Trump’s refugee ban is a betrayal of Iraqis who risked their lives for us
I returned from Iraq on March 1, 2005. I was returning from a year-long tour as an adviser to the 1st Iraqi Army battalion, built, trained, and led in combat by the U.S. military. Our undertaking was historic – no American had ever built or led in combat an Arab army. The last westerner to train and lead an Arab army in combat was T.E Lawrence, commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia.
It would be difficult to overstate the hardship and dangers the first American advisory team lived through. Our Iraqi soldiers shared the danger. Our combat included the 2nd Battle of Fallujah in November – December 2004. Several of our Iraqi soldiers were abducted and tortured. Several were assassinated, including by beheading. And their families were subject to the same atrocities.
The inclusion of Iraq, and of people already in the U.S., makes no sense. Iraq is – at least in name – an ally. We have American troops right now as I write this, working with Iraqi forces in combat against ISIS in/around Mosul. There are Iraqi interpreters right now risking their lives, their families, what treasure they might have, and their sacred honor – for the sake of the U.S. war in Iraq. The executive order signed by the President is ill-conceived, and misses its target. The extension of the ban to green card (recently reversed) and Special Immigrant Visas holders endangers our troops currently in contact, and all future troops who will need the services of interpreters, on whom their lives will depend.