Skip to comments.Proud to Have Liberated Iraq ["I have never been prouder to be an American"]
Posted on 09/03/2003 3:43:47 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
Barry FarberThe nice lady in the synagogue, knowing I was in the opinion business, politely asked me how I felt about the situation in Iraq. Sizing up the landscape the bombing of the U.N. Headquarters, the bombing of the mosque in Najaf, the unending loss of American and Iraqi life, and the fact that the overwhelming majority of the members of my synagogue are liberals I figured she didn't want my REAL opinion, but I'm afraid I let her have it anyhow.
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
I couldn't help myself. I over-responded.
"I have never been prouder to be an American," I began. "I am totally in favor of our mission in Iraq. We're in the House of God right now, Ma'am. God loves it when a dictator falls and a democracy is born. We've got to pull together and succeed, so we can legitimately hope for a new, improved middle east and a new improved world."
I wasn't through. "I don't care about unfound weapons-of-mass-destruction, unproven links to Al Qaeda, or lack of a U.N. mandate," I continued. "The fact of 9/11 washed away those "beyond-a-reasonable-doubt" elegancies like a tsunami washes away a sand castle. I care only who runs Iraq NOW, and who ran Iraq THEN.
"And I think the NOW crowd is better for America, the rest of the world, Iraq itself, and children and other growing things than the THEN crowd."
The nice lady didn't fight back. Not that she didn't want to. In boxing they call it a TKO, a technical knockout. She was still standing, alright, and still able to talk and even smile. But she'd been hit too hard and unexpectedly to continue the dialogue. She gasped a kind of a "thank-you" and then probably staggered to the ladies' lounge to stretch out on a couch with a cold compress on her forehead.
I pray the Lord will forgive me for the extra energy I expended in my reply and my semi-sadistic enjoyment of the look on her face.
That poor woman undoubtedly expected me to throw myself on the floor and anguish about all the "chaos," "quagmire," "failure," and the rest of the litany of those ultra-liberal racists whose fervent insistence on democracy somehow never applies to people like the Iraqis.
Funny! Since the 1930s, those who remarked that "Hitler built great highways," were being ironic; actually ANTI-Hitler. But the people today who say, "At least Saddam kept the electric grid working" aren't kidding!
As so often happens in life, the nice-lady-in-the-synagogue was not the legitimate target of my rage. It is, I'm afraid, most of the rest of the world; certainly, that portion of the world that has problems with America's actions.
Let's start with the simple formulation of the psychopath who whips out a gun or a knife and warns everybody in the bus, the plane, the subway train, the bank, wherever, that one false move and it's their life. The innocent crowd is cowed and paralyzed. Put yourself among them.
If your mentality had the power to rise even slightly above your fear you'd be saying to yourself, "How disgustingly humiliating! Here we are, twenty people or more. He's alone, but armed. If we all rushed him, one or more of us MIGHT get hurt, or worse. But we'd definitely prevail, pin him down, call the cops, testify in court, and rid the world of a dangerous living receptacle of sub-human scum."
But there's no appetite for such mathematics. There's no applause for such a sermon. The silent freeze continues.
"Please let this end!" you'd be thinking. "My self-esteem will soon be gone forever. How can I excuse my paralysis to MYSELF, much less to others, if we decent folks in the overwhelming majority just continue to do nothing but STAND here?"
As sometimes happens, one courageous soul eventually leaps upon the villain. Shots ring out. The knife flashes and descends. Maybe the hero is injured. Maybe he's injured fatally.
But AT THAT P0INT, civilization wins. After the first courageous victim rushes the predator and they lock up in struggle, it's then easy for the frozen multitude to UNFREEZE and smother the criminal under their suddenly active body-weight.
After the initial hero's lunge, it was thereupon EASY for the appropriately fearful, the appropriately reluctant, the appropriately cowardly majority to join the side of civilization. That's the emotionally fulfilling part. That's the allegro movement. Not even those pathological phonies who buy medals for heroism from pawn shops and pretend they won them in battle would brag about jumping the bad guy AFTER the lone hero had made his lunge. What man tells his grandchildren about landing on the beaches of Normandy a week AFTER D-Day?
Everybody jumps in after the hero has broken the siege. That's what's SUPPOSED to happen.
As an American who rejoices at the obliteration of dictators and the expansion of democracy, tell me, please, WHY DIDN'T IT HAPPEN IN IRAQ?
I, personally, can't promise I'd be any better than one of the paralyzed-frozen in the scenario. But I can definitely promise I'd be among those charging the pile-up AFTER the hero made his move and the danger was over.
I can forgive France, Germany, Russia, the rest of the no-voters on the Security Council, and everybody else who stood "F-and-F," (fearful and frozen) as America moved to depose Saddam Hussein.
What I can NOT forgive is the continued cowardice and petulance of those parties now that Saddam has been removed by the heroic lunger known as the USA. Hey, Germany! Hey, France! Hey, Russia! Hey, Security Council and U.N. in general! You're not in danger anymore. America, characteristically, took care of that. Why are you not now "piling on?"
