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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lessons Learned

What a place Iraq is. You go to bed to the sound of .50 caliber machine gun fire and wake up to 120 degree F (or hotter) temperatures. You get bombed and shot at and you carry a gun and body armor. You get to shoot and kill people too.

In Iraq I found out many things. I learned what pieces of glistening bone look like when they are still fresh. I found out what the inside of a brain looks like, and how much blood leaks out of dead human beings. There are other things too that I have learned over here, like what Depleted Uranium rounds look like and what a person smells like when they have burned to death. I learned a lot about death here, like all the different ways bullets can rip through a person and turn them into so much meat.

One lesson that I still remember like it was yesterday was what a dead child looks like when they have been shot in the head.

I learned that you can cry until tears won't come anymore and I learned what poverty really is. I also found out here in Iraq that I know how to make people die, and I learned what true desperation is.

You won't find these lessons in the school house. Most people won't even learn these things through life experiences. I wonder if they count for anything? I wish that I learned these lessons so that my son and daughter would never have to, but my father hoped for that same thing back in Vietnam and my grandfather had similar wishes while serving in World War II.

These lessons and more I learned in Iraq. A fellow soldier told me the other day, "show me a terrorist nowadays that we didn't help create here in Iraq." Perhaps you think we are making lives better here? Maybe you haven't seen the same things I have.

Welcome to the Iraq School of Hard Knocks where you can learn a lesson in futility. All these lessons I have learned... I just haven't learned how to stop the nightmares.

106 comments:

Snag said...

You mention educating your son (and daughter?) of the horrors of war. I wish my family would have been more vocal after Vietnam, Korea, and WWII. I knew it was bad, but they really didn't convey what they had seen. I know they were concerned when I enlisted, but the hell they saw may have been to unbearable for them to relate effectively. I caught little glimpses, even from my grandfather 40 years after when he would tell me of some of his experience in the South Pacific. Strange to see a tough, old factory worker choke up when you're very young.
We need voices of those that have beared witness to remind us after all is said and done.
Stay strong and stay safe Zach.

quilter-12 said...

Stay strong Zach...and keep talking...keep talking until everyone listens. We need to hear what you have to say....maybe it will be different for the little ones...maybe we will learn from this war.

Anonymous said...

talk doesn't cook rice.

zach can talk and write his grade b poetry till the cows come home, his actions betray his real intentions.

yes stay safe sarge zach.

p.s. real cute how you talk of killing people. what if they gave a war and nobody came?

Hurria said...

There is a word for someone who agonizes about having killed and destroyed and maimed and willingly keeps doing it. That word is hypocrite.

Terrible said...

Zack, that's some heavy shit you just layed down but it definitly needs to be told. I suppose there will be all kinds of Bush supporters calling you all kinds of names over this post. But know that those of us who see the deceit and greed of the administration care very deeply about our troops and hate seeing them used and abused as they have been. Nothing can take away the horrors that you have been a part of but working together hopefully America will someday heal from this misadventure. And if the administration ever gives up it's plans for ruling Iraqs oil fields maybe someday Iraq can heal too.

On another sad note the VA is trying to save some money by reviewing disability benefits for PTSD. They're going to see if they can cancel some claims that may have been granted that shouldn't have been. Fair enough, but they aren't going to review if there were claims denied that should have been granted. Things haven't changed much about how the government uses the military since I was in 25 years ago.

Be stong, stay safe and tread lightly.

Snag said...

Another hypocrisy is using words of war and words of hate when condemning war.
I'm sure many have, but has anyone asked themselves how many of us have actually come out of their worlds where people agree with you and actually tried to convince someone who supports this war in Iraq that it is wrong?
A lot of good it does attacking those that share your general sentimates.
A hypocrisy is condemning this war but not others.
Is it only a cause celebre? Is it only because it is in our own back yard?
Until we accept that everyone suffers, everyone has fears, we will be complicit in keeping the demon of war in power.
With that, I will state again that I do not support the fighting in Iraq.
That means I do not support our government's attack and I do not support the methods of the insurgency.
If you do not see in your own heart how hate makes you no better than your enemy, if you cannot find compassion for every human who is caught up in this horror, then I am sorry for you.

none said...

It's interesting to read your thoughts and you quoting other soldiers who express cynicism about the intentions of the US in this conflict. You see absolutely none of that on tv here, in fact the whole "follow the soldier with a camera" period was a brief one and it ended long ago. That's one reality show nobody wants to see, apparently.

Daedalus said...

trying to look at the positive (it's quite difficult to find anything), there is some good that can come out of this. see, you know the horrors and can come back and do something to try to prevent them from happening. you will never sit on your couch waving your flag supporting the atrocities of an adminstration like this. people who sit back and call you names and write you nasty messages will never do anything to fix the problems of the world, because they are too busy watching their reality television to know that a real reality exists, that of the horrific aspects of human nature. zach, you are better than them, because you have been able to overcome your hatred for "targets" and to see them as people. you've come to see that war is a human struggle, and you see the moral aspects of it. that is so much better than blind hatred for an "enemy."

hypocrite you are not. you're just trying to survive. are you supposed to sit back and let those monsters take you? you've just been cursed with a brain that can think on its own and with a soul that is morally conscious of humanity.

that is the tragedy we call life. it sucks, but it can also be joyous and beautiful. one day, zach, yours will be, too. hang in there. you too, hurria, hang in there. no war has lasted forever.

Hurria said...

"you have been able to overcome your hatred for "targets" and to see them as people."

And yet continue to be ready, willing, and able to take aim at those "targets" and shoot to kill. I am very impatient with the kind of disconnect that allows someone to willingly continue to take part in a crime while at the same time decrying it with one eloquent, heartfelt cri de ceour after another. It is just bloody self indulgent for starters. Either it is as wrong as you say it is and you stop participating in it, or you knowingly and willingly continue to be a part of the problem.

"hurria, hang in there. no war has lasted forever."

Thanks indeed for this encouragement. But, however long this "war" lasts, the horrendous aftereffects will outlive me by decades if not centuries, and I will never see Iraq strong, and healthy, and whole again, nor will my children, and most likely nor will theirs. That is the legacy we have from the George Bush administrations and from all who chose to participate in the destruction of Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Things MY husband has learned in this combat.
-never take anything for granted
-cherish and appreciate every moment
-just when you think you can't go any further, you find the strength to go another mile
-not everyone agrees with your opinions, and that's ok
-do your job well, even if you dislike it
-if you really dislike it, make a change when you can

I'm not saying that Zach hasn't learned these things. But what I am saying is that my husband learned the greatest lesson of all. Things can always be worse, so look in the bright side of things. (and yes, there always is one)
Stay safe Zach, hurry home, and bring home those you work with. Keep your Head down and your Heart up.

Anonymous said...

Times are tough for all in Iraq (especially Iraqis who don't have a 6 month exit in sight). But at least you can all feel proud that your suffering is not completely in vain: Blood and gravy.

Peace and safety to all in Iraq.

Taff

Daedalus said...

The whole world will suffer from the effects of the bush administration. It is up to people like me (and Zach, when he is finally allowed to go home) to fix these things, I think. I am ashamed of my country right now, but there is still enough good in it to begin the painful healing process. We'll make it right someday, maybe not in our lifetimes, but it's worth trying.

Hurria said...

Daedalus,

Before Zach and others like him can fix anything don't you think they should start refusing to help the Bush administration break things?

Anonymous said...

For Hurria,

It must be nice to be so morally pure and uncorrupted that you can throw stone after stone at those on the front lines. Just out of curiosity, do you live in the US and pay the taxes that go to support the army? Do you have privileges that come to people who live in first world countries which are based on the actions of a standing army? Before you go calling others out, I hope you've made sure that your own house is clean.

Hurria said...

Dear Anonymous,

I have a right to express my point of view here as long as this comment section is public and as long as its owner allows me to post here. I have always endeavored to express myself here in a courteous and civil manner but without sugar coating what I have to say. If you choose to see that as throwing stones, that is your issue, not mine.

