The United States’ Disservice To Afghan Translators

An e-mail to the United States from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

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In a letter to President Obama , more than a dozen members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, complained that in the past five years, State has issued only 12 percent of the available visas. An analogous program for Iraq has been similarly stalemated. To qualify for a visa , Afghan interpreters must provide recommendations from U.S. officers and be interviewed and approved by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The next step is the bottleneck: If approved there, the application must be reviewed by security committees in Washington. These panels have no incentive to say yes and a huge incentive to say no in order to avoid blame for any future incident. For example, two Iraqi refugees living in Kentucky were arrested in 2010 for shipping weapons to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. But the refugees in Kentucky had not laid their lives on the line for American soldiers; they werent recommended by U.S. officers who had served alongside them. Every person granted a visa poses some risk. A dozen Saudis with visas attacked New York and Washington on Sept.

The branch chalks up the inconsistencies to human error and shoddy recordkeeping. Evidently, some terrorists were counted twice or merely counted again a year after the conviction was actually made. In other cases, suspects who had their charges dismissed altogether somehow were being counted as terrorist convictions. Additionally, further reviews demonstrated that convictions for non-terrorist crimes were incorrectly assigned terrorism codes and subsequently classified as such. Convictions for bank robbery, drug dealing and animal fighting were among the cases being counted as terrorism. These inaccuracies are important in part because DOJ management and Congress need accurate terrorism-related statistics to make informed operational and budgetary decisions, said Michael E. Horowitz, the inspector general of the EOUSA. Indeed, these numbers are important, which is all the more reason it shouldnt take an audit to learn the right statistics. Mistakes happen, but inflating the rate of terrorist convictions by more than a quarter seems pretty fishy. Math isnt that hard. It doesnt take a conspiracy theorist to wonder whether the exaggeration is intentional to help fuel the fear of terrorism . The government has used this fear to push some unpopular agendas; making terrorism real might require convincing people that there are more potential terrorists around than is actually the case. That, or perhaps the focus is on embellishing Americas success in the war on terror. While spending countless billions in taxpayer dollars, establishing an elaborate international spy program and foregoing a slew of other civil liberties in the name of national security, American citizens want to know that these sacrifices are necessary and worthwhile. What better way to justify these costs than to exaggerate the number of terrorist convictions the United States is securing? Certainly, it wouldnt be the first time government agencies were caught playing fast and loose with terrorist data. When information on the NSAs surveillance program first leaked, authorities insisted that the information collected disrupted over 50 terrorist plots.

United States Caught Exaggerating Terrorism Numbers

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives a news conference in 2009. (Dieter Nagl/AFP/Getty Images) SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR URGENT INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL Dear United States, Hello I am Pres MR BASHAR ASSAD of Syrian Arab Republic. This is email with excitement opportunity for international communities. I am hold large stockpile deadly chemical for interest of one MR BAN KI MOON of United Nation and MR BARACK OBAMA of U.S. States. These chemicals for rebels/AlQaeda,not for civilians OK? Syrian Arab Republic is seek disposal chemical weapons, contain amount one (1) thousand tonnes (KG). We are require funds in amount U.S.$1BILLION for cost. Please I will advice that you contact me through my direct telefax number with all bank infos for dispose sarins. Sirs, Syrian Arab Republic is nation in difficult time, we have many expense with regards resistance to Western imperialism and for destruction of terrorism and also making instagrams . This transaction should be kept confidential. For your assistance as the account owner we shall deposit chemicals to United Nation, care of Pres MR VLADIMIR PUTIN of Moscow Russia, only on full receipt of funds plus 300 (four hundred) days or until MR BARACK OBAMA lose election. Your reply will be appreciated, YOUR SINCERELY, PRES BASHAR ASSAD. DAMASCUS SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC Max Fisher is the Post’s foreign affairs blogger. He has a master’s degree in security studies from Johns Hopkins University.