From the Department of Sometimes Our Government Is So Stupid It Just Makes Me Want To Scream:
"During his nearly four years as a translator for U.S. forces in Iraq, Saman Kareem Ahmad was known for his bravery and hard work. "Sam put his life on the line with, and for, Coalition Forces on a daily basis," wrote Marine Capt. Trent A. Gibson.
Gibson's letter was part of a thick file of support -- including commendations from the secretary of the Navy and from then-Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus -- that helped Ahmad migrate to the United States in 2006, among an initial group of 50 Iraqi and Afghan translators admitted under a special visa program.
Last month, however, the U.S. government turned down Ahmad's application for permanent residence, known as a green card. His offense: Ahmad had once been part of the Kurdish Democratic Party, which U.S. immigration officials deemed an "undesignated terrorist organization" for having sought to overthrow former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Ahmad, a Kurd, once served in the KDP's military force, which is part of the new Iraqi army. A U.S. ally, the KDP is now part of the elected government of the Kurdish region and holds seats in the Iraqi parliament. After consulting public Web sites, however, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services determined that KDP forces "conducted full-scale armed attacks and helped incite rebellions against Hussein's regime, most notably during the Iran-Iraq war, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom."
Ahmad's association with a group that had attempted to overthrow a government -- even as an ally in U.S.-led wars against Hussein -- rendered him "inadmissible," the agency concluded in a three-page letter dated Feb. 26."
I cannot for the life of me imagine in what possible world being a member of the KDP ought to be disqualifying. I just can't imagine it. I mean, we supported them. Moreover, they were not some random bunch of marauding thugs; they were the de facto government of part of an enclave that we established and maintained, and a significant part of their resistance was keeping Saddam's troops from reestablishing control over their part of the Kurdish region. Do we wish they hadn't done that? And does doing it make them terrorists?
We also discouraged the Kurds from trying to break away from Iraq entirely. Had they done so, members of the KDP might be members of a regular Kurdish army, as they are now members of the regular Iraqi army. Does the fact that they did not break away, partly because we exerted pretty heavy pressure on them not to, mean that everyone in the army of the de facto Kurdish government counts as a terrorist rather than a soldier?
Honestly: this is just completely crazy.
But here's the kicker:
"The second youngest of five children, Ahmad was away at college when Saddam Hussein, striking at rebellious Kurds, launched a chemical gas attack against Ahmad's home town, Halabja, in 1988. The infamous assault, in which more than 5,000 died, was often cited by the Bush administration as part of its justification for invading Iraq. It left Ahmad without a single living relative, as he has recounted to Americans many times over the past six years."
So I guess that someone in another part of the world doesn't get to engage in armed resistance to a regime that has killed his entire family with poison gas, by joining an organization that the US completely supports, without being labelled a terrorist. We, apparently, get to support that organization, invade and occupy that country, and kill any number of its inhabitants, all to overthrow a regime we don't like. But someone in that country, someone whose entire family has been wiped out in a horrific and wildly illegal attack, do not get to take up arms against it. And if they do, then no amount of service to us can overcome that original sin.
This is in every respect the opposite of the way things ought to be. It just makes me furious.