Middle East

The Libertarian Veteran and His Translator


The Wash Post reports on Joey Coon, who works at the Cato Institute and is a vet who served in Iraq, and his successful effort to bring his translator to the U.S.:

They became good buddies during the war, the young American soldier and his invaluable Iraqi translator, an easygoing guy who could spot dangers in the shadows and calm jittery nerves in the streets.

When it was time to go home, Joey Coon, then an Army National Guard sergeant, set up an e-mail account for his translator, Bandar Hasan. He gave his friend a quick lesson on how to use it so they could stay in touch.

Joey didn't expect much. Bandar wasn't familiar with computers. But he did call on occasion, and the two joked about him coming to America one day, an idea that seemed far-fetched.

That all changed one morning when Bandar called Joey, his voice tense, his message urgent. He was no longer a translator, he was on the run and in fear of his life.

"He was very scared and worried and thought he was in a lot of danger," Joey says, recalling how this conversation differed from others. "It was less about two guys joking, 'Hey buddy, won't it be fun when you come to the U.S.,' and more like 'Joey I need to get the heck out of here!'"

Joey knew Bandar had risked his life for him and other American soldiers.

Now he was determined to do all he could to save him.

Read the whole thing.


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  1. So, as kind of a tangent to this story, why is there such an overlap between military service and libertarian ideals? Anecdotally, it seems the two go hand in hand.

    1. The military values freedom and fights to protect it?

      1. Really? I thought the military was supposed to do whatever the civilian leaders tell it to do.

        1. In a free country the above two aren’t supposed to conflict.

    2. So, as kind of a tangent to this story, why is there such an overlap between military police service and libertarian authoritarian ideals? Anecdotally, it seems the two go hand in hand.

      1. I always imagined that it has something to do with life in the military functioning just like an authoritarian and oppressive government.

        Once you experience what it’s like to have every major and most minor decisions of your life made for you with no recourse, appeal, or input on your part, you begin to keenly value freedom.

        But I’ve never been in the military, so I’m open to other suggestions. (And I’m not suggesting the military shouldn’t be run that way, either.)

        1. @SugarFree: I have been in the military (Air Force, six years) and your analysis is absolutely correct, at least regarding myself. That’s exactly why I got the hell out after my enlistment was up.

      2. I disagree. I applied to join both the military and my town’s police reserves, although they both rejected me.

    3. I blame Robert Heinlein.

      1. Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have read Starship Troopers when I was 13.

    4. I joined the military because I believe this country, flawed as it is (and going downhill), is still worth protecting. Yes, I also have to deal with deployments to places where I do not think we should be, but even they sometimes have some degree of utility, and are usually in the best interests of the inhabitants – harmful as it is for our own interests to be wasting time and effort there.

      Painful as it may be for the utopian internationalist libertarians. The Old Patriotism in this country, the kind which motivates many traditionalist or ‘Conservative’ people to join the military, often partially correlated with pride in Old American political ideals that were closer to libertarianism than anything else yet seen, or likely to be seen again anytime soon.

      That said, I wish the New Right retained a bit more of the Old Right’s general suspicion of standing armies, particularly professional, and militarism.

      1. But instead, for instead, we had to deal with the dipshit McCain cruising in to the nomination on events 40 years ago.

  2. What a great story.

    It must have pained The Washington Post greatly to write a story about a libertarian and not make him out to be a raving loon Randite selfishness fan.

    1. Maybe it’s a “noble savage” sort of thing:

      Ah, look! The libertarian in his natural habitat, despite his lack of social graces or morality, still provides the occasional example of human compassion. Surely he doesn’t understand the gift he is providing to society by such an act – it is probably the remnant of some primitive individualistic ritual – but shows how even the savage libertarian is more human than we often imagine.
      (try to hear this being read by David Attenborough or something)

  3. We should be allowing any Iraqi who wants to to immigrate to this country, no questions asked.

    1. I 90% agree with this. A quick background check to make sure an applicant wasn’t a militant is a good idea. Other than that, I say give US citizenship to any Iraqi who wants to move here.

