Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Our Moral Duty to the Iraqis

President Bush keeps reminding Americans of the bloodbath that would ensue in Iraq if U.S. troops left.

His sincerity is reflected in a New York Times report today on the fate of Iraqis who are in danger because they worked for the U.S. The headline: “Obstacles Keep Iraqi Refugees From U.S.”

Red tape is stranding all but a few who have to leave their country and go to Syria, Lebanon or Jordan to apply for permission to come here. From October to July, 190 Iraqi refugees have arrived in the U.S., according to the State Department, which expects 2,000 by the end of next month and “considerably more” next year.

Ali Saleh, a 37-year-old interpreter who worked for the military for four years told the Times he was barely able to leave his neighborhood in western Baghdad, let alone take his wife and 2-year-old son to Jordan. In four years, eight colleagues have been killed. He quit this spring when a woman working as an interpreter who lived nearby was kidnapped and killed.

Although few can take advantage of it, refugee status is available to hundreds of interpreters but not to the estimated 69,000 workers of American contractors, who are also targeted for reprisal by Iraqi militants.

While Bush keeps talking about our duty not to abandon brave Iraqis, our government is not doing much to protect them while we can.

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