A newspaper recently reported more Iraqi interpreters are now getting their visas, and this news is being retweeted on Twitter as though the interpreters’ problems are already solved. Unfortunately it is not this simple. The problems will not be solved until all of the interpreters are safe. Some have gotten their visas, yes, but most have not, and a promise is only a promise. We have not even been told when the processing of the visas should be finished, and meanwhile some thousands wait in great danger. I cannot just hear reported “good news” and put away my concern for the interpreters; and if you are concerned you should not either.
Some of the interpreters have had their visa applications rejected because their security checks did not clear. I believe there should be a transparent investigation and explanation as to why these visas were refused; because the individuals risked their lives and they have US soldiers standing beside them asking why their friends are not allowed to come to America.
As American citizens we have rights, and it is because of these rights perhaps that I feel so free to ask why we do not give other people rights also. One of these rights is a trial by a jury of our peers, and the peers of the Iraqi interpreters have been American soldiers. But our government, (at least some of it) does not show rights to non-citizens. It would seem to me we should respect the rights of citizens of the world. What is good enough for us should be good enough for others. When one of our own national citizens breaks a law, no matter how seriously, we give that person a trial.
When one of our own citizens is in custody on any charge, they are promised no cruel or unusual interrogation or punishment; and yet some in our government have circumvented this norm by doing things akin to torture (or torture itself) on foreign soil, as if that would make these actions any less unethical………. The rulings of the Geneva Conventions have been conveniently tossed aside.
And now I am expected to believe our faulty government with its veils of secrecy will make the best decisions about the Iraqi interpreters; but I find myself unable to trust. The government already been guilty of allowing terrorists into the country (last year two Iraqi immigrants were caught smuggling money and weapons back to Iraq)………but I must trust that they will allow the good guys in and keep the bad guys out??? And trust that this be done without accountability? With no transparency. I hope you understand my hesitation.
I don’t know the people that are being refused their visas well. But the soldiers that were in combat with them know them pretty well I would think, and I hope their voices are listened to. This is what I ask; that the soldiers’ voices are listened to; that these people have a chance to explain or defend themselves against what may be false accusations; and for the consideration that a visa refusal can amount to a death sentence for these people. Even if these people are not allowed to enter our border, I think it may be right that they should at least be helped to relocate elsewhere than Iraq where they are marked as targets. Can we really use people so easily and disregard them?
I ask that we Americans treat other people as we would like to treated.