I'm always struck by stories like this interview with an Iraqi interpreter: Hammer is an American at heart who just happened to be born in the wrong country. I sincerely hope that his hero (Bill Gates) or someone else with the ability to sponsor his green card find a way to get him and his family to the United States. The interviewer is Michael J. Totten.
MJT: Why do you work with Americans?
Hammer: When I was 14 years old all I liked was American cars and American movies. America was my dream. It was a dream come true when the United States Army came to Iraq. It was a nightmare in 1991 when they left again.
Maybe someone will think Iâ€™m lying, that Iâ€™m just saying this. If my friends say something like Russian weapons are the best or German cars are the best I say, no, Americans are. Everyone who knows me knows this about me.
If anyone says Arabs will win against the U.S. they are wrong. The leaders donâ€™t want to be like Saddam. But if the US leaves Iraq it will be a big failure, especially for me. I donâ€™t want to see this. Never.
MJT: Do you like working with Americans?
Hammer: A lot. Especially when I go outside the wire. I feel like a stranger here. When I go back inside Iâ€™m home. I have no friends outside, only family. When I go home I stay in my house. I donâ€™t go out on the streets.
MJT: Why donâ€™t you have any friends?
Hammer: I donâ€™t feel like I belong to this society. They think like each other, but they donâ€™t think like me. I canâ€™t continue with them.
I like to know something about everything, to learn as much as I can. In Iraq if you know too much they will laugh and call you a liar.
When I was 20 I liked American music. They donâ€™t like it. (Laughs.)
I donâ€™t like Saddam. I hate his family.
MJT: Why do you have to cover your face?
Hammer: To protect my family. My family lives in Iraq. If they go to the U.S. I wonâ€™t have to do it. But I donâ€™t want anyone to know me, to follow me and see where I live and kill my wife and son.
MJT: How did you feel when the U.S. invaded Iraq?
Hammer: Happy. It was like I was living in a jail and somebody set me free. I donâ€™t want Saddam ruling me. Never. I was just waiting and waiting for this moment.
MJT: What do you think about the possibility of Americans leaving?
Hammer: It is like bad dream. Very bad dream. A nightmare. Worse than that. Like sending me back to jail. Like they set me free for four years then sent me back to jail or gave me a death sentence.
Read the whole thing, and if it doesn't prove to you that Iraq can work, nothing will.