The State Department and the Afghan Interpreters

November 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Fairness, Judicial Misjudgment | Leave a comment
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Lithograph of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Currier & Ives, 1865.

Lithograph of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Currier & Ives, 1865.

Afghani’s who served as interpreters for US forces in Afghanistan knowingly exposed themselves to risk by doing so.   They now face dramatically increased risk as the US presence winds down.  The Taliban have a long-established record of making examples of those who have cooperated with US forces.

After all, the Taliban have assassinated Afghanis who have cooperated with outside humanitarian groups, or even with the Afghani government.  They will surely attack those who helped US forces.

Realizing the danger to themselves and their families, some Afghan interpreters have applied for visas to the US.

The State Department has denied visas to most, even though the visas have already been allocated by the US Congress.  According to articles (here, here, here, and here) in the Washington Post, “the State Department says there is no serious threat against [the interpreters’] lives.”

This should remind you of the judges in civil courts who refuse to grant restraining orders, pooh-poohing the fears of those who are begging for protection from a spouse or ex-boyfriend.  Those judges are the enablers of the events you later read about when the newspaper reports the murder of the person who asked for the restraining order.  The judges are never the ones who suffer for their bad judgement.

In exactly the same way, the State Department employees whose magical source of infallible knowledge tells them that “there is no serious threat” are not the ones who will pay the price of being wrong.

Denying these visas is both cruel and unjust, and extremely harmful to US efforts in all future conflicts.

These brave interpreters accepted a huge risk in helping us.  Their help saved many US lives, and were essential to anything we achieved over there.  We owe them gratitude and protection.  If we do not shield them, no one will be foolish enough to help us in any similar situation.

Chuck Hagel, as the Secretary of Defense, would be well advised to urge the State Department to reverse the decisions made by its incompetent employees.

President Obama, as Commander in Chief, should issue an Executive Order establishing a policy to admit those who have exposed themselves to local hostility by helping us.

Congressional committees in both the Senate and the House should ask the State Department why it has taken actions that are completely contrary to US interests, to fairness, and to the expressed desires of Congress.

The State Department should identify the incompetent employees who are making decisions that are so unjust and so contrary to US interest, and revisit their decisions.  Those employees should be moved them to more suitable positions, where they will have no discretion over matters like these.

Decisions on this matter need to be made by people who have hearts and brains.  Those currently making the decisions have neither.

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