The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

June 17, 2013

Other Views: Debt of honor

— In Afghanistan, the Taliban have promised to kill Afghans who worked for the Americans and their families. In Iraq, similar threats were made by radical Islamic insurgents. They were not idle threats. The terrorists proved quite diligent in carrying out those threats.

Thus, the U.S. forces made a bargain, both explicit and implicit: Work for us and we will see that you and your families get visas for safe haven in America.

In neither country have we come even close to holding up our half of the bargain, thanks to red tape and a U.S. bureaucracy that works only fitfully. Visas in Iraq were handed out only grudgingly and sparingly.

Now the same thing is happening in Afghanistan. Apparently, we learned nothing in Iraq.

In 2009, Congress passed a law to reward Afghans who worked for U.S. forces. According to The Washington Post, “As of last fall, though, only 32 of more than 5,700 Afghan applicants had received visas through the special program.” That’s a pathetic performance.

In a fine display of hair-splitting, the State Department ruled that U.S. military interpreters were ineligible for visas because they had been hired by the NATO-led — meaning U.S.-led — International Security Assistance Force instead of directly by the U.S. government. To Taliban hit squads, this is a distinction without a difference.

The State Department probably thinks that its paperwork is simple and straightforward, but to see what a desperate Iraqi interpreter, whose U.S. unit is packing to go back to the States, has to go through, try looking at http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3738.html. Imagine doing this while the irregular electricity flickers and the Taliban are said to be nosing around your neighborhood.

Congress is contemplating legislation that would presumably make it easier for the interpreters and their families to get visas. The best proposal is by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., that would extend the program to 2015 and expand the number of visas granted annually to 5,000. Additionally, it would include interpreters hired by the ISAF, news organizations and nongovernmental aid organizations.

There’s also a strong element of self-interest here. We’re going to be in the Mideast and North Africa for a long time, perhaps in combat situations, and we are going to need people like these.

It would help a lot in recruiting if we could prove that we are people of our word.

— Scripps Howard News Service

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Other Views Other Views: Eroding court’s authority

    While Kansans were focused on the twists and turns of school finance this past week, lawmakers made an unnecessary and historic change in how the state’s district courts operate, coercively tying the reforms to badly needed funding.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Travesty

    What a travesty that a terrific young man from Spain is on the verge of deportation even though he has proven his worth in America (Globe, April 13).

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: Astonishing transformation

    The transformation of the Republican Party in the last decade is astonishing.

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: The changing view

    It is heartbreaking to hear the decades old trees (which border on South Pennsylvania in Webb City) cracking and being bulldozed down.

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Safe and sound

    Of the 7,500 Joplin and Duenweg homes hit by the 2011 EF-5 tornado, fewer than 20 percent of them had basements.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

    Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Sports