The Jury Talks Back

4/3/2009

This is going to become a regular feature for me, I just know it.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 2:55 pm

In keeping with my duties as the resident foul-mouthed bastard (while making sure that no, I won’t be able to run for public office), I offer to you the following:

Jasim, whose name is being withheld for his safety, has received strong support from the U.S. military, and the Department of Homeland Security approved his application for a visa. But the State Department has denied Jasim a visa because he was arrested in 1996 for actions against the Saddam dictatorship.

A year after being released from prison – as an act of “good will” from Saddam shortly before the 2003 invasion – he enlisted in the Iraqi Special Forces, but soon found that it was rife with ethnic and religious problems, and loads of corruption.  He decided to become an interpreter for the US military, and has served in that capacity since, despite the fact that translators are tortured and killed for being traitors as are their families in similar danger.  Jasim’s stepbrother was tortured and killed in an attempt to get to him.

And still he serves.

This man is the living definition of the kind of person we want to come to this country.  One commanding officer estimates that Jasim has been on more that 1,300 combat patrols.  His actions have saved the lives of many US military personnel as he placed himself in danger time and again to either retrieve/move a wounded soldier so they could receive medical attention or to provide cover so others could get to downed soldiers.

“While establishing security positions around a patrol that was struck by an IED, [Jasim] single handedly removed a wounded soldier from a disabled vehicle and ensured that he was treated by the company medic. During this security cordon, another soldier was shot in the head by a sniper and a large fire fight ensued. [Jasim], while under direct enemy fire provided cover for the wounded soldier while medical personnel rendered life-saving first aid.”

He’s credited with being the reason intel was gathered that

led directly to the capture” of the two highest-value targets in that region.

Now, what was it that blocked the Visa?  What crime was it that Jasim committed?

He stole Uday Hussein’s car.

[Jasim’s] hatred of Saddam was formed at a young age, as the regime murdered five of his relatives during his childhood. Barely into adulthood, Jasim joined the Peshmerga, a largely Kurdish group whose primary goal in the 1990s was to overthrow Saddam — an objective supported by the Clinton administration.

The Pehmerga assigned Jasim to obtain documents and eavesdropping equipment that were in the possession of Saddam’s ruthless son, Uday, and Jasimn said that he stole Uday’s car in order to retrieve the documents and equipment.

Now, I suppose that rules are rules, but in this case there is a specific provision in the law as it relates to “crimes of moral turpitude”.  It allows for crimes that are “purely political”.

A former Capitol Hill staffer who was intimately involved in shaping visa policy for many years asked rhetorically, “How could this not be political? Did he get some personal benefit out of stealing Uday’s car?”

Forgetting that, it is often unlikely that a single crime committed ten years ago with a clean record since would stop a regular person from getting a Visa, let alone a God Damn Hero like Jasim.

But when it comes to the bumbling incompetence that is the general staff of the State Department, this isn’t the whole story…

You see, a little while back there was nearly an agreement to hand over the identities of all the translators to the Iraqi government, which would have made them easy targets for those who considered them traitors.  Jasim lead the group of fellow translators that opposed this, and has acted as a whistle-blower on other occasions, often to the great embarrassment of the State Dept and Iraqi govt.

In a FOXNews.com story on this issue in January, Jasim criticized the State Department’s deal. “We work so hard to get the bad guys, to capture terrorists, and now, because of a political deal, they’re putting our lives at risk,” he said. FOXNews.com identified him only by first name in that story. The consular officer who denied Jasim’s visa, though, admitted that he knew of Jasim’s role in leading opposition to the release of translators’ personal information.

He has been told he must wait 3 years before applying again for a Visa, two years longer than the US forces will be in Iraq.  I think that’s what spies call “being hung out to dry”.

His response to the denial of his Visa application?

For now, Jasim continues his work with U.S. forces, hoping that the country he has served loyally for the past three years will welcome him, his new wife and their baby. Asked if he regrets his decision to support the U.S., he replied, “No, I’m proud of what I’ve done. I have to do what is right.”

And so it is with great pride – and with great affection for Jasim – that I say…

Fuck you, US State Department.


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