Those on the front lines are assisting the U.S. government in its project to achieve military, economic and political dominance over my country, and to transform it economically, politically, socially and culturally into a useful client state for its further endeavors in the region. In so doing they are killing and maiming my people by the hundreds of thousands. They are destroying entire cities and turning hundreds of thousands into destitute permanent refugees. They are directly and indirectly destroying and damaging beyond repair the vast and ancient heritage of this country (heritage that in fact belongs to all humanity). They are killing and maiming and psychologically destroying people I personally know and love. They are driving the best and the brightest Iraqis out of the country into exile. They are depriving an entire population of the basic necessities and comforts of life. They are depriving a generation of Iraqi children of the opportunities that can only be gained by education. They are destroying the intricate and often delicate social fabric of Iraq - a fabric that has held together for centuries. They are destroying millions of lives. They are destroying my country.

Perhaps instead of berating me you should thanks me for not throwing anything more deadly at them than words.

Mike Crichton said...

Anonymous: Obviously you haven't read previous posts. Hurria is an Iraqi civilian, living in Baghdad. Whether she's "right" or not, she has more right to 'throw stones' than just about anyone else here.

none said...

Hurria, I think Zach is about as powerful as you are to do anything about the situation. Evidently what is happening to your country was not his decision. If he decides to disobey orders, he will be arrested, tried and put in prison. Have you personally faced that type of a decision? Did you stand up to the Saddam regime? Were you a political dissident of that regime, or a faceless, compliant, average citizen who stayed out of trouble and only now, apres Saddam, found your courage?
I think the war against Iraq was started for material reasons and also some political ones, none of which in my view tipped the scale sufficiently to go to war - about half of Americans agree with me, as you know. However, Iraq was not "strong, healthy and whole" as you describe it, before the war, it was a brutal dictatorship known for such things as "rape rooms". That is not a figment of the American imagination, it was a very disgusting reality for many of your compatriots. There is opportunity in the situation in your country, particularly since the Americans don't want to look bad and will probably do all they can to ensure democracy, while at the same time pillaging the oil. Plus, for all the war profiteering, there is also investment. In the end, the economy is what will count; if Iraq manages an economic recovery, life will return to normal faster than you think. Just pray those people who are so concerned about the "pride of Iraq" they are willing to blow themselves up for it don't win, as I doubt they can install democracy or create a single job, for all their idealism.

Hurria said...

"Hurria, I think Zach is about as powerful as you are to do anything about the situation."

On the contrary. Zach has choices whether to be there at all and what to do or not do while he is there. They are not easy choices, but they certainly are choices, and thousands of military people have made the choice not to participate in something they find abhorrent. They have decided that the price they pay by refusing is less than the price they pay by betraying their own principles and morality. Iraqis, on the other hand, have no such choices. Tell me, for example, what choices the people of Falluja had? Their city was going to be flattened and there was absolutely nothing they could do about it. Some of them did not even have the option to leave the city before the attack, and several thousands of them were killed by your military as a result.

"Evidently what is happening to your country was not his decision."

No, but whether to be a part of it is entirely his decision, and he has made the decision to be a part of it. His complaints therefore look very hollow to me.

"If he decides to disobey orders, he will be arrested, tried and put in prison."

And later be released alive, in one piece, and with his conscience intact. Many have made this choice or similar ones.

"Have you personally faced that type of a decision?"

I have faced the decision to participate or not in something that went against my principles, yes.

"Did you stand up to the Saddam regime? Were you a political dissident of that regime, or a faceless, compliant, average citizen who stayed out of trouble and only now, apres Saddam, found your courage?

You are attempting to draw an analogy where none exists. In addition this is a deeply unfair and insulting argument. It is absurd to try to draw an equivalence between an Iraqi living under Saddam Hussein's regime and an American military person. It is even more absurd to suggest an analogy between an American military person risking possible (and only possible) time in prison for refusing to violate his principles and his conscience by partipating in a criminal war, and an Iraqi facing the consequences of "standing up to" the regime. In any case, I doubt very much that you, who have probably never lived under any level of dictatorship, have any idea what you mean by "standing up to" a regime like that of Saddam Hussein. Until you do I strongly suggest that you refrain from lecturing Iraqis.

"Iraq was not "strong, healthy and whole" as you describe it, before the war"

First, I was not referring to Iraq in the 21st century or even in the '90's. Second, I strongly recommend that you, who have never lived in Iraq and know nothing about it beyond the limited, ignorant, and generally inaccurate nonsense you hear from the pundits, "experts" and U.S. press, refrain from trying to inform Iraqis about Iraq. (It never stops amazing me how eager Americans are every time they have an opportunity to inform Iraqis about our country and our lives and how rarely it occurs to them that it might be more appropriate to take the opportunity to obtain some information from us.)

"it was a brutal dictatorship known for such things as "rape rooms"."

Well, now we have an even more brutal occupation complete with - guess what? "rape rooms"! So what is your point?

"That is not a figment of the American imagination, it was a very disgusting reality for many of your compatriots."

And you know this exactly how? By reading about it in the American press? By hearing members of your government rant about it in political speeches? My dear, I advise you once again to refrain from trying to inform Iraqis about Iraq.

"There is opportunity in the situation in your country..."

Followed by the usual meaningless blahblahblah about the wonderful democracy and economic growth and other American fantasies.

Kate said...

Your post has made me so sad, Zach. I'm so sorry you've been sent to the "Iraq School of Hard Knocks." I wish you'd never had to learn these "lessons," though I cringe to use that word since they seem less about learning than about hardening. No one should have to experience such things, the Iraqis or soldiers like you. We'll work toward peace, Zach, so we can wake up from these nightmares.

You're in my thoughts, friend. Stay safe. Take care.

Peace --

Joe in St. Paul said...

Hurria,

With all due respect, what do you think can be done to help end this deadly situation in Iraq? How to stop the insurgency? Should the Americans just leave?

Hurria said...

"With all due respect"

Which always really means "with little or no respect".

"what do you think can be done to help end this deadly situation in Iraq?"

The invaders/occupiers could stop killing people and destroying things. That would make the situation in Iraq a lot less deadly right away.

"How to stop the insurgency?"

You are focusing on the wrong thing. The root cause of the instability and violence in Iraq is not the so-called "insurgency" (an inaccurate name chosen for P.R. purposes). The root cause of the instability and violence in Iraq, and indeed the perpetrators of the majority of it, is the U.S. occupation forces.

"Should the Americans just leave?"

Yes.

Anonymous said...

Here's an account of the "lesson" learned by one Iraqi family: How Can the US Ever Win, When Iraqi Children Die like This? by Robert Fisk of The Independent (UK).

Taff

none said...

Hurria,

I can safely bet that you are not a Kurd.

And I should point out that I am a naturalized American, having lived the first part of my life under a communist dictatorship in Romania. Ceausescu and Saddam were good friends and visited often. Dismiss me if you wish, but your situation is not that unique or unimaginable. I know the cowardice that people live with under a brutal dictatorship, so forgive me if I take your huffing and puffing at the dictatorship dismantlers with a grain of salt.

Let's agree that Zach has mixed feelings. He despises the horrible aspects of war and is seeking more justification from political leaders as to why it was such a necessity, but on the other hand he views the military as a positive part of his life, as hundreds of millions of people across the earth do. Mixed feelings, OK, humans have them sometimes.

And I can assure you that your civilization will hop over this hurdle as well as it has over hundreds of other wars, invasions and problems. If anything, this war has created a lot of worldwide sympathy and interest in your culture which didn't exist before.

"The invaders...can stop killing people and destroying things" - I don't know, maybe you are still getting your news from Saeed al-Sahaf, the minister of misinformation, but it seems to me that bombs go off killing civilians daily there and they are not planted by Americans, but by the people the Americans are trying to kill. If Zach manages to stop one of these guys from planting a bomb in a cafe, he's a hero to the whole human race, mixed feelings and all.

You seem rather fervent about Americans "just leaving". Is that really going to make things take a turn for the better? I truly doubt that you can possibly live in Iraq and claim that, since the next natural thing that will happen if they leave is another, bloodier power struggle between religious and ethnic extremists, followed by a massive crackdown on all dissent. Unless you personally have some stock in one of these powerful groups seeking to regain power, your statements don't make any logical sense to me. By the way, what was your and your family's position in the Saddam power hierarchy before the war? I only ask because if a similar American invasion had happened in communist Romania, the people who would have most vociferously cried foul would have naturally been the old power guard.

Hurria said...

"I can safely bet that you are not a Kurd."

As soon as someone pulls out the sect/ethnicity thing I stop reading.

And no, you cannot safely bet any such thing.

none said...

