by David Phinney
Monday October 21st 2019

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‘The Iraqis who Trusted America the Most’

The New Yorker profiles and investigates the lives of Iraqi translators, once among the most loyal supporters of US efforts in Iraq:

“Mostly young men and women who embraced America’s project so enthusiastically that they were prepared to risk their lives for it may constitute Iraq’s smallest minority…. The arc from hope to betrayal that traverses the Iraq war is nowhere more vivid than in the lives of these Iraqis. America’s failure to understand, trust, and protect its closest friends in Iraq is a small drama that contains the larger history of defeat.”

Unkind Words for Titan:

“Titan Corporation, of Chantilly, Virginia, which until December held the Pentagon contract for employing interpreters in Iraq, was notorious among Iraqis for mistreating its foreign staff. I spoke with an interpreter who was injured in a roadside explosion; Titan refused to compensate him for the time he spent recovering from second-degree burns on his hands and feet. An Iraqi woman working at an American base was recognized by someone she had known in college, who began calling her with death threats. She told me that when she went to the Titan representative for help he responded, “You have two choices: move or quit.” She told him that if she quit and stayed home, her life would be in danger. “That’s not my business,” the representative said.
(A Titan spokesperson said, “The safety and welfare of all employees, including, of course, contract workers, is the highest priority.”)

Titan has one of the highest casualty rates among US contractors in Iraq: The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a jaw-dropping series on the company in 2005 — Contract Workers Say ‘Wild West’ Conditions Put Lives in Danger, Friendly-fire victim Fights for Compensation with Claims that Titan Abandoned Him and although the number is much higher now, 136 Titan Corp. Workers Killed Since Iraq War Began
Here’s The New Yorker story: The Iraqis who Trusted America the Most.

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