Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The BBC is our friend

by Ken Houghton

First note the lede:
The US is to take in another 7,000 Iraqi refugees over the next year amid rising international concern over those fleeing the insurgency, officials said.

The number represents a huge increase on the 463 refugees the US has taken in since the four-year-old war began. [emphasis mine]

Only then, mention the size of the problem created:
The UN estimates that up to 50,000 Iraqis flee each month and that 3.8m (that's 3,800,000, in case you're wondering) have left since the war started. [ibid]

Now, as Environmental Economics would note, it is certainly true that 7E3/6E5 is a greater percentage than 463/3.8E6, so I supposed we should applaud the, er, effort.

And, just to confirm that this is part of an international effort:
The UN has called for $60m (£30.5m) from nations for a global resettlement programme. The US is expected to pledge $18m.

Which means we're planning to contribute 30% of the budget. Just as we're only contributing 30% of the troops. Right, Prime Minister Howard?

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Some quick calculations. USA population 300 million, troops in Iraq 140,000. Oz pop 20 million, same proportion of population would be 9,333, so theoretically we could send about another 7,900 on top of our 1,400 there if we wanted to match the proportion. (Tho' our army is a much smaller proportion of our people.)
Still, it seems to have got John Winston Howard a lot more US publicity than all his visits there & other things he's done. Maybe that means more USians will know we're there in Iraq.
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