November 12, 2013
“To Be a Friend is Fatal: The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind”
Tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans stepped forward to assist U.S. soldiers, diplomats, and aid workers over the past decade of war, acting as interpreters, engineers, and advisors to America’s reconstruction efforts. As the U.S. development program foundered and counter-insurgency tactics alienated the Iraqi and Afghan public, though, they were increasingly viewed as traitors to their country. Despite their immense value to America’s interests, as soon as they began to petition the U.S. government for refuge, Iraqis were met by a bureaucracy that viewed them as potential terrorists. With the war in Iraq a distant memory and the withdrawal from Afghanistan gathering speed, the Iraqis and Afghans are now tarred with a stigma that is both lethal and generational. Kirk Johnson, author of To Be a Friend is Fatal and founder of the List Project, will discuss the efforts of the List Project to confront both Republican and Democratic resistance in Washington, the state of humanitarianism in an America-in-withdrawal, and a brief history of bureaucratic abandonment in past wars. This event is being sponsored by the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic.