What the heck does "safe" mean, when it comes to Iraq?
When Bush calls Iraq "safe" enough for Iraqi's return to, is he having us envision "safe" like I feel safe walking to the local coffee shop without fear of being shot at?
Or has "safe" been downgraded such that "sporadic, but deepening bouts of civil war, sprinkled with other violent acts"
is now the new "safe"?
Exiled Iraqis too scared to return home despite propaganda push
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad | Monday, 11 February 2008
To show that Iraq was safe enough for the two million Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan to return, the Iraqi government organised a bus convoy last November from Damascus to Baghdad carrying 800 Iraqis home for free.
As a propaganda exercise designed to show that the Iraqi government was restoring peace, it never quite worked. The majority of the returnees said they were returning to Baghdad, not because it was safer, but because they had run out of money in Syria or their visas had expired.
There has been no mass return of the two million Iraqis who fled to Syria and Jordan or a further 2.4 million refugees who left their homes within Iraq. The latest figures from the UN High Commission for Refugees show that, on the contrary, the number of people entering Syria from Iraq was 1,200 a day in late January "while an average of 700 are going back to Iraq from Syria".
The reasons people are not going back, despite new stringent visa regulations in Syria, are that they know Baghdad is very dangerous, the chances of making a living are small and there is a continuing lack of electricity and water.