Criticism from a reader; followed by my answer in bold text.

I am glad to see you are sponsoring an Iraqi Terp. Once he gets here, I hope you have plenty of money to take care of him because he is going to use you like toilet paper.  (Actually I expect the person I sponsor to “pull his own weight”.)

You have to wear a scarf into a Mosque because you are a woman and in the Muslim culture, you are BENEATH the men. You can fool yourself and call it respect if you want but you are not an equal. (First of all about the scarf; I have worn one when going into a mosque, out of respect for the people who practice religion there. But Islam is not the only religion that has required women to cover their heads. Some nuns in the Catholic Church still cover their heads and bodies with their clothing called “habits”.Also, I don’t remember exactly when in the 1900s women of the Catholic faith were allowed to attend services without having their heads covered, but it was previously the custom for them. I mean absolutely no offense to members of this particular religion.  There are other Christian religions that require a head covering, and also have particular dictates concerning styles and patterns of clothing and use of cosmetics.)  (In the Christian Bible women are told to be submissive to their husbands. This advice is balanced by verses that tell husbands to be nice to their wives. There are similar verses in the Quran.  I think it is true that many Muslim women are mistreated. This was confirmed to me by women at the local mosque who told me of  how some Muslim men in the old countries treat their wives very badly. This is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed and in fact one of the interpreters asks to coordinate with me soon on a project aimed to protect middle eastern Muslim women from abuse with new strategies he has thought of. He is very concerned for the well being of his mother and sisters. Also, I want to add that at the local mosque the kitchen is at least half staffed by men. One in particular washes all the dishes. Yes, there are some customs that seem old-fashioned and outdated to the western mind, but remember that in many of the Christian churches men and women were also kept seperated in regard to seating. In the Muslim church this may be something that will be changed over time as it was with Christians.  I do not know….but I do believe your criticism is not exactly fair. I do see some Muslims breaking the mold by married couples sitting together.) 

The local Terp failed the background because of terrorist ties within Iraq, most likely. Of course I would venture to say you are a Liberal and most Liberals don’t deal with reality to well. What’s even more concerning is that you make it sound like he should come here anyway.  (I did NOT say he should come here. I said he should be allowed to know what the findings against him are and there should be further investigation to make sure there has not been an error made in judgement against him.  IF there is something questionable in his background, it is my suggestion that he be relocated not in the US, but perhaps in some sort of protective custody; because leaving him in Iraq is signing his death sentence.  These interpreters that worked with Americans will be killed if they stay where they are. It is not ethical in my opinion, that America let any of it’s collaborators be killed when it is preventable.) 

If you want to really experience the Muslim culture, go to Iraq and live there just for a couple of months. I promise you that you won’t come back as a Liberal. You will come back as a conservative with a greater appreciation for life and the Veterans that protect it.  (There is no way I want to go live in Iraq, even for a few days, but I don’t think it would change my mindset.  I am a patriotic American who very much appreciates the freedoms that this country provides its citizens and I have always been supportive of US soldiers.)

If you really want to make an impact, put this amount of time and energy into helping our homeless, jobless veterans that are suffering from PTSD for protecting your freedom in this country. Don’t just “check the block” and help one to say you did it. Go and help the hundreds of thousands that are right here in America. If you look hard enough, I am sure there are some right there in your own city. I have attached a website for you to help out our American Veterans. I would be my own paycheck that you won’t be putting up a website to help these guys out.  (I took in a   disabled Army veteran, who served two tours in Iraq, who asked me for shelter for about a year. I drove him to doctor appointments and helped in many other ways, including countless hours of just listening to him talk. In addition to this, my own father was a disabled WWII Army veteran with two bronze stars who suffered from what was probably at least partly PTSD.  My father was a huge influence in my life with his very large gift of kindness and compassion to all people, but I was very often  at a young age and until he died, busy trying to help him recover from the horrors of war.  I have very definitely given a lot of my heart and soul to military soldiers I promise you.)

In closing, I am glad to see that there aren’t very many people that take up your cause. By the very few comments left, it does make me feel better that there is still some hope for America. Also, tell you friend Ahmed that once he gets here to America, that his borderline Anti-American statements will cause him some problems here in America. Only Liberals will stand in a group of people and let someone make Anti-American statements and say “it’s their right.”
Lastly, I would like to leave you with an awesome quote that I found. Also note that I will remove myself from you friends list on Facebook as I can’t be associated with someone that let’s someone you are trying to help make statements against our country like Mr. Baas. That in itself is not American to even be associated with someone like that is simply disgusting.  (The abandoned Iraqi interpreters may have struggled every day with fear and doubt over their choice to work for America’s military in light of their being left behind enemy lines. I think it is only natural that they sometimes express their disappointment, as they have essentially and as far as they knew, been left “hanging out to dry” like the dead meat they will be if the Taliban finds them. But the man you are especially criticizing has had friends that have come forward to tell me of his bravery in the face of danger and that he risked his life to save their own.  These soldiers consider him a brother-in-arms.  Some have personally expressed to me they feel it is wrong that the interpreters were left behind. At least one said, “they belong here with us.”) (People sometimes say inappropriate things, but actions speak much louder than words.)