I think I can and I think you are out of words suddenly when pressed to justify many of your points. I'm not saying be happy about a foreign army in your city, but just take a broader view of what is going on and realize that there is opportunity, and some positive changes have already happened (as for the Kurds, or for people imprisoned by Saddam or for those who lived in fear of him and his forces - can you honestly say that life would have been better in Iraq if Udey Hussein would have succeeded to his daddy's throne?).

Joe in St Paul said...

Hurria, I apologize, I did not mean no respect by the comment "with all due respect". In sincerity only.

Would you have rather had the US not invaded at all? Perhaps the Iraqi people would have been better off with Saddam posing a world wide threat?

Joe

Hurria said...

Renata, you can make any kind of silly assumptions you want about me, of course. You know nothing at all about me or about my background, and clearly you have a lot to learn about Kurds if you think you can determine a Kurd from a non-Kurd based on the information they convey, or the views and opinions they express.

And no, I am by no means out of words. It is just that I immediately lose interest as soon as someone finds a need to label me one thing or the other or not one thing or the other. I have no idea what you wrote after the remark about my ethnicity since as is my habit, I stopped reading right there.

Trevor said...

Hurria,

Easy for you to say. What are you doing to make anything better? I suppose you would prefer a fundamentalist Muslim theocracy or perhaps having Saddam back on his throne?

Lay out your solution for us that pie in the sky fantasy solution where we all sing and dance together late into the night and no one dies anymore...

Hurria said...

"Hurria, I apologize, I did not mean no respect by the comment "with all due respect". In sincerity only."

Apology accepted.

"Would you have rather had the US not invaded at all?"

Absolutely and unequivocally yes.

Unlike many, but certainly not all, of my family, friends, and colleagues, I was from the beginning 100% adamantly opposed to the invasion and occupation, because I knew very well the real purpose of it, could foresee what would happen, and knew that there would never be a good outcome for Iraq and Iraqis. A handful of my family, friends and colleagues were in favour of it, the rest were ambivalent. My opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq has only grown stronger as I have seen the nature and magnitude of the results. The overwhelming majority of my family, friends, and colleagues realize that the invasion and occupation has done far more harm than good. The rest are at best ambivalent.

"Perhaps the Iraqi people would have been better off with Saddam posing a world wide threat?"

I am not sure why you are attempting to relate the welfare of the Iraqi people with Saddam posing a worldwide threat. The two really have nothing to do with each other.

In any case, Saddam not only did not pose a worldwide threat, he did not pose any kind of a threat to anyone at all outside Iraq's borders, and he wasn't much of a threat even inside Iraq. In fact, Iraq's neighbors uniformly declared that they did not consider him a threat. As we know very clearly now, he did not have the means or the intention to attack anyone, and had not for around a decade.

By all objective and nearly all subjective measures and in the majority of areas of life the Iraqi people are a great deal worse off now than they were before the invasion, and the country will likely not recover for decades if not longer than that.

Hurria said...

"Easy for you to say.

Care to give a hint what you are referring to here?

"What are you doing to make anything better?"

You know, you war supporters are most amusing. You bomb a country to rubble, kill tens of thousands of its people. The rest you imprison, deprive of the basic necessities of life, and their most fundamentamental human rights. Then you put the burden on the people of the country to "make things better".

"I suppose you would prefer a fundamentalist Muslim theocracy..."

Ummmm - Maybe you should read a newspaper now and then. It seems you haven't noticed that the power in the current so-called government is held overwhelmingly by fundamentalist Muslims who want to turn Iraq into a fundamentalist Muslim theocracy.

" or perhaps having Saddam back on his throne?"

Saddam was a "president", not a king. He sat on chairs, not thrones. Given that quite objectively the majority of Iraqis were much better off during Saddam's time than they are now, one can reasonably conclude that he would be preferable to your bombs, and tanks, and "raids" and sweeps, and all the other massive chaos, death, destruction and misery that you have brought with you.

"Lay out your solution for us"

The solution is for you to get the hell out of Iraq lock, stock, barrel, permanent military bases, mega-embassy, contractors, imported puppet wannabes and all. Leave Iraq for Iraqis to sort out the mess you have created. But leave your checkbook at the door because you have a lot of reparations to pay for what you have damaged and destroyed.

none said...

I correct what I said, you don't get your news from Saeed al-Sahaf, the minister of misinformation, you are that guy. How's the moustache treating you?

none said...

oops, he never had one; maybe he grew one now...did you?

Hurria said...

Renata,

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Anonymous said...

How many more have to die for a lie???? Who wants to be the last to die for a lie??? Any takers??? We need to get out and get out NOW.

-roamer in mich

none said...

nighty night, sweet bard of propaganda

Kristen said...

I like you Renata. You make me smile! Keep on pushing her until she answers your questions. ;)

Hurria said...

Renata,

CC: Kate

Keep things non-personal, and I will be happy to read and answer your questions. Keep up the personal sniping and I will not be able to answer your questions because I will continue to stop reading as soon as you start with the ad hominem.

Patrick Jennings said...

Zach,

You rock me.

Stay true; stay safe.

p.

Mike Crichton said...

Hurria: Saddam DID have plenty of palaces, though. Many of which had big, impressive chairs in them that could easily be mistaken for thrones. I'm just sayin'. :-)

Hurria said...

Mike,

Okay, point taken.

J. Cole said...

I have been reading this blog for some time, but this is the first time I have commented. As an American reading this blog from the comfort of my living room, the first few times I read Hurria's posts, I immediately felt defensive. I started anticipating that I would automatically dislike what she wrote before she even posted.

Then I began thinking about how I would feel if I were in her shoes. I think I would probably feel much as she does. I suspect my reaction would probably be much less civil than going on an Internet blog started by a solider of the invading army and trying to convince people of my opinion.

Whether you agree with Hurria or not, her views and insights are genuine, valuable, and while they are probably very common in Iraq, they are unique to most American readers. I think we are lucky to have her here.

Hurria, thank you for taking the time to try and educate some of us. I apolgize for the actions of my government, and for the ignorance and greed that allowed this war to begin at all. However, I would like to hear your suggestions for possible solutions to the current state of affairs.

Kind regards,

J. Cole
Dallas Texas

Anonymous said...

In terms of solution (from my perspective here in the U.S.)
- Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice should acknowledge that the U.S. government initated this war based upon false premises (i.e. lies). There were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no tactical links between Saddam and Al-Qaida. (If anything, the links between the U.S. governmenta and Al-Qaida were far stronger; Reagan was a staunch supporter of Bin-Laden and he pressured King Fahd to finance Al-Qaida. The U.S. should also apologize for its past support of Saddam Hussein.)
- BushCo and Congress should pass a bill that makes clear no permanent bases will be maintained in Iraq (of course construction is right now already underway) and that all troops will withdraw in several stages -- beginning immediately with troops withdrawing to the major bases established outside of cities. A date certain should be set for all withdrawal of foreign troops including the 25,000 or so mercenaries. (Even older Iraqi polls show strong support for U.S. withdrawal. The percentages continue to rise. January 2005: 82 percent of Sunni Arabs and 69 percent of Shiites favor US withdrawal either immediately or after an elected government is in place. (Zogby - http://www.comw.org/pda/0501br17append.html)
- Violations of the Geneva Conventions (Falluja destruction, Abu-Graib, killing of over 9,000 civilians since Bush declared victory - the actual count may be far higher) are acknowledged. The U.S. government issues formal apologies to Iraqis.
- Reparation $ (perhaps the equivalent of what the U.S. would have spent on the military for the next two years (were talking 100 or 200 billion dollars) will be paid. (This should be administered by a third party -- not the U.S.)
- That's it. The very presence of the U.S. fuels armed resistance. Withdrawal will mean an end to much of the violence. The U.S. has fostered sectarian enmity and the threat of identity politics. Withdrawal may reduce (rather than increase) the threat of civil war.

Also, folks should keep in mind the enormous death toll of this war (based upon lies).

Hurria and other Iraqis who may be reading. There is no way as an individual I can adequately apologize for the criminal actions of my government, but please know that I will continue to protest this occupation and speak out against the warlike, imperial, and lethal policies of the U.S. government.

Sept. 24 is the date of a mass protest of the war to be held in Washington D.C. and (I believe) a call to impeach Bush. People might want to mark this in their calendars and join the protest. I plan on being there.

- Stephan

Hurria said...

Dear j. cole,

Thank you for your kind words and the thoughts that generated them. While I have little sympathy for Zach and the other troops who are occupying Iraq, I do not wish them any ill will as individuals. I only wish to see them gone, preferably alive and in one piece. I wish them to return to their families and lives, that is all.

