Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Iraqi interpreters for U.S. military in dangerous limbo

[ via LA Times ] 27 Dec

Interpreter or Traitor?
The U.S. government promised thousands of other former interpreters that they would be first in line for special visas to the United States. But with the pace of visa approvals having slowed to a crawl, that promise rings hollow for many interpreters, who stays locked in his parents' home, working the phones and the Internet to track their application.

"I served the Americans very well, but now they've left me on my own, with no security," says Tariq, one of the many dejected interpreters, in nearly flawless English. "They've expelled us all from the only places in Iraq that were safe for us — U.S. bases."

U.S. Embassy official in Baghdad, speaking on condition he not be identified, acknowledged "unfortunate delays" in issuing special visas, the result of enhanced security clearance procedures, some instituted after the Kentucky arrests. But he said recent changes would speed the process.


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