A person in between

The issue of Iraqi employees who, having worked for the British Army or the CPA, are now being abandoned and left to fend for themselves has been highlighted by several UK bloggers, in particular Dan Hardie and Justin but let's not forget George Packer who wrote a long piece about the US betrayal of Iraqi interpreters way back in March:

Betrayed - The Iraqis who trusted America the most, by George Packer March 26, 2007, The New Yorker.
The Arabic for “collaborator” is aameel—literally, “agent.” Early in the occupation, the Baathists in Ali’s neighborhood, who at first had been cowed by the Americans’ arrival, began a shrewd whispering campaign. They told their neighbors that the Iraqi interpreters who went along on raids were feeding the Americans false information, urging the abuse of Iraqis, stealing houses, and raping women. In the market, a Baathist would point at an Iraqi riding in the back of a Humvee and say, “He’s a traitor, a thug.” Such rumors were repeated often enough that people began to believe them, especially as the promised benefits of the American occupation failed to materialize. Before long, Ali told me, the Baathists “made the reputation of the interpreter very, very low—worse than the Americans’.”

There was no American campaign to counter the word on the street; there wasn’t even a sense that these subversive rumors posed a serious threat. “Americans are living in another world,” Ali said. “There’s an Iraqi saying: ‘He’s sleeping and his feet are baking in the sun.’ ” The U.S. typically provided interpreters with inferior or no body armor, allowing the Baathists to make a persuasive case that Americans treated all Iraqis badly, even those who worked for them. “The Iraqis aren’t trusting you, and the Americans don’t trust you from the beginning,” Ali said. "You became a person in between."

Also check out Shadows Of Their Former Selves at BAG News. An interesting take on the position of the 'people in between.