens when you rely on aid from governments--and not from your fellow man. All we need to do is look at how well the U.S. Government handled the Hurricane Katrina disaster to see how well even the most powerful governments manage relief efforts.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger |



Who Links