The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind

Author of 'To Be a Friend is Fatal, Kirk Johnson takes his country to task for abandoning its allies in Iraq. (Annett Hornischer)


Kirk Johnson, has tried for years to help the Iraqis once employed by the U.S. occupiers of Iraq. He believes the U.S. abandoned many of its former Iraqi employees, but he struggles to find the funds, or the political will, to keep going.

"If they know about what you are doing they will kill you at once. There is no other way. That's it you are dead. Whenever they know about your job you are dead. - an Iraqi interpreter for the US forces in Iraq."

an Iraqi interpreter for the US forces in Iraq

That ominous account comes from an Iraqi interpreter for the US forces in Iraq. He received a visa to resettle in the United States after Washington withdrew its troops. And he's one of the very few lucky ones.

According to Kirk Johnson, tens of thousands of Iraqis feel abandoned by America. They risk attack by those who consider them traitors for once working for the U.S.

Kirk Johnson is a former reconstruction coordinator with USAID. He spent seven years lobbying his government to make good on a promise to protect the Iraqis once employed by US agencies during the occupation. His campaign began with a promise to help one former colleague in Baghdad. And that promise unleashed a wave of desperation from others who fear for their lives.

Kirk Johnson is the founder of The List Project which continues to help Iraqis seeking refuge in the United States. And he is the author of the new book To Be A Friend is Fatal: The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind. Kirk Johnson was in Boston.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch.

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