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You are here News War U.S. pullout leaves Iraqi interpreters in 'dangerous limbo'

U.S. pullout leaves Iraqi interpreters in 'dangerous limbo'

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Ali Kanaan, interpreter for US in IraqI am an Iraqi citizen who worked as an interpreter with the U.S. military for two years. It was an honor to serve, and I did it because I believed that bringing freedom to Iraq required brave people to stand up and try to make a difference. Now, as a result of my service, I find myself in a dangerous limbo.

Before 2003, I thought of the U.S. primarily as the home of Bruce Willis, Hollywood and Las Vegas. But it was also a dream, a dream of freedom.

Then, a bit of America came to my country. On every street I began to see Americans who were real, not just characters in movies. I saw the U.S. soldiers with their awesome weapons and gear, and I imagined Iraq becoming like their country, with American ways of life and freedoms, and American-style schools. I learned to speak English so I could assist the American soldiers.

The U.S. mission in Iraq has been immensely difficult. As time passed, more and more Iraqis were fooled by the insurgents' propaganda, and the attacks aimed at Americans and their supporters increased. Your country lost more than 4,400 troops. . My country too has suffered greatly from the insurgency, and we have lost many people who believed in the U.S. message

My fellow translators and I have been an integral part of the U.S. mission. We do just about exactly the same work as the American soldiers, except we don't carry weapons. And we are in some ways even bigger targets than our soldier colleagues, because many Iraqis consider us to have betrayed our country by working for what they consider "the invaders." Our families are also in grave danger because of our work. We are branded as outcasts by the militias, and hundreds of us have been killed along with our families.

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