Fearing for the safety of locals employed by the American government in Iraq, the US ambassador wants the administration to issue them immigrant visas. Ryan Crocker's unusual request spotlights competing pressures, the Washington Post reports: the danger to Iraqis perceived as aiding the occupiers, the worsening refugee crisis, and Washington's concern that terrorists will slip into the country.
Calls for US withdrawal have escalated even as millions of displaced Iraqis have moved within the country and fled across its borders. Human-rights organizations, diplomats, and Congress are cranking up pressure on the administration, but critics say acknowledging the extent of the refugee would mean admitting the US strategy in Iraq has failed, further muddying the waters. (Read more refugee stories.)