Monday, July 21, 2003

U.S. Soldier, Iraqi Interpreter Killed

This is the fifth interpreter I hear about. Just like the policemen who were attacked almost two weeks ago, the interpreters are seen as ligitimate targets by Islamists and Ba'athists. A taxi driver was telling me the other day that those Iraqis who collaborate with the Americans are even worse than the americans "they are the devil hidden in saint's clothes".
The first interpreters I heard about were killed execution style, blind folded and had a sign saying "this is what happens to collaborators". There was something written about this in the NY Times [Iraqis Keep Working for Allies, But Danger Makes Them Fearful - you need to pay to read that, I haven't read it I only knew that someone has written about the subject].
The Iraqi interpreters in many cases end up as spokesmen for the American Forces, having to justify whatever mess they have created somewhere and why this or that person was arrested. Most people will not see them as just interpreters but they will start acussing them, it doesn't help to say that they only work for them. If Iraqi interpreters are afraid to work for the US/UK army they will operate in total darkness. and it is not only interpreters it is anyone who works with them on any sort of reconstruction effort.