For some reason only Fox News has this story, which is the reason I’m linking to a Fox News story instead of a historically more reputable source.
An Iraqi translator who has earned commendations for risking his life repeatedly to save the lives of many American soldiers in combat has been denied a visa to live in the United States because of nonviolent actions he took to overthrow Saddam Hussein — at the same time the U.S. government was calling for regime change in Iraq.
Because Iraqi translators are seen by jihadists and former Baathists as “traitors,” Jasim’s life is at greater risk the longer he stays in Iraq, according to multiple State Department and U.S. military officials. A number of translators and their families have already been tortured and/or murdered.
Jasim said his stepbrother, in fact, was captured in the fall of 2007 and was tortured to death in an effort to get to him. The U.S. Army officer who received and processed the report on the murder, Major Leslie Parks, told FOXNews.com that Jasim’s stepbrother was tortured with an electric drill through his eyes.
The State Department, meanwhile, has told Jasim that he must wait three more years before he can apply for a waiver of its visa rejection.
During his three years as a translator, Jasim has exposed himself to enemy fire in the course of saving American lives. Three different Americans who served with him in Iraq told FOXNews.com that they are alive today because of Jasim.
“The only reason I am here today is because of Jasim,” said Elisabeth Keene, a U.S. Army specialist who serves in a combat unit. “He saved the life of everyone in my unit.
“On several occasions while our guys were putting rounds down range, Jasim put himself in harm’s way to pull the wounded out and treat them,” Keene said. “Jasim is a hero to everyone he has ever met.”
“I owe my life to Jasim … hands down,” said Master Sgt. Jason Krieger, who went on over 200 combat patrols with Jasim. “I consider him a brother, not only in arms, but in love as well.”
Jasim even received letters of recommendation from a couple of two-star generals. It is unusual for a translator’s visa application to be endorsed even by one general.
Some of Jasim’s supporters believe the State Department has ulterior motives for denying the visa. “When all the other agencies, including DHS, give their stamp of approval, I have a hard time believing that there is a generous explanation for this decision,” says Maj. Leslie Parks, who served in Iraq coordinating outreach to local Iraqi civilian and government officials.
Parks, who worked with Jasim and estimates that the translator has gone on 1,300 combat patrols, believes the State Department may be singling out Jasim for being a “nuisance.”
“Jasim’s been high-profile for a while, starting with being featured on 60 Minutes in early 2007 (as ‘Timmy,’ his previous cover name) about translators who weren’t getting the visas, despite their lives being threatened,” Parks said.
“He’s also been a whistleblower on a few occasions, exposing potentially embarrassing information regarding the Embassy and other U.S. and Iraqi government agencies operating in the Green Zone.”
Starting a few months ago, Jasim organized his fellow translators to oppose a provision negotiated by the State Department to hand over the names and personal information of all translators to the Iraqi government. Translators feared that their lives would be at risk if their identities were learned by Iraqis who view them as “traitors.”
For now, Jasim continues his work with U.S. forces, hoping that the country he has served loyally for the past three years will welcome him, his new wife and their baby. Asked if he regrets his decision to support the U.S., he replied, “No, I’m proud of what I’ve done. I have to do what is right.”
So this is what’s coming out of our gargantuan embassy in Baghdad? I hope our new Secretary of State’s regime can get this mess cleaned up pronto.