The bureaucracy that hovers over the applications of many Iraqi interpreters has reached an unbelievable limit. The delay or the reluctance to bring these men who worked for the U.S. military has turned even U.S. troops themselves critical of what their government is not doing.
Owen West, a former Marine who has served two tours in Iraq, wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Post. Titled “Betrayed by State,” West’s piece detailed his personal opinion as a Marine regarding the U.S. government’s bureaucracy. He narrated what two of his Iraqi interpreters went through while working with the U.S. Marines in the volatile western part of Iraq, and how these two men’s applications were not processed as they were supposed to be.
Last month, one of the interpreters sent West a note:

“Sir my situatione is so bad naw please save my life. Please help me sir.”

West goes on by describing the ordeal that these interpreters had to go through, starting from the neighbor who discovered one of them working for the Americans and ending with his frustration of the American and Jordanian employees. He plainly justified what his peers were doing to help their interpreters survive by establishing “underground railroads to Jordan – sneaking their terps through like hunted slaves. They’ve lost faith in their own government.”

Iraq vets and terps now call State’s paper maze the “waiting to die list” –
because it requires interpreters to risk death to purchase passports and cross
the border undisguised.

He went on by questioning his government’s belief in its own military commanders:

Whom should America trust more, the judgment of a Marine or Army brigade commander – or a faceless bureaucrat in Nebraska or Amman?

While suffering in their home country, interpreters who made it safe to the U.S. have been suffering the lack of decent jobs and appreciation. One of them is Safaa Wadi.
Wadi became the very first Iraqi interpreter to enlist in the U.S. army. The reason why he did that is not because he is interested. He did it because he is running out of money and is unable to land a decent job. The Associated Press detailed his story in this article.

  • Published: 16 years ago on February 29, 2008
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  • Last Modified: February 29, 2008 @ 5:54 pm
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