In case you missed it, I got my first Iraqi comment the other day. It was from a smart and talented Iraqi blogger who calls himself Ibn-Alrafidain (Son of the Two Rivers). He's a wonderful writer, and with his words he reminds me of the many great Iraqis I met while I was up there. I especially like this post called Salute to the US People:
GWB is chosen for a second term as a president by the AMERICAN PEOPLE. As an Iraqi, I want to say thank you to (Al-Hurra) satellite TV. It covered the whole event and managed to show us, Iraqis and Arabs, a new horizon in life. Though occupation is something abhorrent, but there are some benefits. One of these is to be free in receiving a wide range of information. Showing the election to the Iraqis may have a positive effect on them. To learn from other people is a great experience. I think what we need here in Iraq, as people, is more than just watching and admiring what the others doing. We have to learn how to be interactive with other nations. I believe that we need an (educational rehabilitation) after what we had gone through for the past four decades.
Salute to the American people for adoring freedom and justice.
I like this post because it helps me answer a question that I am constantly asked by fellow Americans- even today. "Do they want us over there?" My answer is always, "Of course not! Not with weapons and body armor on!" And we don't want to be there either- not under the present circumstances. Most Iraqis are quick to point out that they are glad Saddam is gone, they appreciate what we've done, and although they wish for the occupation to end soonest- they would love for us all to come back as tourists- and that they'd be honored to welcome us as guests in their homes.
They want us carrying cameras and souvenirs- not guns and hand cuffs.
They want to see us wearing khakis and Izods- not DCU's and body armor.
Who can blame them for this? I join them in hoping that it happens sooner than later.
It's important to note that most Iraqis (Ibn included) understand the necessity of the occupation- and they are smart enough to realize that the insurgents are doing more to prolong it than anything else. This is why you see so many Iraqis volunteering for the police force. They hate the violence, and they want to (at long last) enjoy their newfound freedom.
Ibn mentions that he wishes progress would speed along faster. I'm with him on that. All of us wish that Iraq could be "rehabilitated" in a day. Unfortunately, the damage caused by 30+ years under a brutal and oppressive totalitarian government takes a long time to fix. We Americans are doing our best to put a band-aid on it. Great Iraqis like Ibn will have to heal the wounds completely. My feeling is that progress will speed up significantly after the elections. I could be wrong, but it's what I believe.
I'd like to use Ibn's own words to point out why I think he's courageous and forward-leaning among his people:
The crimes committed by Saddam's closest assistants against the Iraqi people, many are filmed, had never been spoken about. No one dared to raise a voice to demand a trail because of fear.
And the same fear is used nowadays by the insurgents to keep mouths shut.
A society which can not enforce law should admit it and ask for help. I can say that the silenced Iraqi majority needs...help to develop a better society.
And you are helping them, Ibn. Thanks for that. Check out his blog- it's well worth a look.
Bye Bye Dan
Dan says, "I have always been and remain a `hard news' investigative reporter at heart. I now look forward to pouring my heart into that kind of reporting full time." (emphasis added)
Um...did he mean "hard to believe news?" Don't let the doorknob hit ya...
For the best coverage of the just-launched offensive in North Babil- check out the Belmont Club's comprehensive round up (thanks Chester). One of the best ways to counter an enemy's planned upcoming offensive- is to keep them on defense. Right now, the enemy is very much on the defensive. I would imagine it will stay that way for quite a while.
I was in Iskandariya (which is in the North Babil Province) for about a month last year (March-April). Lots of sandstorms. Miserable. That's about all I remember.
In case you haven't noticed- I replaced all the comments (minus websites and email addresses) that Haloscan killed when I installed it. I had them all autoforwarded by email, so I just went back and reentered them manually. Had the day off yesterday, and it only took about an hour!