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The Plight of Iraqi Translators

Owen West is a commodities trader at Goldman Sachs who happily left behind his plush existence on Wall Street to serve two combat tours as a Marine in Iraq. He has a harrowing tale to tell in this New York Post article—not about the dangers that he and his men suffered (he’s too modest go on about that) but about the danger that confronts his Iraqi translators.

These men have been marked for death because they have worked for the Americans. Yet the State Department bureaucracy makes it virtually impossible for these heroes to get American visas. Two of the “terps” who worked with West are anxious to join the Marine Corps, and they have proved their loyalty a thousand times over by risking their lives to serve alongside the Marines. Their reward from our government? Endless paperwork hassles and delays that make it increasingly likely they will be killed. This is a national scandal that should be rectified at the highest levels. As West writes:

President Bush has a duty to intervene. The honorable remedy is to trust the US military: Let a returning brigade that wants to bring some of its interpreters home simply fill out the visa paperwork on base, then carry them along on the aircraft.

The sooner the better.


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