Posted by Lexington Green on October 14th, 2003 (All posts by Lexington Green)
I was recently forwarded some email from an American soldier in northern Iraq. I removed personal comments and information indicating his identity. I thought our readers would be interested:
I cannot wait to be home. I think I am all deployed out for awhile. It’s one of those things you’re glad you did it, but do not want to do it again. I guess that’s war. …Really, getting home is all that motivates me right, and of course, beating the bad guy. We’re beginning to see a lot of foreign fighters coming in, and I wonder how long Saddam’s influence will last as more and more of these guys pour in. They are for the most part fanatic types. I guess they and Saddam will be allies as long as we are here. Of course, that begs the question: do we go after them in their own countries? That is something only the American electorate can decide. Frankly, I do not think they have the stomach for that. Where does that leave this whole thing? Hopefully, the Iraqi’s can get their act together to make themselves a more viable state. Many are more than willing, and that is a good sign. Still, it is not a done deal. Let’s hope it ends soon.
Mosul is an interesting place. It is old, like many of the cities here. (Nineveh is here-capital of the Assyrian Empire) At the same time, it is in better shape than Baghdad. In fact, of all of the Sunni cities, it is probably in the best shape. How it works here is this — the Shiite cities, mainly down south around As Nasiriyah and An Najaf, they are in terrible shape. Saddam never really gave them anything. Hence, they are the farthest behind, infrastructure wise. Then comes the Sunni cities, which are mainly around Baghdad and north of the city. That is Mosul and Tikrit and those places. Generally, the infrastructure is better in those places. Finally, you have the Kurdish cities way up north like Dahuk and Irbil. Those places, free from Saddam’s influence for nearly twelve years, are much nicer, almost up to European standards. They understand capitalism and have bought into it.
In one of our towns, they had a wedding, and they bring weapons to the weddings and shoot them in the air as part of the celebration. One guy got a little crazy, probably drunk, and he shot and killed the bride and injured and the groom. The usual solution: the perpetrator pays the bride’s family for the loss. No jail. OJ should have gone here to commit his crime. (And since Goldman was Jewish, he would have been lauded as a hero.)
We have a long way to go, but we are on the right track. We’ve introduced town hall meetings here, and the local sheiks and muktars love it. They are thrilled that they can voice their opinions in a forum such as this. Let’s not kid ourselves here. We are imposing our culture on another one. I guess when you are out here, you begin to realize who we are and what we represent and why so many fear us. Our ideas are addictive. Many of these people do not want us to leave. I guess that is nice. The people who are committing these atrocious acts are few, but they are mainly foreigners and ex Baath. Baath party is like the Nazi party. It has to be expunged, its remnants destroyed. The foreigners are a different story. Their motivation centers on the fear of American culture. They fear what that means for them and their people. They are not poor. In fact, many are well off. Granted, they hire poor locals once they get here. And loyalties are easily bought here. Money is the ammunition of this conflict.
The foreign jihadis sound like the real problem. Will we allow Iran and Syria and Saudi become the Laos and Cambodia of this war? Or will we find a way to prevent enemy infiltrators from getting in? Or will we be able to create an Iraqi army and police force that can secure the border? That may be the key to the whole thing right there.