Facing the threat of kidnapping, torture, and beheadings, Iraqi interpreters who have worked for U.S. forces are seeking refuge for themselves and their families in the United States. Lee Hochberg of Oregon Public Broadcasting reports on their search for safety.
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The long and difficult search for refuge for some Iraqis who have helped the United States. We have a report from Lee Hochberg of Oregon Public Broadcasting.
LEE HOCHBERG, NewsHour Correspondent:
Back in his native Oregon after a year in Iraq, Army Captain Jason Faler is very worried about the interpreters he left behind in Baghdad.
CAPT. JASON FALER, U.S. Army National Guard:
Interpreters that I worked with were being followed. Kidnappings, torture, beheadings, assassinations, threats, all of the above. They are marked for death.
As many as 9,000 Iraqi civilians signed up as interpreters to help the U.S. military; 323 of them have been killed, many by insurgents punishing them for working with the U.S.
Since the war began, few interpreters have been allowed to take refuge in this country: 50 a year through 2006; 500 last year.
CAPT. JASON FALER:
We're blind as it is and, without them, would be an absolute bumbling nightmare. We owe them. We owe a debt to them. Have we no honor?
It's hard to lay your head down on your pillow at night and know that, on the other side of the globe, there are people who served you well, protected you.