Sunday, July 15, 2007

Perspective: Allies left behind

Above: A U.S. soldier and an Iraqi translator talk to a man about his presence at a gravel pit near Habbaniyah in May. The translator keeps his identity secret as a precaution against reprisals towards him or his family.

Kirk Johnson is the keeper of what he calls the saddest list in the world -- a list of Iraqis who worked for the United States but are now marked for death and on the run.

Johnson says that the U.S. effort in Iraq "would not have functioned without these people. And they risk their lives every single day to come through checkpoints that are routinely mortared and shelled and hit by suicide bombers and snipers just to come and help us -- because they believe in America enough to help us rebuild their country."

Many of these Iraqis fled their country after they got letters that describe them as "enemies of God," as well as blunt threats: "We will cut off your heads."

All are now desperate to come to the United States, and Kirk Johnson is the man they are turning to.

"This is urgent," he says. "This isn't, 'Let's have a meeting once a month to figure out how we are going to address the issue.' This is, 'Let's get them on a plane to save them because they need our help now.'"

Read the rest at ABC News