Sunday, April 01, 2007

Life in Iraq

I received an email today from Brother Steve Cramer, and he asked some interesting questions.

Portion of his email:

Also, yes please tell me what daily life is like there in Iraq. We get such a skewed version of life there from our media that I'm not sure what life is like there. Most Americans think that it's just a dirty, dusty, hell hole of a place, but I know that most Iraqis are good people. and they have such a rich history, I think if we can just get them to embrace their own destiny, and embrace freedom, that their culture will bloom and they will become such a model good society for other struggling countries to emulate. Am I off base?All we see on the news is them blowing each other up. I've got to think that some good things are happening over there. I just don't know. Maybe you and I can make a difference. You never know.


Well, I live in Iraq, I have been here for 18 months. And I watch CNN/FOX, etc. I must say that the picture that is presented in the US media is very good. I have no serious problem with it. Iraq is not a dusty hell-hole. Fact is, it is raining right now. Iraq is either dusty or muddy. I have seen some blistering heat, and I have seen snow here at Tall'Afar. Anyplace where there is less than 7 inches of rain per year is classified as a desert. Iraq qualifies.

I must say, that I believe in the mission here. I think the USA is absolutely right to be involved in settling the disputes here, and in helping the Iraqi people to mold their own society and future. It is going to be a difficult task, make no mistake.

Americans are by and large historically illiterate. Let's take a step back into history. Adolf Hitler killed himself, and the nazis surrendered May 8, 1945. I was stationed in Germany 1976-1978, and at the time there were 300,000 American troops in central Europe. Today, 62 years after the end of WW2, there are 70,000 American troops in Germany.

Saddam Hussein was hung in 2007. We should be prepared to have a substantial military presence in Iraq for 40-50 years. This is simple reality. NO one wants to talk about it, but it is going to happen.

Now I must state for the record, that I do not have any contact with Iraqis. I live on a military base way out in the middle of nowhere. The American army runs the operation, and no Iraqis are permitted on this post. The laundry and kitchen staff are all third-country nationals. Indians, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Turks, etc. The security situation is just too dangerous to permit Iraqi civilians on post.

I am optimistic about the outcome here. This war is not about religion. This war is about greed and power, like almost all wars. The main factions are the Sunnis, the Shi'ites, and the Kurds. The Kurds want to set up a separate state, but the oil fields are not distributed evenly in this country. The Iranians (predominately Shi'ite), are bankrolling the Shi'ite militias in Iraq. Weapons and logistical support is flowing into Iraq across the Syrian border. Al Qaeda operatives are active all over this country.

I believe sincerely, that a peaceful outcome is possible, and that all Iraqis regardless of religious sect or ethnicity can have a place in a reasonable political solution. This is going to be a difficult and long-range goal. Problem is, Americans are not willing to pay the price and tough it out for the long haul. Americans expect a "quick fix". After all, we developed the atomic bomb, and ended WW2 in the pacific. We put together "Operation Overlord", and invaded France, and ended WW2 in Europe in 9 months from D-Day to Berlin. We put a man on the moon in 8 years. But here in Iraq, there is no "quick fix" or "magic bullet".

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