    2. Yes, because the U.S. border has magical qualities that automatically recreates the people who cross it.

      1. It does not, but immigration is difficult even with a friendly host country. This makes immigrants self select so that only those who want to live in America very much, in other words those that like America, immigrate here. It’s not a perfect selector, but it works well enough.

        1. those that like America, immigrate here.

          …Or those who want to fly planes into our buildings, which I believe was the OP’s point. But I agree, most people who come here respect what America stands for, and in my experience, embody the ideal that hard work leads to success much more than lazy-ass natural born citizens such as myself.

          1. …Or those who want to fly planes into our buildings, which I believe was the OP’s point.

            Yes I know they weren’t Iraqi, but alla them furriners look alike.

  4. Hasan is not Mexican, so i can’t see that LoneWacko will have any problem with it. DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOO!, on the other hand…

  5. The translator should have been named Blood. That would have been much cooler. Does Joey resemble Don Johnson?

  6. Something fishy going on here. Knowing how Arabs think it’s entirely possible that that this one played the guilt card to get into the states. At the best we’re looking at another immigrant living a life on the dole; at worst a possible terrorist sleeper agent. All the more reason to fight against repeal of DADT: can you imagine when we start sending large numbers of Nancies into the field? It won’t surprise me when they want to bring back their “interpreter” boy toys. “Oh booo hooo, but lil Mahomet risked his life for me!” Bull – he would have lopped your head off as soon as the opportunity presented itself! Too much fiki-fiki going on overthere if you ask me!

    1. Wouldn’t surprise me. But then, I’ve long understood that lying about immigration is as iconic to cosmotarianism as a leather jacket is to Gillespie. There’s never any question you’re getting fed a line of bullshit, the only question is whether you want to waste the time tracking it down and rebutting it.

      1. I would not be surprised at all if one of my many forbears lied to get in this county.

        I would be surprised if one of yours did not.

        Who gives a shit…or are you stupid enough to think our county is great because of the poeple we keep out of it.

        1. The best that I can surmise from some research in my genealogy, one of my ancestors came here for the purpose of putting a check on the spread of Protestantism in North America. My ancestors, perhaps the least successful sleeper agents in the history of mankind.

        2. Who gives a shit…or are you stupid enough to think our county is great because of the poeple we keep out of it.

          Presumably, you wouldn’t mind the Taliban setting up shop in your town? If you really think the people we keep out of the country aren’t as much of a factor in the quality of life as the ones who are here, you aren’t in any position to be calling anyone stupid.

    2. At the best we’re looking at another immigrant living a life on the dole; at worst a possible terrorist sleeper agent.

      Bad troll is bad.

  7. So this would be the positive counterpost to Balko’s endless stream of horrible.

  8. So, as kind of a tangent to this story, why is there such an overlap between military service and libertarian ideals?

    I have absolutely no military experience or even friends who have served in the military. My uncle went to Vietnam and i have a grandfather who served in the pacific during WW2. I think they were both drafted..but that is it for my family.

    Also Kos was in the military.

    Yeah i see no overlap that you would not find with any other political ideology.

    1. The ancestor I spoke of in the earlier post was an armed escort (marine) on a ship that arrived from the Canary Islands in the 1770’s, and his name was Eduardo Domingo (Last Name I ain’t giving ;)). I had an uncle who was a drill sergeant at Paris Island, his name, Edward Domingo. Crazy coincidence because the ancestor’s full identity wasn’t known to us until about a decade ago.

      I didn’t join the service, but a lot of my relatives are and have been very much active in it including a cousin just back from Afghanistan.

      That said, I’m an Old Right, entangling alliances lightens your wallet and your good self interested sense type of guy.

  9. Crawl back under your rock, “patriot”.

  10. Kewl article and kewl thread. I do have to say that PR/MP and Slap! should probably just circle jerk/Dutch rudder and leave the rest of us out of it.

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