As for possible solutions, I agree with much, though not all, of the items Stephan has listed, and I will try to post something in that regard today.

Daedalus said...

Here is what Texans and the American right think of the memory of dead soldiers: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thenewswire/archive/2005/08/pickup-truck-runs-over-cr_5733.html

Zach HAS risked a lot to try to make people understand what is happening there. One thing you have to understand is that most soldiers don't join the Army because they want to go to war. In addition to wanting to DEFEND your country, there are so many incentives for joining- getting college paid for is just one of many. I joined to pay back my student loans, and I joined at a time when Clinton was President and the thought of occupying foreign countries was far from my mind, indeed, it seemed like the whole world had grown tired of war and that peace was possible. It was naive idealism, I know, but I was fresh out of college and not sure what I wanted to do with my life. Now I have learned that I was wrong and that there are some people who actually like war because they profit from it or they have no moral conscience. I am so glad that I got out and I never had to fire a shot at anyone.

You are right, Hurria and Stephan, that it is time to come up with solutions. We can all sit in front of our computers in all parts of the globe and bicker, but more Iraqis and Americans will die in the meantime. My organization is trying to help Iraqis rebuild the private sector in the country, but our resources are limited. Not that there isn't money earmarked for Iraq, it's just that most of it goes to Bush-friendly corporations. So, on my side, I can take a stand against this practice and work with Congress to try to put more oversight into spending. I can also help my organization to raise more money to send to nascent Iraqi private sector organizations for training programs and computer equipment. I'm trying, really, I am. I tried by working on campaigns to get Bush out, but I failed, we all failed. However, I can still do something, and I am. Zach is doing something, too, just by getting his voice out there, and though Hurria, you don't distinguish between soldiers like Zach and others who use terms like Hajji or whatever the derogatory term is and who want to destroy some "targets", there is a huge difference. Morally conscious soldiers give us confidence that our troops are good people who are in a really bad situation and hope that someday all will heal.

I know no number of words will ever be able to fix things, but words make up dialogue, and dialogue makes up negotiations, and negotiations make up ceasefires, and ceasefires make up ends of wars.

Here's to the idea of peace.

Hurria said...

J. Cole,

cc: Stephan

As I have said I agree with much of what Stephan wrote regarding the solution to the situation in Iraq. Here are the steps I think are necessary:

1. Foreign occupation forces - including all the so -called "contractors" - pack up and get out of the country. This should begin immediately and finish as few weeks as possible, not some time next year or the year after that. Immediate withdrawal to bases is okay as a preliminary step. Removing all American military personnel is a far more effective way to ensure that there will be no permanent or even long-term American military presence.

2. Dismantle the American mega-embassy (i.e. command and control center) and send all personnel home, including the so-called "ambassador". That includes all the so-called "advisors" who have been the ones actually running the government ministries and serving other official functions. There should be no further official American presence in the country (that is a far more effective way to ensure that there will be no permanent military bases, etc.). Once Iraqis have sorted things out whatever government emerges can decide what kind of relations, if any, they want to have with the U.S.

3. Terminate all "reconstruction" and other contracts issued by the American occupiers and their agents. Iraqis will decide from now on what needs to be done, who will do it and how much and in what manner they will be paid.

4. Get out the checkbook and be prepared to pay lots of big money in reparations for a very long time.

5. Acknowledgements, admissions, apologies, etc., would be great. Seeing the criminals prosecuted who conceived and executed this crime against humanity would be perfect. Let George Bush et. al sit next to Saddam Hussein et. al in the defendant's chairs.

Hurria said...

In response to some of Stephan's specific points:

"The U.S. should also apologize for its past support of Saddam Hussein."

Many of us believe firmly that without that support we could have gotten rid of him and his nasty regime a lot sooner.

"killing of over 9,000 civilians since Bush declared victory - the actual count may be far higher"

Believe me, it is, and it will continue to rise for years due to the lack of proper nutrition, sanitation, clean water, and adequate medical care.

"The very presence of the U.S. fuels armed resistance. Withdrawal will mean an end to much of the violence. The U.S. has fostered sectarian enmity and the threat of identity politics. Withdrawal may reduce (rather than increase) the threat of civil war."

Indeed! And this is where the "we can't leave, there will be a blood bath" argument fails utterly. First, what the hell to they mean "there WILL be a bloodbath"?! What on earth do they think has been going on in Iraq since March 19, 2003 - a picnic?!

You pointed out two very important things which I have repeated ad nauseum, mostly to deaf ears I think.

First, you pointed out that the presence of the occupation fuels the armed resistance, and that withdrawal would in itself reduce the violence. I would add that the majority and the greatest magnitude of violence and the greatest provocations continue to be committed by occupation forces, mainly the U.S. forces, and by their Iraqi proxy forces and "commando units" acting under their command. The withdrawal of occupation forces will result in the complete cessation of the violence they are committing. Second the overwhelming majority of the violence committed by so-called "insurgents" consists of attacks against occupation. Overall the majority of attacks are against occupation forces, and the Iraqi troops the Americans are using as their proxies. Once the occupation is withdrawn the great majority of that violence will cease.

The second thing you pointed out is the fact that the U.S. has fostered sectarian enmity and the "threat" of identity politics. This is absolutely true, but I would say it has gone beyond the threat stage. Exactly what we have going on now with the "elections", and the "government" that resulted is nearly full blown identity politics. That has never been the case in Iraq, despite all the propaganda and ignorance-based pontificating to the contrary. The Ba`th party in particular has never been a party based on ethnicity or sect, and some of the most notoriously awful members of the party, including those who are responsible for some of the worst atrocities against Shi`as have themselves been Shi`as.

Whether the U.S. has fostered this sectarian enmity and identity politics out of ignorance and ineptitude (as I believe), or by design (as many others believe) is a matter of conjecture, but one thing is certain, and that is that it has backfired badly on them, and taken Iraqi people down a very sad and terrible road that we never even thought existed.

The threat of an all-out civil war in Iraq was never very high to begin with, but I and many others believe that it will be less and not greater with American fingers out of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Daedalus said...
"I joined at a time when Clinton was President and the thought of occupying foreign countries was far from my mind, indeed, it seemed like the whole world had grown tired of war and that peace was possible."
Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Mogadishu, These never crossed your mind?
It is always the same no matter who is in office. Democrats trying to use the Military as Goodwill Humanitarian workers, Or Republicans trying to force everyone to behave.
And nothing will change because of anything we say here. It will be over when its over.

frankinzaz said...

hurria, please could you comment on these emotional americans? thank you.

f

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/michael-smerconish/the-consoling-president_5757.html

Hurria said...

frankinzaz no, I will not comment, but thanks for asking.

Kristen said...

Tara, I know you're reading this. You need to comment. I know you feel like its not your place, but it is. I want to say all the stuff I know you're thinking, but I'd be out of line saying it(about you know who *wink*). I'll call ya and we'll discuss it, k. Cuz I'm sure you're just as pissed off, if not more so, as I am about some of this stuff.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about this:

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewSpecialReports.asp?Page=\SpecialReports\archive\200508\SPE20050817a.html

Anyone???

Anonymous said...

UN Paying for Palestinian Propaganda?

(CNSNews.com) - A Republican lawmaker is troubled by a New York Times report saying that Palestinian militants in Gaza are using U.N. funds to create banners emblazoned with anti-Israel propaganda. The New York Times reported on Aug. 15 that the Fatah (the Palestinian National Liberation Movement founded by Yasser Arafat) hung banners in Gaza City reading, "Gaza Today, the West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow." A disclaimer at the bottom of the banner said it had been paid for by the United Nations Development Program. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) called the situation unacceptable because it looks like the U.N. is funding groups dedicated to the destruction of Israel -- "demonstrating, once again, its long-time anti-Israel bias," he said. "Either the U.N. has been derelict in its oversight of how aid funds are used and to whom they flow, or it is fair to assume U.N. complicity with a radical anti-Israel group." Cantor said the American people will not stand for their taxpayer dollars being used to support terrorists: "They deserve to know how the U.N. allowed such funds to be used for such scurrilous purposes."

Anonymous said...

