Just a former US soldier who served 2 tours in Iraq and his thoughts on life, family, the Army, and other insights.****DISCLAIMER**** ALL opinions expressed on this blog are those of myself in my private capacity and not as a representative of the DoD, DA, or any particular element of the Government. By viewing this site you accept and agree to this disclaimer in the use of any information accessed in this website.
A: Yes, people can win the war (that is if we are talking about the war in Iraq). My caveat to that is that people from the United States (in particular our military) can not win the war. The people who can are the Iraqis, and that will happen only if they decide they want freedom.
Think about it like this, when you were 16 years old, if your daddy gave you a car you were happy, but it really didn't mean anything to you. If you wrecked it you are back where you started, so you drive it hard and don't really take care of it, however, if you bought your car on your own. You paid for it with your own hard work, and you earned it for yourself then you have a vested interest in that car and you will take the best damn care of it as you can.
The same goes for freedom. You can not give freedom to someone or to a group of someones without them taking it for granted (I am speaking about people who haven't really had it; it is different for a country to be liberated because they are just returning back to the freedom they had before). Look at our revolutionary war, if we had someone else fight it for us and kick out the British we wouldn't be where we are today, there is no way we would have appreciated our given freedom and we would not have been ready to stand on our own legs. The same goes for Iraq. If they really wanted to be free they would have been ready to fight for their own freedom.
That is why I believe that we have the problems with the "insurgency" there. The Iraqis aren't ready to get rid of them themselves because they don't appreciate what our idea of freedom is, and they weren't ready to sacrifice to get their own version of freedom.
By ED JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer SYDNEY, Australia -
Human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein, as lawlessness and sectarian violence sweep the country, the former U.N. human rights chief in Iraq said Thursday. John Pace, who last month left his post as director of the human rights office at the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, said the level of extra-judicial executions and torture is soaring, and morgue workers are being threatened by both government-backed militia and insurgents not to properly investigate deaths.
"Under Saddam, if you agreed to forgo your basic right to freedom of expression and thought, you were physically more or less OK," Pace said in an interview with The Associated Press. "But now, no. Here, you have a primitive, chaotic situation where anybody can do anything they want to anyone."
Pace, who was born in Malta but now resides in Australia, said that while the scale of atrocity under Saddam was "daunting," now nobody is safe from abuse. "It is certainly as bad," he said. "It extends over a much wider section of the population than it did under Saddam."
Pace, currently a visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, spoke as sectarian tensions in Iraq push the country to the brink of civil war. There has been a surge in religious violence in Iraq since the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in the mainly Sunni city of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, and a spate of reprisal attacks against Sunnis.
The situation has been made worse by extremist Shiite militia operating within the ranks of the Interior Ministry, said Pace, who singled out the Badr Brigade, which makes up a large chunk of the Iraqi security services and military. He said militia and insurgents are responsible for threatening morgue staff in Baghdad not to perform autopsies on bodies of apparent victims of torture and killings. "They are told it is not necessary, and not in their interests," he said, adding that both militia and insurgents were "trying to minimize any chances" that their activities could be investigated and prosecuted.
Pace, who spent much of his two years in the post in Iraq, said he visited the morgue in Baghdad once a week when he was in the city and regarded it as a "barometer" of the level of violence in the country. He declined to provide more specific details about the threats, citing fears for the safety of morgue workers. He said that around three-quarters of the several hundred bodies brought to the morgue each month were categorized with "gunshot wound" as the cause of death -- a phrase Pace says is a euphemism. "Nearly all were executed and tortured," he added.
Iraq's interior minister, Bayan Jabr, is a member of Iraq's biggest Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, which ran the Badr Brigade. Badr claims it is no longer an armed militia. But former Badr commanders hold key posts in Interior Ministry commando units, which are regarded by Sunnis as nothing more than death squads. In November, the U.S. Army raided an Interior Ministry bunker in Baghdad and found 158 tortured and starved Sunni prisoners. "They have caused havoc," said Pace, referring to the Badr Brigade. "They do basically as they please. They arrest people, they torture people, they execute people, they detain people, they negotiate ransom and they do that with impunity."