In a recent issue of National Review, I had a piece called “A Question of Honor: As the wolves circle, Iraqis who helped us are pleading for visas.” To read the piece, go here. I’d like to give the gist right now. I’ll be as brief as possible.
During the Iraq War, there were many people who helped us — I’m talking about Iraqis. They were translators, doctors, logistics coordinators, and so on. They risked their lives alongside us, in the hope of a better Iraq. Often, they helped to keep Americans alive. Our guys give abundant testimony on this score.
We withdrew from the country, of course, and ISIS and other such monsters have risen up. Iraqis who helped us are in mortal danger, for the help they rendered us. They are “collaborators.” Some have been killed already. Some are in hiding, dodging bullets and bombs.
There is a U.S. law that says: If an Iraqi helped us and is in mortal danger because of that help, he is entitled to a visa and refuge in the United States. Moreover, if the Iraqi is in danger, we must “make a reasonable effort” to protect him while his visa application is pending. If we can’t protect him on his native soil, we must arrange for his “immediate removal from Iraq, if possible.”
When Saigon was falling, we airlifted some 130,000 Vietnamese to bases in the Philippines and elsewhere. They were our allies, they had counted on us, and we felt we owed them protection from slaughter.
The Iraqis are getting no protection. Nor are they getting visas, many of them. We are not honoring our word, or obeying the law. The visa application of an Iraqi ally is supposed to be acted on within nine months. Some of these men have been waiting for four or five years. They are under a death sentence, and a visa is their release from that sentence.
Some good people — including a friend of mine, and National Review’s — have filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C., hoping to get our government to act. They have filed on behalf of nine Iraqis. The stories of these nine are terribly moving, and outrageous, too. Something like 1,800 other Iraqis are in a similar predicament.
Our withdrawal from Vietnam was ignominious, but we were not completely without honor: For example, Dorothy Martin, the wife of our ambassador, left her personal suitcase behind so that one more Vietnamese woman could squeeze onto the chopper beside her.
President Obama has amnestied, or is about to amnesty, millions of illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America, who came here for better economic opportunities, as is understandable. Do we not have room in this vast country for a couple of thousand Iraqis who helped us in the war and now, because of that help, are threatened with murder by monsters?
Who are we?
I am not much of an activist — one of my failings — but I think this is something to call congressmen about.
Anyway, that’s enough for a blogpost, but I wanted you to know about the magazine piece, and this issue, this question of honor.