Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Sheriff's Corner: Immigration


Courtesy Photo

This photo shows the quarters where 1,000 Iraqi and Jordanian cadets were housed, often sleeping two or three to a bunk.

The other day I checked Facebook and a friend had posted a video from a Veteran Marine, Steven Gern working as a contractor in Iraq. What he said made perfect sense and reasonable about the 90 day immigration hold from seven countries that happen to be Muslim. It was his opinion, which I agreed with, and shared with my friends. That evening I asked my wife if she saw the video I shared and she replied "No, I didn't get the video". I checked and to my surprise the video had been pulled off of Facebook as perhaps being too politically correct or un-correct. Either way it was his right to free speech and it was squashed like a bug.

In his video he stated it was a conversation he had with Iraqi people he worked with in Iraq. His Iraqi co-workers were upset at President Trump's travel ban. He posed a question to them, what would happen to him if he walked the streets of Baghdad? They told him someone would kill him in short order and it wouldn't be any terrorist group. His point was if the local population wanted to see a death to an American walking in Iraq why should we allow those same people to walk the streets of America?

I searched the internet for Gern's video and found that it was also taken off YouTube as being "Hate Speech". I didn't see anything that was hateful but his opinion based on what he was told by his Iraqi co-workers. Not all of my friends and family agreed with the video and my opinion. My opinion is he told the truth about the cold hard facts of an American living in Iraq and the inherent danger that some Iraqis pose to our country.

I was first introduced to the ways of radical Muslims in Bosnia in 1999 when I was Station Commander of the United Nations (I worked for the United States) International Police Task Force in Sarajevo. We had three refugee camps in my area of responsibility with about three to six thousand per camp. The Muslims were fleeing Kosovo and the fighting. Never having to deal with refugees, it was a learning experience. I felt bad for the large number of children that had nothing to do so I went to the PX at Butmir and purchased six soccer balls with my own money. The next day I just threw them to the kids, the idea caught on and other people in my station did the same thing for the other two camps. After the first few visits I had to cover my American flag patch and even told some refugees I was British. I was being overwhelmed by crowds of people wanting me to help them to get to America. One day a Swedish police officer and I decided to purchase a bunch of candy to distribute to the children. Our good intentions quickly turned into a riot with men and women fighting children and then us for the candy. This wasn't pushing and shoving this was sheer violence with several children being injured. My patience was starting to wear thin with refugees though I still had to inspect the camps daily. Within a few weeks things proceeded to get worse and I saw the underbelly of extremist Muslims. Two young American Baptist missionaries were working with the refugees, all very well intending, helping people and spreading the Word of Christ. They approached me one morning all excited with a 16 year old boy in tow. They were so happy, as was I, that the boy had accepted Christ as his Savior and converted. I remember the boy was beaming with happiness... little did I know that in less than 24 hours I'd be looking at the bloody body of the boy with his tongue cut out, eyes just bloody sockets, sexually mutilated as well as being stabbed dozens of times. The image of him alive and dead will always haunt me. As we tried to investigate the boy's death, no one cooperated. Through one of my linguists one Imam said "There was no one person who killed him, he was killed by every Muslim." The Imam simply said there was no place for Christians in Islam. The UN High Commission of Human Rights (UNHCR) turned a blind eye to the incident and the case went unsolved. In fact, the UNHCR blamed it on camp conditions and that the refugees should be allowed to leave the camp during the day and return in the evening. The local police and I protested, citing problems already with Christian locals and the refugees. The UNHCR didn't care they said they didn't run concentration camps and opened the gates during the day. The next day two women were raped and murdered in their house only 100 yards from the refugee camp. In trying to assist the local police we interviewed the Imam again and again he said there is no place where Christians are safe. The violence continued between the Muslim refugees and the local Christian population until the camps were closed nearing the end of the year. In my year in Bosnia I witnessed dozens of deaths and an untold acts violence. Little did Americans know, it was a struggle between Muslims and Christians in Bosnia.

In 2003, I was called up again to work as Senior Police Advisor, I was assigned to be Chief of National Police Recruiting and needed to hire, vet and place into police academies in Iraq and Jordan, 133,000 recruits. The number was not only ludicrous it was impossible in the short amount of time given. Within a month of the police academies reopening, I went from recruiting 500 cadets to a class to 1000 every two weeks. The schedule was set, not by me, but the Coalition Provisional Authority. In fact, I protested against the numbers because we couldn't vet them properly. In this time, I found out first hand that the Iraqi system of documentation was still on paper and in files. Literally, nothing was computer generated and most documentation was hand typed to include personal identification including driver's licenses. In some cases documents were handwritten with pictures glued or stapled to a plain paper. Needless to say, there were many forgeries. One such forgery turned out to be an international terrorist seeking to be an Iraqi police officer... he was arrested on the spot by Army MP's assigned to me. In another case, which turned into many, a misdemeanor criminal record was found on a man applying to be a cop. When I questioned him about the crime, through my linguist, he said it was an honor crime and he was found guilty but didn't do any jail time. When I pressed further he said he had murdered his sister because she brought shame on his family. Needless to say, I denied him on the spot... but there were hundreds if not thousands more like him. I could ask, would you want someone like this living next to you?

