The New York Post
February 29, 2008
AS a Marine, I was taught never to leave a comrade-in-arms behind on the battlefield. But that’s exactly what the State Department is doing to men and women who’ve sacrificed everything to help our troops – our Iraqi interpreters.When I last left Iraq 12 months ago, I promised to save two “terps” marked for assassination. Last month, I received a desperate e-mail from one of them: “Sir my situatione is so bad naw please save my life. Please help me sir.”
A year after making my promise, I’m deeply ashamed that I haven’t completed the mission. And I’m not alone: To help “their” terps, Marines and soldiers across the country are battling a bureaucracy that is at times more maddening than the Iraqi insurgency.
Shunning those who risk death to help us deliver freedom is un-American.
On my second tour in Iraq in 2006-7, I was posted to an obscure town outside Ramadi to advise an Iraqi battalion. They were hardy soldiers with a hard mission – roadside bombs were commonplace in the area. My team couldn’t have functioned without our two interpreters, who I’ll call Alex and Reyes.
Soon after a childhood friend accused Alex of collaboration for serving as an interpreter, his brother was tortured to death in a dump. His father disowned him.