Thank you Hurria,

Your points extend and deepen my awareness of the situation. Particularly key is withdrawal in order to stop the violent acts by American and other occupation forces. As you remind us, it is not only the American presence that provokes resistance, but American soldiers, mercenaries, and other occupation forces who themselves have killed and injured many many Iraqi civilians. Some of these acts appear to be done by soldiers who are out of their depth and react blindly - the recent strafing of Iraqi workers is perhaps a case in point. Other acts such as the destruction of Falluja are intentional, and to my view, clearly criminal -not just by the soldiers involved - but on the part of an occupying power and its leadership (including Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and others).

Cindy Sheehan has begun to raise American consciousness about the illegal, futile, and deadly nature of this war and occupation. I think a critical part of the dialogue (such as it is here in the states) is in getting people to understand that withdrawal means saving lives (both Iraqi and American) and allows for the possibility of an Iraqi government that does represent Iraqis (as opposed to being beholden to, supported by, and serving American oil, economic, and military interests).

- Stephan

Anonymous said...

Anonyloser: "Christian News" is generally considered to be somewhere between Faux News and Geraldo, in terms of legitimacy. Try posting a link to a _real_ news provider.

-Mike Crichton

Anonymous said...

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewSpecialReports.asp?Page=\SpecialReports\archive\200508\SPE20050817a.html

this sounds very much like any normal run of the mill boy scout jamboree, in almost any country in the world.

start em young, keep em hungry, sleep deprived, away from family. when they're older pump 'em full of vacinations "necessary for deployment", really keep em sleep deprived. and feed em bad food. teach them how to "survive" as they learn to kill.

they've watched how many thousands of hours of tv and movies where death is red puffs on the chest and nothing more. zap, next show.

tell em to shoot. you gots you an instant army. the twin tours is a theatre farce played out on the american nascar public. and they really bought it.

americans can say whatever they want about abu grahib and fallujah and elsewhere but the decisions come right from the top. of the pentagon, of the white house, of the congress and government. and they've been working for years to get it as part of their culture. and it started along time ago. i was active duty us army in 83, fort jackson. they had us singing the c-130 moving down the strip song, where we be gonna be killin raghaids, sand niggers, A-raabs. (usa niggers trainging to kill sand niggers. rich, no?) it was 1983. gooks were before. anyone who was in us military will tell you it was like that. yes, there were good times and comaraderie and teamwork, but it was about killling. ragheads.

when daddy butch declared the national sanctity of (white american) human life day in spring 1991, i filed CO, so sargeant i know a bit about CO. in the meantime it took 'em 6 months, almost to the day, to get the numbskull american public to go to the daddy butch war. the cognitive dissonance was too much for me. and i worked as a cog for the evil machine in a hospital. imagine what those poor suckers now are livin through in iraq. it is pathetic behavior from a civilization who considers itself (or once considered itself) the model of the planet.

hurria, i had an idea. what IF? 1- iraq and iran and the saudi's guarantee the gas guzzlers in usa they'll have every last drop of petroleum in their soil till its gone, agree on the price and paymet terms etc. with guarnatees and safeguards for everyone. and 2- iraqis set the price for reparations.

first condition is1 they take they're weapons and DU garbage back home to wyoming ar wherever they're dumping it. and 2 usa promises the world community it wont mysteriouly sink or lose teh shipment en route to a surprise "terrorist attack" while its enroute.

in turn usa has to promise to keep their big dang warfare noses out of asia and europe. stay home, pick on the amer-indians again if they need an outlet for the military hormones. use limited nuclear weapons on the black hills, or detroit. they'll save on the shipment of supplies and troops and long tours away from home. they can keep their stuff at home and blow up the san fernando valley. or cleveland. then reconstruct those places. they leave iraq for the iraqis.

could you as an iraqi live with that?

but what can one expect from a country with songs like BUBBA SHOT THE JUKEBOX, "said it was justifiable homicide".

peace and safety to you, hurria and zach and snag and kristin and all the other wingnut anonymous people like me.

Anonymous said...

Baghdad body count (by Robert Fisk of the UK "Independent")

Hurria - you probably know this already.

Everybody else - it might help you to see what is going on in Iraq right now.

Peace.

taff

none said...

Good article in the Independent. I still don't see how withdrawing troops tomorrow would be a good idea. If "death squads" are roaming the city now, what will happen when the US soldiers leave? Hurria, you have a naive trust in the ability of Iraqis to determine their own fate. Unfortunately, there's not much discussion going on when your hands are tied, you are tortured and subsequently shot in the head. I would think it's the Americans' duty, since they got in there, to do away with these "death squads" first, then leave. Leave behind a functioning country, either democratic, or on its way to democracy. I don't agree with America's right to go in there originally, but now that the deed is done, certain obligations are incurred, chiefly, to clean out the brutal, violent elements that threaten the population. And regarding the checkbook, I would take that down a notch; Iraq does not live in a vacuum bubble. There's a lot of damage it did to Iran, Kuwait and to Kurds. If we start talking checkbooks, there's a few checks Iraq itself needs to write. Best leave that alone.

Albatroz said...

I know that an increasing number of Americans are against this war. But why are there so few of them on the streets protesting? Is it because, contrarily to what happened during the Vietnam war, there is no draft? Some people are pressing Hurria to tell us what she is doing for Iraq, but why don't they ask Americans what they are doing to get the US forces out of Iraq? Don't you think that a few million Americans demonstrating against the war could contribute to a quicker end to the fighting?

The Seriously Ill said...

Zack,
Another blogger friend of mine led me to your site. I was at first put back when I read "You get to shoot and kill people too." Actually, I was horrified, then I read the entire post and I understood the horror that you experience when you "must shoot and kill people."

I am lucky that in my 16 years in the service, I only experienced "low intensity warfare" in the Amazon jungle of Colombia. It was a cakewalk compared to what I am sure you are experiencing. But I still have nightmares of the terror of gunshots in the night and attempted breaches of the perimeter. We only had one casualty and that was a fragging incident between a Colombian conscript and his officer. As I said, it was a cake-walk.

I am so impressed by your thoughtfulness and insight. It is thinking men like you who make me proud to be a veteran. Yes I support all the troops. I don't have to support a war that will kill thousands more to suppport the troops.

If you haven't yet, you should get a copy of
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
by LTC Dave Grossman, a retired Army psychologist. I wrote a paper on the ethics of killing in law school and used this book as the basis of my paper.

Once again, thank you for all you do.

Daniel said...

Hurria,

I wish that more voices like your own could be heard all over the world. Opinion polls conducted in Iraq seem scant representation of what people truly believe, and I think they have been twisted into propaganda.

Disenchantment-turned-bitter resentment for American-led occupation held by the Iraqi people is a subtle and firm reminder to the world that The United States should be held more accountable for her actions.

On the unrelated issue of the alleged hypocrisy of being a soldier in Iraq, I must say I am a little less inclined to share your perspective.

While it is our duty to uphold the constitution, we are intrinsicly bound to the majority of The American People. That our opinions (even those gleaned from the harsh reality of war) will often vary greatly from that of those who have control of our destiny, we continue to serve out of honor to our committment. I am not a hypocrite if I put my own honor above that of my country's.

I value and respect all of your opinions (even those with which I don't agree), and I hope that you continue to eloquently defend your own country's honor.

Hurria said...

"I still don't see how withdrawing troops tomorrow would be a good idea."

To reiterate:

1. Complete cessation of the greatest amount and magnitude of violence, destruction, and killing - that caused by the occupation forces.

2. Cessation of the violence caused by resistance attacks against the occcupation troops, their Iraqi proxies, and other elements of the occupation.

3. Freeing Iraqi security forces from acting as proxies for the occupation forces will allow them to focus on providing security for Iraqi people. It will also result in an improvement of the level of commitment of the individuals who join the security forces. They will be protecting their fellow Iraqis, not acting as proxies and cannon fodder for an occupation most of them despise.

4. General tolerance for other forms of violence will decrease once the occupation can no longer be used as the justification.

"If "death squads" are roaming the city now, what will happen when the US soldiers leave?"

There were no death squads roaming the city before the U.S. soldiers blasted their way into the country, and the situation has gotten steadily worse during the time the U.S. soldiers have been in the country. Clearly U.S. soldiers are doing nothing to protect the Iraqi people from these "death squads", and doing much to create conditions in which they can thrive. In fact, the U.S. has a number of death squads of its own that it is recruiting, training, equipping, and paying - not to mention that the U.S. soldiers are themselves a kind of mega death squad. If the U.S. soldiers leave, the number of death squads roaming the cities and the country will be reduced, and the Iraqi security forces will be freed up to protect the security of Iraqi people instead of serving at the will and command of the occupation.

