Guthertz Suggests Guam as a Staging Point for Iraqis Seeking Refuge as U.S. Pulls Out


Guam – Senator Judi Guthertz is urging Governor Calvo to suggest to President Obama that Guam could be used as an initial evacuation point for Iraqi refugees who want to leave as the U.S. pulls its last troops out of Iraq.

In a release, the Senator refers to the Vietnamese refugees  who were evacuated to Guam in 1975 and the 6,000 Iraqi Kurds who found refugee here in 1996.

Guthertz refers to a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer in which columnist Trudy Rubin questions why President Obama has keep the doors of  the U.S. closed to Iraqis who have worked for the U.S. as  interpreters and sub‐contractors who they are now under threat as the U.S. pulls out.

READ the Philadelphia Inquirer article

In her release, Senator Guthertz states: “As always, Guam is ready to help,” and she urged Governor Calvo “to review the situation and offer any needed assistance, including offering Guam as a staging point for an Iraq evacuation.”

READ Senator Guthertz’s Release in FULL below:


More than 35 years ago, the United States initially abandoned its local allies in Vietnam during its disorderly evacuation from that country; a massive, though belated airlift to Guam ordered by President Jerry Ford, well remembered as Operation New Life, brought thousands here on the way to the mainland.

And it wasn’t the last time. In 1996, Guam was again the host as President Bill Clinton ordered 6,000 Iraqui Kurds and other activists flown here in the face of death threats from Saddam Hussein and his troops.  

Now, with American forces poised to leave Iraq by the end of the year, Iraqi interpreters, embassy workers and sub‐contractors are under threat of
assassination. Special visas authorized by Congress for these personnel are trickling out of Washington as many of them are being kicked off closing U.S. bases, which have been their safe haven.  

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Trudy Rubin recalled a campaign promise President Obama made when criticizing President George W. Bush for neglecting the Iraqis who helped the U.S.:  

“’That is not how we treat our friends. That is not who we are as Americans.’  If that is so, Mr. President, why are our doors virtually closed to our Iraqi helpers, as we exit their country? Why are you consigning many of them to death?,” Rubin asked.  

Senator Guthertz said, “As always, Guam is ready to help.” And she urged Governor Eddie Baza Calvo to review the situation and offer any needed
assistance, including offering Guam as a staging point for an Iraq evacuation.