February 29th 2008
Do read Angelina Jolie’s piece, Staying to Help in Iraq, in WaPo today. You would think that a high-profile star who’s tied at the hip to the UN would return from Iraq with a scathing report on the US effort, but think again.
Her subject, as you probably know, is displaced Iraqis in Syria and Jordan, so she has plenty of oportunity to blame the US for their condition, but she does not. She recounts pledges she got out of Gen. David Petraeus and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and makes a plea for increased funding for the UN’s humanitarian efforts with the refugees.
I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and thought it was about to at the end, when I read:
As for the question of whether the surge is working …
But she went on:
… I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental
organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt
to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go
home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in
Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian
progress they now feel is possible.
Jolie’s language is careful and deliberate. Surrounded as she is by those who blithely say “withdraw now” as if there would be nothing but positive consequences of such action, she looks at the refugee situation and says:
Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced
people, in the heart of Middle East, won’t explode in violent desperation,
sending the whole region into further disorder?
This is a realistic acknowledgement of the fact that poverty, lack of opportunity and disenfranchisement are the engines that feed jihad — a simple notion for most of us, but one lost on the Hollywood Leftist Elite.
Jolie has removed herself from that crowd and proved herself not just a figurehead (despite, as we see, having both quite a figure and quite a head) ambassador, but a smart and powerful spokesperson.
Do you think the GOP could talk her into running for Prez in 2012?