Allah linked this column arguing for the killing of terps yesterday. It’s foul. Just foul. And beyond ironic, that a Western writer who appears to be rooting for the insurgents in Iraq would call anyone else a “Quisling,” let alone calling Iraqi interpreters “Quislings.”
Interpreters, or “terps” in militaryspeak, are unsung heroes of the Iraq war. Actually, any Iraqi who has had the courage to work with the US as we try to rebuild Iraq deserves the title “hero,” but the terps are a special case. Without them, the US military simply could not work counterinsurgency strategy effectively, as COIN requires day to day interaction and communication with the local populace where they live and breathe. But because they work with the US, terps become marked men and women. The militias, the insurgents, al Qaeda, really nearly every side in the fight has some reason to kill them and thus discourage anyone from working with the US. Many have been assassinated. Those who are still working with the US face daily threats and a very uncertain future. If we leave an unstable Iraq or if we don’t provide for their escape, we’re leaving the terps to their deaths. It’s that simple.
Here’s a CNN story that profiles several terps. I remember “Ronnie” from our time at FOB Justice. Click to play.