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Pray for the Iraqis
When Air Force Major Head met with his Iraqi interpreters for the first time in the spring of 2007, he got a first-hand telling of Iraq’s harsh realities, both past ...

Pray for the Iraqis

Maj. Brad Head, United States Air Force

When Air Force Major Head met with his Iraqi interpreters for the first time in the spring of 2007, he got a first-hand telling of Iraq’s harsh realities, both past and present.

One interpreter’s brother had recently been murdered by insurgents. Another had lied his way through a checkpoint, telling the insurgents he was Sunni when he was really a Shiite. He made up family names, an indicator of tribal heritage, to stay alive. Each interpreter used a pretend name to protect his identity. Zero’s story was particularly heartfelt. He had joined the Army when Sadaam was in power, but left before completing basic training, staying only ten days.

“We’d only known this guy for thirty minutes. When we explained that we were going to be training Iraqi Air Force officers and enlisted Airmen, he passionately urged us to make sure we taught future officers to respect their enlisted troops. Apparently the reason he left Saddam’s Army is that enlisted men were routinely raped by their officers as a form of punishment for not following orders,” Head explained.

Despite his traumatic experiences, Zero had a great sense of humor.

“I asked if he had girlfriend and he assured me he was engaged to actress Angelina Jolie. He said they had talked about it last night and she agreed to leave Tom Cruise (he meant Brad Pitt) and move to Baghdad to be with him. He then winked and told me it was only a dream but a ‘good dream,’” Head wrote, noting if Iraq is going to succeed, it will be because people like Zero face their fears and do the right thing.

“Abraham Maslow’s psychological hierarchy of needs says that people first need food, clothing, shelter, and security before they can be concerned about higher order needs like self-actualization. The Iraqis have spent so much time struggling for the basic order needs that they have never dreamed of moving up to the higher levels we so often take for granted.

“Please join me in praying for these and the millions of Iraqis like them who want nothing more than what the average American wants: to get married, have a family, a stable job that pays well, food on the table, a couple of kids, and a lasting sense of security and stability for themselves and their country,” Head related.


Lord, I pray for Zero and the other interpreters in Iraq as they seek to rebuild their lives. Reveal yourself to them in remarkable ways.

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