"Hurria, you have a naive trust in the ability of Iraqis to determine their own fate."

First, Renata, I cannot overlook the racism in that statement. Iraqi people are more that capable of determining their own fate if only they are allowed to do so.

Second, Renata, I of all people am not naive about Iraqis and their abilities. I continue to be amazed at how eager you are who are completely ignorant about Iraq, its realities, its history, its people, its languages, its cultures, or its political background to call ME naive about anything to do with Iraq. You don't even have any earthly idea what is going on there right now.

And of course, the Americans are much more qualified and able to determine the Iraqis' fate than Iraqis are. That is obvious from the great success of their attempts over the last 28 months .

"Unfortunately, there's not much discussion going on when your hands are tied, you are tortured and subsequently shot in the head."

That makes no bloody earthly sense at all in terms of anything remotely connected to reality or rationality, and I can't even begin to approach it.

"I would think it's the Americans' duty, since they got in there, to do away with these "death squads" first, then leave."

It is the Americans' duty to get the hell out before they do any more harm. Every day you have been in Iraq you have made things worse and worse and worse and worse, increased the chaos and lawlessness, killed more people, destroyed more of the country, and generally made the mess bigger and messier. Every day you stay you will continue to make them worse.

"And regarding the checkbook, I would take that down a notch; Iraq does not live in a vacuum bubble. There's a lot of damage it did to Iran, Kuwait and to Kurds. If we start talking checkbooks, there's a few checks Iraq itself needs to write."

1. You seem to be unaware that Iraq has been paying reparations for years, at a terrible cost to the Iraqi people.

2. The fact that Iraq owes reparations for the damage it has caused in its wars of aggreesion in no way absolves the U.S. of responsibility for paying reparations for its war of aggression against Iraq.

3. "The Kurds" to whom you refer are not a foreign country, they are Iraqis, and will remain so at least for the forseeable future.

Anonymous said...

"Hurria said...

There were no death squads roaming the city before the U.S. soldiers blasted their way into the country"

Iraqs Death Squad didn't have to roamed the streets, they owned them!

Anonymous said...

Mike Cry-A-Thon...

Why are you so ignorant?....
Maybe its because you don't actualy READ!

Its the "Cybercast News Service"

Which you would have known if you would have READ and not ASSumed!

Anonymous said...

Excellent writing style. As an awakening writer and perhaps future blogger, I am very impressed. Regardless of whether someone agrees with your politics, it would be very hard to question your ability to write (putting thoughts on "paper" for all to see).

My prayers go out to you. I never thought we should be over there in the first place, but that was not a popular opinion when King George II made his case for invasion. Now suddenly other Americans have decided it was a mistake too. The American people seem to me like sheep, they follow whoever bleats the loudest (few still think for themselves), and when the tough gets going they get to whining.

Mike Crichton said...

Anonyloser: You're not very bright, so I'll forgive you for misunderstanding. I was referring to the fact that that website has a very clear and obvious "Conservative Christian" bias.

Hurria: The Kurds _want_ their own country, though, and many of them do not consider themselves to be Iraqis at all.

Hurria said...

"The Kurds _want_ their own country, though, and many of them do not consider themselves to be Iraqis at all."

Yes, I know that is the "received version", particularly in the U.S. It is, however, an extreme oversimplification, to put it mildly, and not really an accurate picture of Kurdish sentiment.

There really is not time or space to go into the necessary detailed analysis here, but it is not a fact that "The Kurds" want their own country. It is a fact that there has been for decades a strong and often extremely violent (terrorist is the correct word for many of their activities) movement that insists that Kurds must have their own country. However, that wish is by no means universal, nor is the matter viewed by Kurds in the kinds of simple terms in which Americans tend to think of it. Oh - and while it is true that many Kurds, particularly in the younger generation, have been conditioned not to think of themselves as Iraqi, and have foolishly been taught only Kurdish language, which further isolates them, most Iraqi Kurds are very fiercely proud to be both Iraqi and Kurd and want to remain so.

In addition, Kurdistan is hardly the bastion of democracy it has been sold as. It is, in fact, a brutal and extremely corrupt "mafiocracy" with the two Kurdish "leaders" and their parties taking the part of competing mafia gangs. As one of my very close friends commented the other day, there are two kinds of people in Kurdistan, those who are willing to sell their souls to benefit from the two parties, and those who are not.

Tom said...

Having started reading milblogs within the last month I find this one is in the minority. Having read many blogs from people claiming to be from Iraq I find
hurria's opions to be a minority. Guess it's true birds of a feather stick togather.

Have fun Bush bashing. The MSM will love you for it.

Vince said...

Right On The Mark, Tom!

Stick around and pluck a few feathers.

J. Cole said...

Hi Tom, What other blogs would those be? From what I have read of Iraqi views, Hurria is firmly in the majority. I have also found that the majority of US soldiers who have served in Iraq have views similar to Sgt. Zach's.

Why is it that whenever anyone questions Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld, suddenly it's "Bush Bashing"? Sometimes it seems if Bush said the sky was green, there is a small but very vocal cadre of Bush supporters who would go around denouncing anyone who had the gall to say it was still blue...

As surely as the sky is blue, this war was a terrible mistake.

If Hitler had held back from invading Russia in 1941, he probably could have held onto France, and possibly even defeated England. Instead, the Germans opened up a two-front war that exhausted all of their military resources within 4 years and they were defeated.

The US is now fighting in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and we can't afford it. The Iraq invasion was a mistake.

I support the troops, not the Carlisle Group, Haliburton, or Exxon/Mobil. The trouble is, the people running those companies seem to think that what is good for them is good for America. They have all done very well for themselves during the past four years. Unfortunately, the same is not true of all Americans. Just ask Cindy Sheehan.

Please direct me to some other Iraqi bloggers whose opinions differ significantly from Hurria's.

04-04-04 said...

"Please direct me to some other Iraqi bloggers whose opinions differ significantly from Hurria's."

I have read various Iraqi blogs since I discovered Salaam Pax at the beginning of the war. I notice that the most optimistic turned sour within six months to a year of the invasions. See, for example, Salaam's friend "G" and Raed Jarrar.

Zeyad, who used to write "Healing Iraq", gave up blogging after Shi-ite militia began taking control of the area around Basra. See his last post, http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/.

Incidentally, my son and daughter-in-law are Soldiers. My son joined to protect the country, to help out, after 9/11. He's from New York and admires the FDNY. His comment: the Army would be a pretty good place if we weren't trying to occupy a foreign country.

What's a way out? I don't have any grand strategy, but, somehow, Cindy Sheehan and Bill Mitchell, and the rest of Gold Star Families for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out, all the rest camped in Crawford, seem to have asked the question that President Bush cannot answer: why? Why the occupation / invasion? Not to stop poison gas or nuclear weapons...Saddam didn't have any left. And anyone knew that who took time to think about it. (Mustard gas decays, and you don't build the A-bomb in your garage overnight). The neo-conservatives expected to set off a chain reaction of benevolent democratic revolutions, from Iraq to Iran to Syria, to ...well, there it gets murky, unless theyu hoped to overthrow the Saudi Royal family. Last week, administration officials told the Washington Post that they have given up on all that.

So, Cindy Sheehan's question remains. And Bush has no answer.

Anonymous said...

You know the answer, you just don't like it. Not that anyone likes war, but we started this and now we must see it through. To what end? Well that is the $64 question, as many have, and will continue to point out. This constant criticism does not help any. Imagine yourself taking a road trip with the kids, and they are constantly asking, "are we there yet?" now consider that you may not be sure of were you are going, or may even be lost. Do you still think that the constant nagging will help any? If so you can take my kids along on your next road trip.

But then we are all adults here, and you might say that you should know where you are going and plan accordingly. But then again how many of us can say that we have never gotten lost? We all know that the situation is different in Iraq and the stakes are much higher. Of course we should ask questions, but do we really want to constantly nag? Some will say yes, because it benefits them in the next election. Is it really good for America though? Ask some VietNam Vets what they think of leaving things unfinished, or one of the survivors of pol pot's "Re-Education" camps.

Or should we just stop the car and walk? The answers Are forthcoming. Whether we stop & ask for directions or not, we usually make it to our destination.

Hurria said...

"we started this and now we must see it through."

