This archived article was written by: Christopher Palo
The conflict in the Middle East has been raging for nearly two decades. Though the actual fighting has been dialed back a great deal, there are still casualties unaccounted for, the coalition interpreter.
These individuals have an essential skill that the U.S. could not continue its operations without. The ability to translate from the dialects in the theaters of operation to English so that service members can properly do their duties is invaluable.
These interpreters are more often than not local nationals, who put not only themselves, but also their families at risk. They trudge through the mud and bake in the heat of the day all the while at risk of getting shot and killed along side U.S. forces. They do it all in outdated and often times unserviceable protection equipment, all on the promise of a better life in the U.S.
They are offered a golden ticket for them and their families to come to the U.S. as political refugees, because if they stay in country after knowingly aiding the jihadist enemies, they and their families will be tortured, raped and murdered.
These interpreters are either being denied their visas or their application processes are taking three to four years to complete, the whole time they must hide and run from those that would do them harm for helping us.
There are 20,000 visas allotted to interpreters. Since 2001, only 22 percent of the promised visas have been issued. This low percentage is due to the inane bureaucratical practices and, let’s be honest, a fear of the all-mighty, “what if?”
These men and woman have been assisting the U.S. government with the Global War On Terror, at extreme risk to themselves and their families’ lives. Shouldn’t we be honoring our promises?
In 2008, a congressional act was created to address this issue; it was titled The Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2008. In 2009 a similar act was established for Afghani Refugees called the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009.
Some attention has been given to the problem but not nearly enough. After the withdrawl of U.S. forces from Iraq, thousands of Iraqis had to go into hiding, scared for their lives after being let down by a country that was supposed to help them.
John Kerry announced that the U.S. would increase its acceptance of Syrian Refugees from 85,000 in 2016 to 100,000 in 2017. That’s a 15,000 refugee increase in one year, yet we can’t get the 22,000 that we have been promising to get here for nearly two decades.
The Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations, “have made it clear that they will use the refugee crisis to enter the United states.” U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley stated.
The U.S., trying to look compassionate on the global stage, is putting its safety in jeopardy and completely disregarding its promises to those who have served it. Kerry, with the backing of the Obama administration, is not promising a, “concrete and foolproof plan to ensure the safety that terrorist will not enter the country,” said Bob Goodlatte.
How can elected officials go back on their promise and create a potential terrorist state in the country they were elected to protect? If the government is expecting the people to just trust them, they are sorely mistaken. The trust of the government is non-existent. Benghazi, Bergdahl, Ferguson and Iran are all ingredients in a recipe for distrust. Too many times the government has let us down and we have accepted it. Isn’t it time we look at our elected leaders and say, “we elected you to represent us, we are not subservient to you. You should fear us, not the other way around.”