Right on, Bole!
Here is an honest description of what an intelligent Iraqi people would say about US troops in Iraq (this was a posted in her blog in 2003): Baghdad Burning
Setting the Record Straight
I’m going to set the record straight, once and for all.
I don’t hate Americans, contrary to what many people seem to believe. Not because I love Americans, but simply because I don’t hate Americans, like I don’t hate the French, Canadians, Brits, Saudis, Jordanians, Micronesians, etc. It’s that simple. I was brought up, like millions of Iraqis, to have pride in my own culture and nationality. At the same time, like millions of Iraqis, I was also brought up to respect other cultures, nations and religions. Iraqi people are inquisitive, by nature, and accepting of different values- as long as you do not try to impose those values and beliefs upon them.
Although I hate the American military presence in Iraq in its current form, I don’t even hate the American troops… or wait, sometimes I do:
- I hated them all through the bombing. Every single day and night we had to sit in terror of the next bomb, the next plane, the next explosion. I hated them when I saw the expression of terror, and remembrance, on the faces of my family and friends, as we sat in the dark, praying for our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the survival of Iraq.
- I hated them on April 11- a cool, gray day: the day our family friend lost her husband, her son and toddler daughter when a tank hit the family car as they were trying to evacuate the house in Al-A’adhamiya district- an area that saw heavy fighting.
- I hated them on June 3 when our car was pulled over for some strange reason in the middle of Baghdad and we (3 women, a man and a child) were made to get out and stand in a row, while our handbags were rummaged, the men were frisked and the car was thoroughly checked by angry, brisk soldiers. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words the humiliation of being searched.
- I hated them for two hours on July 13. As we were leaving Baghdad, we were detained with dozens of other cars at a checkpoint in the sweltering, dizzying heat.
- I hated them the night my cousin’s house was raided- a man with a wife, daughter and two young girls. He was pushed out of the house with his hands behind his head while his wife and screaming daughters were made to wait in the kitchen as around 20 troops systematically searched the house, emptying closets, rummaging underwear drawers and overturning toy boxes.
- I hated them on April 28 when they shot and killed over a dozen kids and teenagers in Falloojeh- a place west of Baghdad. The American troops had taken over a local school (one of the only schools) and the kids and parents went to stand in front of the school in a peaceful demonstration. Some kids started throwing rocks at the troops, and the troops opened fire on the crowd. That incident was the beginning of bloodshed in Falloojeh.
On the other hand…
- I feel terrible seeing the troops standing in this merciless sun- wearing heavy clothes… looking longingly into the air-conditioned interiors of our cars. After all, in the end this is Baghdad, we’re Iraqi- we’ve seen this heat before.
- I feel bad seeing them stand around, drinking what can only be lukewarm water after hours in the sun- too afraid to accept any proffered ice water from ‘strange Iraqis’.
- I feel pity watching their confused, frightened expressions as some outraged, jobless, father of five shouts at them in a language they can’t even begin to understand.
- I get hopeless, seeing them pointing their guns and tanks at everyone because, in their eyes, anyone could be a ‘terrorist’ and almost everyone is an angry, frustrated Iraqi.
- I feel sympathy seeing them sitting bored and listless on top of their tanks and in their cars- wishing they were somewhere else.
So now you know. Mixed feelings in a messed up world.
I talk about “American troops” because those are the only ones I’ve come into contact with- no British soldiers, no Italians, no Spaniards… I don’t know- maybe they feel the same towards the British in the south.
Someone wrote that I was naïve and probably spoiled, etc. and that “not one single American soldier deserves to die for you”. I completely agree. No one deserves to die for me or for anyone else.
This war started out a war on WMD. When those were not found, and proof was flimsy at best, it turned suddenly into a “War against Terrorism”. When links couldn’t be made to Al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden (besides on Fox and in Bush’s head), it turned into a “Liberation”. Call it whatever you want- to me it’s an occupation.
My suggestion? Bring in UN peace-keeping forces and pull out the American troops. Let the people decide who they want to represent them. Let the governing council be composed of Iraqis who were suffering the blockade and wars *inside* of Iraq. People are angry and frustrated and the American troops are the ones who are going to have to bear the brunt of that anger simply because the American administration is running the show, and making the mistakes.
It always saddens me to see that the majority of them are so young. Just as it isn’t fair that I have to spend my 24th year suffering this whole situation, it doesn’t seem fair that they have to spend their 19th, 20th, etc. suffering it either. In the end, we have something in common- we’re all the victims of decisions made by the Bush administration.
On the other hand… they’ll be back home, safe, in a month, or two or three or six… and we’ll be here having to cope with the mess of a homeland we have now.