Ah yes, another head-shaking moment.

More than 250 of the interpreters working with the United States — or with U.S. contractors — have been killed. But the U.S. asylum program for translators seeking to leave the country has fallen far short of demand and, at times, short of what other coalition countries have offered their Iraqi staff…

This month, Denmark will complete the process of granting asylum to 120 Iraqi interpreters who worked for Danish troops in Iraq, as well as their families…

Through September of last year, 429 Iraqi and 71 Afghan translators — plus 482 of their family members — have been admitted to the United States as refugees, according to the State Department.  An additional 43 special visas for translators were issued in October and November. The Los Angeles Times has reported that about 7,000 interpreters have worked for U.S. forces since the war began.

Denmark – a country with a population smaller than that of Massachusetts can take in 120 interpreters and their families – 364 people – and we pledged to take in “only 50 individuals a year beginning in 2006, rising to 500 annually for 2007 and 2008, and scheduled to drop back to 50 next year.”?

To get an idea of the disproportionate sense of responsibility involved here – the Danes argued for asylum for their interpreters when they withdrew their ground troops from Basra last year – all 420 of them. They wanted “to treat them the right way when the Danish contingent left.”

Surely people who have put themselves and their families at risk of retaliation in order to help U.S. troops in this (doomed) endeavor should be valued and protected, and offered the chance to start a new life in the States to replace the one the conflict has probably destroyed for them in Iraq.

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