How dare you saprophite sons-of-bitches continue to look on and do nothing because "America acted without the approval of the U.N.?"
Back to the "hostage" scenario. Can you imagine the paralyzed-frozen crowd REMAINING paralyzed and frozen AFTER the hero made his lunge and grabbed the gun?
Can you imagine twenty or thirty people STILL standing there WATCHING the battle between the man with the knife or gun and the hero as they anguish through their slow-motion struggle, muscle against muscle, grunt against groan, to gain the upper hand?
I can excuse no other result than the onrush of all the previously-frozen victims roaring in to assist in the capture.
The dullest individuals suffer no lack of imagination when it comes to confecting excuses for their cowardice. The man dashed into the bar and yelled, "Give me a drink! Please, anything. I need a good strong drink. Right now. It was terrible. It's the worst thing I ever saw."
And what was that, the bartender and his customers wanted to know?
Just now. Just up the block. She was very thin and very pregnant and he was a brute of a guy with tattoos and motorcycle muscles and she was lying on the sidewalk bleeding and he was kicking her and stomping her and cussing her like mad.
"Did you try to help her?" a patron asked.
"HELP her!" the man said. "How could I try to help her? I had no idea who started the fight."
That fellow, by me, is on sounder moral ground than France, Germany, Russia, Kofi Annan, and all the hapless etceteras.
They know good and well it was Saddam who "started the fight," against Iran, against Kuwait, against the Kurds, against Shiite Iraqis, and to the extent of his growing abilities against Israel and, in his most likely intentions ultimately, the United States.
They know details of Saddam's cruelty too ghastly to print. They also know, even better than Howard Dean's speechwriters, what a consumer fraud the "inspections" were that gave them all a moral-looking cloud to hide out in while they counselled "patience."
They also know what indecent hypocrites they are using words like "peace" and "diplomacy" as spray-deodorants to cover their genuine motives not to boat-rock Iraq; namely, their lucrative business ties to Saddam Hussein.
What do I want? Not some pusillanimous, after-the-fact offer by the strong silent nations to send troops now to Iraq in exchange for control, partial control, or even one jot or tittle of control.
I want France, Germany, Russia and India for starters to show the guts of Poland, Albania, and Bulgaria; all of whose fighters' footprints are in the sands of Iraq. I want them to send troops, not with demands, but with apologies for not having been there in the first place, shoulder to shoulder with America in a crusade every bit as righteous as the Allied effort in World War 11.
Don't countries feel any tug to do the right thing anymore? In 1941 Cuba declared war on Germany six hours before we did. Where is Latin America today when it comes to helping build a democratic Iraq? It's "Don't ask. Don't tell" from the Rio Grande to the South Pole. And, for that matter, from the Canadian border to the North Pole. What a shame; literally. The troops from Spain don't have anybody else to speak Spanish to.
In Korea our "Coalition," in addition to troops from Britain and France, included Turks, Ethiopians, Colombians, and others; not because North Korea was a "threat" to them, but because resisting North Korean aggression against South Korea was the thing to do. Even India sent an ambulance and chronically neutral Sweden sent nurses pretty enough to make the front cover of Life Magazine.
When England was threatened with Nazi takeover before America entered World War 11 a torrent of American men went north to Canada to enlist in the fight to destroy Hitler. Is there a southbound torrent now FROM Canada; or a flow, or a trickle, or even one single Canadian volunteering to help us overcome the handiwork of an equally odious dictator? If so, I'm missing it.
Hey, world; I've got a deal for you.
You do all that. Do it all right now.
And I'll apologize to the nice lady in the synagogue.
Thank you, Mr. Farber.
If you want on or off my pro-Coalition/anti-wanker ping list, please Freepmail me.
No Kidding. I know I read the by-line, but I had to keep going back up to check cause it sounded a lot like something Mark Stein would write.
We'll see what we can do. It may simply take a little time.
As long as we're posting blogs tonight, for those familiar with an extremely hardworking US secret weapon, a kindhearted and focused interrogator in Baghdad named 'Chiefwiggles':
The Online Journal of Chief Wiggles
Hitting the Wall, Busy schedule, Helping Others 9/02/03
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
It is now almost 7 pm, the sun is heading to its resting ground somewhere beyond the horizon, the darkness of night trailing not too far behind. I can only imagine what will be happening tonight, never having ventured beyond the walls of the green zone once darkness covers the city. I am sitting wondering where the day went, having not even paused to catch my breath.
I have lost all track of time, dates, seasons, anything beyond today. I have no thoughts of tomorrow until tomorrow comes, being so overwhelmed by the rigorous schedule of today. I can honestly say I have not had a day off since arriving here at the palace, not to complain but only in retrospect as I ponder the events of the last month, which now seem more like several months.
Today while in route to refill my vehicle I traveled back down the road I first came in on. I commented to Chief Authentico that it seems like such a long time ago, our lives having been condensed into some fast passed timeless blur of semi consciousness. It is as if we are locked in some twilight zone, not being able to actually make contact with anyone in the real world.
