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Interpreters Can Wear Masks

It is good to see that Multi-National Division-Baghdad has removed its ban on interpreters wearing masks. I and many others had protested against this measure which, notwithstanding the improving situation in Iraq, could have cost some interpreters their lives. The justification for this ban-according to Stars and Stripes — “An official explained the policy by saying ‘professional units don’t conceal their identity by wearing masks'” — rings especially hollow in light of how common it is for military Special Operations units and police SWAT teams to wear masks while going on raids. I hasten to add that it was not my criticism that caused the ban to be overturned. As Stars and Stripes notes: “The change comes after U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., 12 other members of Congress and an interpreters’ association asked the Pentagon in a letter to rescind the ban.” Good for them for getting involved – and good for officers in Iraq for rethinking this ill-advised policy.



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