George W. Bush: ‘Cut the Red Tape for Refugees’ from Afghanistan

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 30: Former U.S. President George W. Bush speaks during the funeral service of the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) at Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Former U.S. President Barack Obama gave the eulogy for the late Democratic congressman and former presidents …
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Former President George W. Bush is urging the United States to resettle Afghans “who have been on the forefront of progress inside their nation” now that the Taliban has taken control of the country.

“Afghanistan is also made up of resilient, vibrant people,” Bush’s August 16 statement said, which continued:

The choices they will make for opportunity, education, and liberty will also determine Afghanistan’s future. As Dr. Sakena Yacoobi of the Afghan Institute of Learning, which has opened schools for girls and women around the nation, wrote this week: “While we are afraid, we are not defeated.” She added, “Ideas do not disappear so easily. One cannot kill whispers on the wind. The Taliban cannot crush a dream. We will prevail, even if it takes longer than we wanted it to.”

Notably, Bush called for the evacuation of just some Afghans:

The Afghans now at the greatest risk are the same ones who have been on the forefront of progress inside their nation… The United States government has the legal authority to cut the red tape for refugees during urgent humanitarian crises. And we have the responsibility and the resources to secure safe passage for them now, without bureaucratic delay.

Bush did not say how many people he would include in the “forefront of progress” group.

However, Bush’s restraint is notable, in part, because his reckless push for massive cheap-labor migration into the United States led to massive economic losses among Americans and to the 2016 election of Donald Trump.

Internally displaced Afghan men, who fled from Kunduz province due to battles between Taliban and Afghan security, gather as they register to recive food at the Shahr-e-Naw Park in Kabul on August 10, 2021. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Internally displaced Afghans, who fled from Kunduz province due to battles between Taliban and Afghan security, gather as they register to receive food at the Shahr-e-Naw Park in Kabul on August 10, 2021. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images)

So far, the Taliban is not threatening to punish or jail the nation’s small core of modernized Afghans — even as it also promises to re-impose Islam’s 6th-century moral code of Sharia law on the nation’s huge population.

Bush’s two-sided response comes as many progressives and business groups urge a massive evacuation of trained and educated, pro-modernity Afghans from their impoverished country.

For example, neoconservative activist Bill Kristol urged visas for “a couple hundred thousand” Afghans, and Jesuit priest James Martin wants “as many Afghan refugees as possible.”

Biden’s deputies plan to evacuate 30,000 or more Afghans, including many who worked with the U.S. military or with non-profit groups.

Some estimates say that 80,000 Afghans will be evacuated at an immediate cost of at least $500 million — not counting the massive economic costs to Americans that will be imposed by the inflow of Afghan workers and renters.

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