On the contrary, as soon as you realize you are digging yourself into a hole, step one is to stop digging, and step two is to get the hell out of the hole. You guys seem to think that if you keep digging somehow you'll find yourself out of the hole by magic. You won't.

The only way to stop making things worse is to stop what you are doing and get out. Completely. Now.

Ted said...

Hurria,

The Messopotamian who doesn't believe your rhetoric of Doom & Gloom. or your claims that we should be getting out now.

Hammorabi knows there is in fact a flow of insurgents into Iraq. Maybe you want us to get out to make room for them?

Hurria said...

Ted, you are going to have to do a whole lot better than two well-known allegedly Iraqi bloggers who are known to faithfully parrot Bush administration propaganda, and MEMRI.

MEMRI, for those who are not acquainted with it is a ultra-right wing virulently anti-Arab Zionist organization that specializes in doing whatever they can to demonize Arabs. They search frantically every day in the Arabic language media for anything the can translate - or mistranslate - to make all Arabs look like brutal, murderous madmen with a special lust for Christian - and especially Jewish - blood. While some of their translations and interpretations are reasonably accurate, they frequently present malicious translations (I trust Zach will understand that term), and are sometimes not accurate at all.

Ted Turner said...

Are you saying the man featured in the video is truly not a terrorist?

Wow, Imagine that another right wing organization. If you read the testimonial quotes form users like:

- January 2, 2004, Max Boot, The Weekly Standard & Los Angeles Times, "With Friends Like These…"
- January 28, 2004, Brit Hume, FOX News Channel
- February 26, 2004, Josef Joffe, Chief Editor of Die Zeit (Germany)
- March 11, 2004, Natan Sharansky, Israel's Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, Minister without Portfolio
- March 16, 2004, Herbert I. London, President of the Hudson Institute
- March 18, 2004, Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post Pulitzer Prize Columnist
- March 24, 2004, Claudia Winkler, The Weekly Standard
- April 14, 2004, R. James Woolsey, Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1993-1995)
- April 15, 2004, Chris Demuth, President American Enterprise Institute
- April 17, 2004, Robert Fulford, National Post (Canada)
- April 19, 2004, Louise Ellman, British MP
- April 22, 2004, Martin Peretz, Owner and Editor-in-Chief of the NewRepublic
- April 25, 2004, Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe
- June 9, 2004, Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy
- Ambassador Krister Kumlin, The General Secretary of the Stockholm Forum, The Office of the Swedish Prime Minister

Even if they were all right wingers, you might think they would have caught on to bad translations eventually.

Are there any other Arab speakers here that would like to translate, Perhaps Kate can translate for us then? Why not verify for us the content?

Rubbish Indeed!

Hurria said...

The point is not that MEMRI is "right wing". The point is that it is a Zionist organization made up individuals whose Zionist position is to the right of Ariel Sharon, who are known for their virulently racist hatred of Arabs, and whose purpose is to convince the world that Arabs are evil incarnate.

Your list of "endorsers", which you undoubtedly got from MEMRI's website, includes mostly individuals who share the MEMRI folks' same ultra right wing Zionist position and virulent, unrelenting racist hatred of, and desire to demonize, Arabs. None of them would be likely to pick up on a bad translation from MEMRI since none of them knows any Arabic.

As for the "interview" with the alleged "terrorist", I will comment on that later as I have other things to do now.

Ted Turner said...

Hurria,

"Virulent, Unrelenting racist hatred of, and desire to demonize, Arabs."
Maybe now you know how the Jews feel!

Case Closed!

Hurria said...

Ted Turner,

I do not know how "the Jews" feel, and clearly neither do you. I know that Jews are human beings with all the strengths and weaknesses and good points and failings possessed by all human beings in the same proportion. I know that some Jews, like some Muslims, some Arabs, some Christians, some Hindus, some (fill in the blank) are hate filled, closed-minded fanatics. I also know that these Jews, as is the case in all human groups, make up the minority in their group. I know that some Jews, also a minority, are truly heroic human beings who are generous and open of heart and mind, and filled with compassion and understanding for their fellow human beings. And I know that that the overwhelming majority of Jews are, like the overwhelming majority of all human beings, somewhere in between the two extremes - ordinary people who are trying to get the most out of the lives they have, and who do not consume their lives with hatred.

Hurria said...

TT,

PS As to your "Case Closed", the allegations of a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden has been so thoroughly blown out of the water so many times that even Dick Cheney has stopped yapping about it. May I suggest that you refrain from further damaging what little is left of your credibility by following his lead?

Tyler said...

Hurria's comments,
"There is a word for someone who agonizes about having killed and destroyed and maimed and willingly keeps doing it. That word is hypocrite."

Shut the hell up hurria. Zack cant exactly stop what he is doing in Iraq and leave when he wants. You need to actually read all of his posts.

Ted Turner said...

Amen Tyler!

Hurria said...

There is no need for that kind of language, Tyler.

And yes, Zach can stop what he is doing if it violates his principles strongly enough. Others have done so, and he can too.

Tyler said...

Hurria,
Oh yes brilliant, it would really screw himself over and his family. Just like the others have done.
You just cant quit and walk away.
Its not that simple.

Hurria said...

"You just cant quit and walk away."

ummmm - yes, you can. People have done it and are doing it. They pay a price for it, but they believe that price is less than the price of prostituting themselves by participating in something they knew was wrong. And as an added bonus, they are guaranteed to return to their families alive and whole.

Anonymous said...

Hurria said...

" And as an added bonus, they are guaranteed to return to their families alive and whole."

Yeah, after a boner of a bonus in Leavenworth for 8-10 years.

Jake said...

I think Hurria is writing more on this blog than the actual blogger. Such dedication deserves a Blog of its own. Hurria...please...a blog of your own? Go for it. You have so much to say...and, it would seem, a lot of time.

Ted Turner said...

Jake,

She probably knows that no one will visit it.

Aaron said...

Hurria, What are you doing to improve your life in Iraq now compared to what you could have done under Saddam Hussein's regime?

You spoke earlier of having the right to post here. When did that start?

Finally, do you think Iraq is the first country to be ravaged by war (or subject to some other form of destruction) and rebuilt?

I agree with the other poster here. You should start your own blog.

Tyler said...

"ummmm - yes, you can. People have done it and are doing it. They pay a price for it..."

See your still acknowledging that you cant simply walk away. There is dire consequences.

jamal said...

Im sick of all these "story of a tired soldier" blogs.

If you dont like it you know what to do.

What di you think would happen when you join an army that likes to invade countries for unevidenced reasons.

Hurria said...

Tyler,

I have always acknowledge there is a price to pay for walking away, but dire consequences? The dire consequences are for those who do not walk away. Those consequences include lost limbs, lost minds, lost lives, and living the rest of your life with the knowledge that you have violated your own standards and principles of humanity. Compared to those consequences the consequences of walking away are mild.

Tyler said...

I would say either way you have to suffer dire consequences. You just have to pick which you can live with.

Albatroz said...

"Ask some VietNam Vets what they think of leaving things unfinished"

Last I heard Vietnam wasn't doing so badly. But the Vietnamese could only start building their country once the Americans were gone. BTW, what did Americans leave unfinished in Vietnam? The fact that some Vietnamese were still alive?...

Unfortunately, what I have seen in my 63 years of age (and I also lived in the US) is that Americans (I should say Anglo-Saxon peoples in general) tend to be pretty ruthless. Is it an accident that aggressive postures are presently taken mostly by Americans, Britons and Australians? The callous attitude to "colateral damage", the barbarous killing of an innocent Brazilian in London, the historical disposing off of indigenous peoples in the US and Australia, are all signs of brutality that lead to situations like those seen in Iraq. Predators should be put in cages. The only solution in Iraq is for Americans to leave as soon as possible. Preferably leaving unfinished whatever they are trying to do...

BTW, I do not hate Americans. I hate American policies, and I very much regret that Americans who share those feelings of mine do nothing to stop this madness.

Sgt. Salazar said...

SGT. Singley,

Can you tell me what an ARMY is for?

Snag said...

