Will we abandon Iraqis who helped us?

I wrote a column on July 17 about Iraqis who worked with Americans and now face death as “collaborators” when our troops leave this year. A special U.S. visa program to bring them here failed to deliver and is now frozen. There is no plan to evacuate them, which is what departing British, Danish and Polish militaries did for their Iraqi staff.. 

 I am printing below some of the emails I got in response to my column.  The desperation of the authors is clear (I’ve changed their names). Before we pull out the last of our troops, we should evacuate Iraqis who are endangered because they helped us.



I was reading your article about the Iraqi interpreters, i would like to express my grateful feelings to you thank you very much for everything you are doing to help us your words was a relief for us. I am in Iraq now and am currently employed as interpreter with us army in Baghdad.  due to the threats i even cannot go home i have a 5 months old baby girl i really miss her but i cannot see her.  i don’t want to take the danger to my home and hurt my family. believe me the situation is bad really bad, our job now as a US Army is to train the Iraqi Army.  due to that as interpreter my face is familiar everyone knows me and not just me all the interpreters, our military base will close in 3 months and till now i did not get my visa.  where will i go?  the US government said that it will help us that's why the program for us called SIV Special immigrant Visa, i just want to know what is the special about it now ? For me it has been 5 months is that a special treatment? if there are some bad people entered the US that does not mean that we are all bad and terrorists check everything about me and my family even check my 5 months baby we have nothing to hide but don’t make it a slow process it is matter of life and death, i worked with US Army and served with honor am asking for what the US government promised me to help me by providing a shelter and a safe place to live with my wife and daughter away from the threats i did my part why don’t you do your part of this deal? I risked my life to help the US Army and now you are selling me to the terrorists why?   We just want the US government to help us like they promised.


Ali, Iraqi interpreter


I've worked … with the Marines and later worked with special forces… for five years… in various parts of Iraq and the most dangerous areas…and then worked … in special operations at the Baghdad airport and then worked …in…Basra with the group of special forces, U.S. support for the British Army….then I left work because an adviser named Gino told me I am in danger, and advised me to leave (to) Syria… I was with U.S. forces, whether they are officers or soldiers are brothers and work as a team….. but I suffered a lot with the High Commissioner for Refugees in Syria, where they treat me badly treated because of my work with U.S. forces.  I am in danger and my family too, even outside Iraq.  I have many testimonials that prove the validity of my words… I want to convey…to senior U.S. government, please save us, we in Syria are waiting for an interview with the U.S. delegation, we hope the U.S. government to expedite the provision of solutions…and help us speed up our arrival to America and not leave us and I hope you’re voice of mercy, saving me and my children.



Dear Trudy,

I'd like to thank you for your support to our crises, I'm personally  thankful and very greatly appreciative that you put this issue out to the public and I hope that someone would take this under consideration, Iraqi SIV applicants are going thru difficult times. I'm one of thousands Iraqis who have been threatened and relocated.

I'm a contractor working in support of the US Department of State. I thought I'd be issued an immigrant visa in a couple of weeks since I technically  work for the State Department and I'm already cleared. I've been waiting for Five months now and I don't see anything on the horizon.. I am waiting for something that I may or may not get which puts my life on hold and in danger..

Sincerely yours



dear mam

we are soo thankful for your report about us ... [this writer has been approved for a U.S. visa but is on indefinite hold because of new security requirements.]

We are waiting , we are live in my cousin's house in one room, my kids quit there school and they cant go back to it cause all nighbores knew that we will travel to USA and saw us when we are leaving  our house , i have no job no money cause i cant go back to my job , we are always have fear and don't know what comming next and what is our family future

 sory about my english i hope that the idea is clear 

thank u again for your support  


 Dear Ma’am,

 Please shed more lights on the issue of Iraqi workers with U.S. forces who have apply to the special immigrant visa (SIV), but they are still stuck in Iraq because this program is almost stop since October last year, 

I assure you that the numbers of those cases which still pending in thousands, we will facing a terrible future if we remain in Iraq especially after the announced withdrawal of U.S. troops early next year. 

I write to you because I failed to knock on the high doors of civil society organizations in the United States.  Personally, I had to change the place of residential 4 times .. Frankly, I'm not a coward and I am not concern about myself, because who working with American troops over 5 years in the worst areas in Iraq may have forgotten the fear,

But I now really worried about my two daughters 4 and 2 years.

Ma’am, I am not exaggerating if I say here "The United States abandon the Iraqis who worked with its troops; expected to repeat the tragedy of the fall of Saigon in next months, but this time in Baghdad."




Hi Ms. Rubin:

I got interviewed at the US Embassy in Baghdad on June 2011 and was asked to wait for 8-12 months to get my visa. I am a linguist who works for the US CENTCOM, my (US) unit is leaving next month Aug 2011 which will force me to live in Baghdad (I live on base since Feb 2011). And that makes me vulnerable to the Militias that even the US Forces with their huge capabilities are within their shooting range. And their attacks are claiming the life's of the US soldiers. What about an interpreter who has been exposed to the media and to the Government of Iraq as the interface of the unit with the GoI? I bet they will never hesitate to plant a sticky bomb or assassinate me as they killed more than 1000 Iraqi Interpreter from 2003 until now.