Iraq: December 19, 2002


The US is setting up a training program in Hungary to turn 3,000 Iraqi exiles into translators and negotiators for American troops invading Iraq. If there is an invasion, the availability of Arabic translators who speak the Iraqi dialect will save many lives. Having translators with the smallest combat units enables the troops to quickly establish good relations with civilians. All indications are that most Iraqis want Saddam and his Baath party out of power. If American troops show up with Iraqi translators, there will be less chance of any misunderstandings and the locals will be able to point out where any Saddam loyalists are. This will limit injuries to civilians, and the translators will have a chance to convince the Saddam loyalists to surrender rather than just having the US troops kill them. Hungary has put restrictions on the training program. It will not allow the Iraqi trainees to leave the base and will only allow two, 90 day, training cycles. The Iraqi volunteers, most of whom served in the Iraqi army (most Iraqi males have), will be taught how American troops operate and given refresher combat training so they will have a better chance of surviving any combat they might find themselves in the middle of. 


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