Take care Linda. I hope that after you sponsor a Terp that you focus on our own Americans that need help. I have a feeling though that your hands will be full with your new sponsorship and you won’t have the time nor money to help anyone else. (Sorry I didn’t write back about this sooner, but I was busy taking some people that didn’t have transportation to the hospital. I could bring forth plenty of people that I have helped to give character references of my willingness to help others, but I don’t do what I do for attention or praise.)

 

Quote: “Those who come face to face with evil invariably choose Conservative politics because Conservatives deal with the world as it is and Liberals deal with a world that they wish it to be.”  (I don’t especially like this quote. It is abrasive and divisive. The world does not become a better place without hope for change.)

8 thoughts on “Criticism from a reader; followed by my answer in bold text.

  1. For those of you that are giving Linda a hard time for sticking up for the interpretors in Iraq, shame on you. I am an american soldier, and was in Iraq from the start. My dealings with “terps” were always professional. Just the term “terps” seems demeaning. These MEN and WOMEN, were people. They were and are human beings. I have been in combat with these men and women and would let them cover my back over most of you “americans”. What they have done for this country is more than most americans. Something I was taught in the army was to never leave a man behind, or never leave a fallen comrade. Those words mean more now than ever, because it doesnt say never leave an AMERICAN behind, it says man/comrade, which these people are both. So the next time you find time to criticize what Linda is doing to help human beings, patriots, comrades, think first what you have done to help anyone. Like I said those of you being critical of her efforts, shame on you. Those that are helping, dont give up until they are all HOME. And to me HOME is where your heart is.

    -WILLIAM HIGHSMITH
    DISABLED VETERAN
    IRAQ 2003-2004
    US ARMY

  2. Ok here’s the deal folks. We (America) invaded Iraq on a good cause and asked locals to help us in our battle. They responded in numbers allowing us to utilize their english/Arab skills. Imagin what it would be like if someone invaded America and you joined forces with them. That Country left you back in America to deal with Americans that you disowned. I can imagine most of you would call him/her a traidor and that is ok because that is human. That is what these interpreters feel now. I was just on the phone with one who is threatening to flee to Europe because he is in fear for his life. B.L.U.F. (Bottom line up front) is that we used these people and left them there to deal with it. I know we never made promises and all of you will be in an uproar over my comments however, think about if it was your Son/Daughter….. We are all Human and deserve the right to a fair life and they will not get it there.

    Proud Iraqi war vet and current U.S. Army Soldier!!!

  3. I thank Linda for responding to that letter writer. Did they sign their name ?
    As I practice trying to understand other points of view ( and there are many days when I could bang my head on the table in frustration trying to do so ), I am struck sometimes how so many people think in such seemingly limited ways…..Making hard and holding fast to judgement calls…There are more things on heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy…
    The ONLY constant is change.
    Thank you soldiers for your thoughts. You both did your job ( as my son the Army Sgt. says ), it is now our jobs as civilians to see the rest of this war through, to forever take good care of you and all who helped you.

  4. No, the person didn’t sign their name; although I suspect it may have been from a relative of a relative that was a friend on Facebook, because they mentioned they would not be my FB friend anymore and that is the person I noticed missing. Hard to notice when I lose any FB friends these days as my friendship list has boomed with both Iraqis and Egyptians both. The Egyptian students seem to like this nutty old lady, and my bond with the Iraqi interpreters is to be like a mother as I try to comfort them through this long wait for the visas. Some have been recognized and killed and so it is indeed a long and nerve-wracking wait. So unfair.

  5. And thank you for these comments people. You confirm for me the dire importance of safety for the interpreters. Your support is much appreciated. For more on the subject check out thelistproject.org They were working on this issues for years before I came along. My main job is to talk to the interpreters that I know online and try to give them hope when they feel hopeless. The List Project people are professional people who are in the faces of Washington, DC about this; young and fearless and generous with their time.

  6. Linda, the vets know first hand what our employees have suffered. They’ve seen it. They suffer the knowledge that we’ve left many behind. They know that this is not only a tragedy for those left behind, it is a personal tragedy for our veterans emotionally and psychologically, and it’s a security issue for our country as well. These former employees are in mortal danger. After assisting an 82nd Airborne office to get one of his female interpreters out of Iraq, about six months later, we received a call that her male cousin had been captured, hung upside down, tortured, and split stem to stern. Another common unmentionable act was done to him. All because he and several of his family members worked as an interpreter for the US Military. These are unbelievable acts of violence, of which most of us are completely unfamiliar. It is beyond our imagination. This isn’t an issue of conservative or liberal. It just is what it is.

  7. The term “interpreter” is actually a misnomer. When people think of an interpreter they think of characters in old TV shows like M*A*S*H where some poor uneducated local follows a soldier around offering whatever language or cultural skills they can in exchange for a handful of change. Our employees ran the gamut of skill sets and education levels. Interpreters, translators, paralegals, secretaries, drivers, doctors, nurses, cleaning staff, etc. All people with stringent security background checks who received a regular paycheck. Some who worked with the US for the full length of the war. Very often their American counterparts got to know their families as well. Remember, in the beginning, it wasn’t a big scary deal. In order to even qualify for an SIV they have to have worked for the US military or its subcontractors for a minimum of 1 year AND have the personal recommendation of a flag officer. And believe me, no one is going to put their military career on the line for someone who could pose even the slightest of risk.

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