The Army is to protect this country from attack by enemy armies in order to defend the Constitution of the U.S.
It is and always was a mistake to use the Army as an extension of policy. Armies are not designed to engage in prolonged contact with harrasment forces, which is what occurs when the are used for implementation of policy. In this situation the inertia is lost and the action decision is given over to the enemy. RE: Vietnam (100 years of French and U.S. occupation and how did that end?), Soviet occupied Afghanistan, British occupied India, British occupied Ireland, etc..
A question to think about...During WWII how would the French have responded had we not let De Gaul lead the procession in the liberation of Paris and the U.S. forces had stayed to rid the country of the resistence and other communist/socialist sympathizers?
Wrong policy. Wrong strategy. Wrong war. Wrong forces. But I guess all that is obscured when one is hell bent on defending dogma rather than the mission.
I want to make clear that I do not have any particular affinity for Iraqis. If I feel sorry for their losses it is the same regret I feel for any loss of life. I have deep reservations regarding any culture who's foundation is based on the interpretation of the word of their god (that would include those that would have the U.S. as a religious fundamentalist state).
I also regret decades of policies that ignore the growing resentment from foreign cultures as we seek to maintain our standard of living. These cultures undoubtedly have no love lost for ours, but I suspect would have left us alone if we weren't engaged in ever increasing levels of business with them. I regret that our energy policies led us to engage with ancient societies that are not ready to engage in the more progressive thoughts of our culture.
I mean really...Do we really give a shit about any culture outside of ours? Why Iraq and not Darfur? Or Somalia? Or Tibet? Or Chechnya? Or Angola?
If we're going to pre-emptively strike in the name of humanitarianism and democracy, there are/were more urgent issues than Hussein.
If we're fighting a War on Terror, then would have done much better by taking the same amount of money squandered on Iraq and invested it in developing more effective Terrorism Counter-action teams like GSG9.
The only justification I can see regarding Iraq is oil. It's the only one that makes any sense from a strategic or tactical standpoint.
Any argument about what we're doing in Iraq is just B.S. The whole Iraqi liberation thing from conservatives is such crap when you consider how much they howl about taxes going to welfare for American citizens. How much is the right willing to sacrifice? Not much. Just a lot of blustery, blowhard, bullshit questioning my patriotism (I'm at least willing to fight for Liberty...all the right wants the a nice warm, fuzzy blankie of false "security") and maybe a couple of bucks at the Pat "Assasinate for Jesus" Robertson collection plate.
"Thou shalt not kill" my ass.
I'm sorry but I also think they confuse patriotism with nationalism. Someone questions my patriotism to my face and I'll jamb my fist down their throat and squeeze their colon. I don't like war or fighting and I'm a progressive (I like my fellow American, even though he can be a dipshit sometimes), but that doesn't mean I will let my honor be besmirched. The right operates much like bullies, they just need to be smacked hard and they'll go scurrying. They're only tough in numbers.
But I digress...
Again, the Army being well regulated and with a clearly defined objective is for fighting well regulated armies.

Hurria said...

"I have deep reservations regarding any culture who's foundation is based on the interpretation of the word of their god"

Oh, come on! Where did you get this particular piece of rubbish? What ignorant sod told you that is the basis for Iraqi culture?

And what do you mean "their god"? Surely at minimum you are aware that historically Iraqi society consists primarily of Muslims, Christians and Jews, all of whom have the identical god. There is no "their god" and "our god". It is all the same God. There is no god but God - that is the first commandment for all three of the Abrahamic religions.

Snag said...

That's what I mean...Muslims, Christians, and Jews. And many of the dogmatists in the east too. If it matters, I'm an agnost with a little bit of an affinity for Buddhism.
Apperently you missed it, but I pointed out the problem I have fundamentalists of both the East and the West. There's a lot of killing in the name of any of the Abrahamic religion's interpretation.
You interpreted it to mean that I was specifically referencing the Iraqi culture rather than an aspect of the Arabic/Persian world. I would recommend you stop being so damn defensive and look at the meaning of the whole argument. Anyone can read aspects of an argument out of context.
I have no love for Isrealis claim of divine providence, nor for european Christians claim, nor for Islamists.

"Rubbish" - ad hominym.
That's getting a little old for me.
You go in and attack the one little tid bit that you misinterpret and never get beyond the basic argument. Is your world so insular that you cannot discuss the deeper issues that have brought us all (to varying degrees) to this horrific tragedy visited upon humanity?
How about discussing some of the Iraqi culture? How about enlightening us about a people we don't understand well?
All I've seen is attack from you. You seem well educated. Why not teach us? Give us an insight to the daily life of an average Iraqi.
But what we get is the bellicose, one track rhetoric that seems quite similar to our own right wing absolutists. Two sides, same coin.
We do have more at issue than just our invasion and occupation of Iraq and the discussion encompasses more than what's happening in Baghdad.
So Hurria...as I consider you an equal and I give the same level of respect I would for any other person (American or not), I will tell you what I would tell anyone with your responses if I were in a bar bullshitting about life, politics, religion.
Go fuck yourself and get the hell off your high horse.
I want to see Zach safely home. I don't want anymore Iraqis or troops to die. I want you to be safe and have the society and political system you desire indipendent of outside influence, but from what I've read I really don't like you as a person.

Hurria said...

Snag,

While I accept your explanation, take a look at the context of your remark. Based on that it looks absolutely clear that you were talking about Iraqi culture in general, and not the "culture" of the religions fanatics on the fringe of society. I don't know how anyone could interpret it any other way:

"I want to make clear that I do not have any particular affinity for Iraqis. If I feel sorry for their losses it is the same regret I feel for any loss of life. I have deep reservations regarding any culture who's foundation is based on the interpretation of the word of their god..."

Before you climb all over someone else's case why not consider that the person who reads your words is not inside your head.

Hurria said...

"Rubbish" - ad hominym."

No, it is not ad hominem. If I referred to you as rubbish that is ad hominem. If I refer to a statement, claim, or argument as rubbish I am not attacking you, nor any I discounting the statement, claim, or argument due for reasons having to do with you, but I am attacking the statement, claim, or argument based on its content or logic. You appeared very, very clearly to be saying that Iraqi culture is based on their interpretation of the word of their god. That is rubbish. If you did not mean it that way, then it is your responsibility to make that clear.

Hurria said...

"nor any I"

Should by "nor am I".

Anonymous said...

" Should by "nor am I" "


Should BE "nor am I"

Rafael said...

Hi, Zach is brave to have a site like this, and to question what he is going through… hopefully he will make the right decisions.
I think Hurria deserves respect for voicing her opinions. I have been following her posts on other blogs, and I find her to be extremely well informed and factual. It is very rare to find such an impeccable logic as hers. I’ve learned more from her postings that from a diverse array of news sources. There is a need to expose Americans in general to a wider array of opinions, considering the effects of their policy on the lives of people around the world.
Hurria, have you published articles in the media in English?

Jay Denari said...

we started this and now we must see it through.

This attitude is exactly the same one cold warriors were promoting if we ever got into a war with the USSR: keep the war going regardless of the consequences. In their planning, that meant, if necessary, unleashing nuclear war rather than facing conventional defeat in Europe... when, of course, nuclear war IS defeat for everyone.

Not much has changed, because the people calling the shots are mostly the same: Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. Although nukes are probably not in the cards, the attitude is very much perpetuated by the grandiose "war on terror" BS. It was insane then, and it's insane now.

Hurria said...

Rafael, thanks for your kind words. No, I have not published anything in English in the media. I honestly would not know how to go about doing that.

Anonymous said...

This was an email sent to me..

VERY INTERESTING -

1. The garden of Eden was in Iraq.

2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!

3. Noah built the ark in Iraq .

4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.

5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Ira q!

6. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq.

7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.

8. Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq.

9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel.

10. Amos cried out in Iraq!

11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem.

12. Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq!

13. The three Hebrew children were in! the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been
in Iraq also as the fourth person in the fiery furnace!)

14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in
Iraq.

15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into
Iraq.

16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.

17. The wise men were from Iraq.

18. Peter preached in Iraq.

19. The "Empire of Man" described in Revelation is called Babylon,
which was a city in Iraq!

And you have probably seen this one. Israel is the nation most often
mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is
Iraq! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names
used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia.
The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between

the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The name Iraq, means country with deep

roots.

Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and! is a very significant
country in the Bible.

No other nation , except Israel, has more history and prophecy
associated with it than Iraq.

And also... This is something to think about! Since America is
typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his
Muslim passages...

The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)

Koran (9:11) - For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a
fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the
lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair
still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of
Allah;
and there was peace.

(Note the verse number!) Hmmmmmmm?! God Bless you all Amen !
I BETTER NOT HEAR OF ANY ONE BREAKING THIS ONE OR SEE DELETED This is
a ribbon for soldiers fighting in Iraq. Pass it on to everyone and
pray.

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