Wednesday, March 28, 2007

On Their Own

My friend J. just called, very frustrated. She'd just finished reading George Packer's recent New Yorker piece, Betrayed, about Iraqi men and women who enthusiastically signed on to help America rebuild their country after the fall of Saddam. When you have time, be sure to read the entire article, which is especially infuriating given all of St. McCain's recent "Everything is ducky in Iraq" pronouncements. Here is a taste:

Ali initially worked the night shift at a base in his neighborhood and walked home by himself after midnight. In June, 2003, the Americans mounted a huge floodlight at the front gate of the base, and when Ali left for home the light projected his shadow hundreds of feet down the street. “It’s dangerous,” he told the soldiers at the gate. “Can’t you turn it off when we go out?”

“Don’t be scared,” the soldiers told him. “There’s a sniper protecting you all the way.”

A couple of weeks later, one of Ali’s Iraqi friends was hanging out with the snipers in the tower, and he thanked them. “For what?” the snipers asked. For looking out for us, Ali’s friend said. The snipers didn’t know what he was talking about, and when he told them they started laughing.

“We got freaked out,” Ali said. The message was clear: You Iraqis are on your own.

This guy was helping the U.S. by serving as an interpreter, people.

File under "How To Win Friends and Influence People: Republican Edition."

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