There were times I traveled by car alone in Baghdad knowing full well that if I were captured I would be like Nicolas Berg who was brutally beheaded and it was televised on local television as well as the internet. I remember the case well and will always. Nick was just an American who wanted to help the Iraqi people and make a little money. He wasn't working for coalition forces and had no affiliation to any American company. You might say he freelanced and lived on the economy. No one knows who took him or for that matter who killed him. Some say it was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Some of my local linguists thought it was just Iraqi people who killed him.

There was no doubt in my mind that many Iraqis hated us. Like an old guy who saw me pull out of the Baghdad Hotel (where I lived during my first tour in Iraq) and decided to punch my windshield while I was doing 45mph. I saw hatred towards Americans everyday but I still contend there were and are good Iraqis.

I know many Iraqis living in the U.S. today, most of which I worked with in Iraq. All of these Iraqi friends of mine were thoroughly vetted by either the U.S. Department of State and/or the Department of Defense and are good people. For an Iraqi to work with the United States in Iraq they had to prove documentation of who they are, be searched through a database developed by the U.S. military and managed by the F.B.I. using their fingerprints, iris scan and facial recognition biometric software, an investigation then had a thorough interview. It wasn't without errors but it did make things safer for the Americans working in Iraq. I personally interviewed hundreds of Iraqis and know from experience that I wouldn't want some of them living here in Kimball.

This is my opinion of the President's Travel Ban as it is called. This isn't or at least shouldn't be a restriction of Muslims coming here. I think it could have been implemented and explained better. I firmly believe, based on my knowledge of the cultures in these societies, that a good many hate Americans, though not everyone. I witnessed firsthand the hatred towards America which at times seemed to be everyone. We've experienced terrorism here in America at the hands of radical Muslim terrorists who came to the United States on work and school visas who were not vetted or were good at hiding their intentions. Many of us here were appalled seeing Middle Eastern immigrants (I won't call them Muslims because I don't know their faith) cheering as the World Trade Center fell. I spoke to one of those who cheered that fateful day, a few years later. She, an American citizen now, told me she cheered the destruction of American capitalism and the wealthy, not thinking of the number of people that were killed. I didn't fully believe her but certain sentiments abound throughout the world and not just in Muslim countries.

We as Americans, especially those who are from families who immigrated here several generations ago or who haven't lived in different cultures have to be mindful of the difference in cultures around the world. The Islamic culture is different than ours and we need to respect the difference. There are several differences within the two primary Muslim cultures of Sunni and Shia. Most Muslims will practice their faith accepting people of different faiths and beliefs. Then there are the "firebrand" or more radical faiths of Muslims, both Shia and Sunni. These are the ones who want to see all non-believers of Islam to die. It boils down to how the Koran is translated and interpreted. I do have one caveat I'd like to throw in. There have been more Muslims killed by radical Muslims than radical Muslims killing American soldiers and civilians... in America and abroad. There isn't hardly a day that goes by that there isn't a suicide bombing in Iraq. These killings between Shia and Sunni radicals have been going on for centuries. I would just prefer that radical Muslims and people who hate Americans be kept out of our country by whatever means necessary, to include a temporary travel ban.

I'm supporting the President's temporary travel restrictions from these seven countries until we can properly vet them. Realistically it will take years to put a good system in. Oh by the way, the travel restriction didn't include all Muslim nations, far from the majority but these are nations that either sponsored terrorism or do not have a means of providing documentation of their citizens... not just handwritten papers that can't be verified. The refugees that President Obama wanted to come here didn't have documentation of who they were or any vetting whatsoever.

Courtesy Photo

Four young boys photographed at the side of a road immediately following a roadside attack.

Lastly... if legalized immigration and the path to citizenship in the United States is to work, it has to change. Our country was founded under one God and should have no place for Sharia Law under Islam. New citizens should swear an allegiance to America and learn English before citizenship... it was once required. Everyone's application for a visa and citizenship should be thoroughly investigated and determined that their intentions are in line with our society and culture, not the one they are coming from. No one should be allowed to remain in this country if they have an expired visa or they are here unlawfully. YES, if they came here unlawfully they are criminals, they broke the law and they need to return to their country and enter the U.S. legally. Immigrants who built this country came here to work, live and prosper. They didn't ask for handouts; they asked for help to get started and they helped to build this country, not tear it apart with protests against it. Let us not forget our veterans who gave everything since the days of the first Continental Army of our country to protect us all, many gave their lives for our freedoms. Many of those soldiers who defended this great country were immigrants.

God bless America,

Your Sheriff Harry J. Gillway (third generation of legal immigrants)


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