I have no time for anything not relating to the demands of my busy schedule, now just trying to keep pace with the proverbial flow of Iraqi citizens. I have no time to watch the escapades of the nightly news broadcasters, or to listen to the negative twist put on everything we are endeavoring to do over here. We drive on with nothing but a single focus and deaf ears to all who might disagree.
We cannot afford to lose our positive energy, our hope for a different future, or our forward momentum that compels us to press on. We have to care, for we cannot afford to think otherwise. We have to believe for if we didn't we would be worthless, frozen in an endless state of depression.
Living and working in this green zone at times, seems like I am in an amusement park, manning one of the rides. Only those who have the right pass or ticket get to take their turn on my ride. These people come in out of nowhere and then return into nowhere, for I never really get to see where they come from. I explain the rules to this ride, hoping after listening they will agree to jump on, not fully understanding risks involved.
I live in an area of virtually no Iraqis, only soldiers living in the remains of this once great regime, bombed out areas and empty buildings. As I look out my window I see nothing but green trees covering my direct view of the city that is sprawled out all around me. I feel secure but it feels unreal at times, as I hear gun shots and explosions through the night.
I am not afraid to go out beyond our area, which I have done on several occasions, but there is that unpredictability of it, the unknown that keeps me on my toes and looking over my shoulder. I am sure there are people in America, in New York or LA, who can relate to this feeling.
Our record setting pace of the last few days as finally taken its toll on me, now totally exhausted with barely enough strength to push the keys on my computer. I have basically hit the wall needing now to recharge to greet the onslaught of another day. I am going to retire but felt inclined to pass on these words.
On a daily basis my emotions cover the full spectrum of possibilities, from sad to happy, to ecstatic to overwhelmed. This work is emotionally very draining, pulling on us from one moment to the next, from one emotional situation to another, as we try to determine the truthfulness of the very words we are hearing.
We also get the full range of people covering the entire spectrum of possibilities, from one extreme to another, from one fanatical or extremist group to another, from wanting to die for their country to wanting to make every dollar off of us they can. I have never been in a place where the people have such a wide range of personalities, beliefs, attitudes, motives, etc. It is a virtual buffet of emotions and personalities, mind-boggling and confusing at times.
As I mentioned before I was working with one of the Free Iraq Fighters, now with out his unit hoping to find a place in the new Iraq. He was so depressed, so down, not sure about his future, as if he was a little boy lost in a crowd with no hope for finding his parents.
I took him over to the headquarters for this area in hopes that I might find a job for him, something to get him started, a place to hang his hat. I spoke with a few people, gave them the details of his background and experience and asked for a special favor to help this young lost man out. They agreed to get him started in a new training program with a very positive welcome, stating they need people like him.
You should have seen the light come on in his face, the light of hope or belief that something good was going to happen. He was so excited about the possibilities, now feeling his life had some purpose and direction.
We ended our discussion and as I drove him to the front gate he leaned over from the back seat to kiss me on the cheek (which is customary over here) to thank me for all I had done for him. He was so appreciative; he could not stop blessing me and my family, my kids, my dogs and everyone else.
Another guy I met yesterday was from the village in Northern Iraq that back in 1988 was attacked by Saddam's republican guards, using chemical weapons, slaughtering thousands of people, including this man's whole family. He was moved to tears as he explained the details of that massacre and his plight since that time.
We never know from one minute to the next what the next appointment will bring us or what to expect from the next person we run across.
We have our moments, but for the most part we stay enthused, focused, and positive. Pray that we will stay our course till the end of our tour here, in order that in our own little way we may make a difference in the lives of these people. It would be just too easy to give up hope in such a plethora of crime, violence, dishonesty, ulterior motives, greed, revenge, you name we have it.
But that is about it for now. Good night, gotta crash. Bye Bye
Aug. 31, 2003
Little by little things are all coming together, shaping up, providing us with what will be needed to accomplish this mission. Miraculous things are taking shape and the pieces of this huge puzzle are coming together one piece at a time. All you have to do is pitch in and help make it happen.
The ball of progress has begun to roll, stand back and watch it roll-forth bringing freedom to the people of this country. You can either be part of the solution or get out of our way. Yes, there will be stumbling blocks, hurdles and many more difficulties but goodness will prevail.
I am sure the media is having a free-for-all with all the reports of the bombings, the shootings, the crimes and so on and so forth. I am sure there are plenty of people accusing us of not doing our job to make things safe and not being able to solve the problems of this country. We are making a gallant effort but you don't really understand unless you are here in the middle of it. You don't really understand all the numerous complicated aspects of this environment.
After 35 years of being totally controlled, fearing every move they make, the people here are protesting because they can. For the first time in 35 years they can say whatever they want with out any recourse, now using their freedom of speech for the first time.
This is a land that has been at war on and off for the past 20 years. They fought against the Iranians for 8 years and lost a million people combined on both sides. Saddam has encouraged them to have weapons and to use them. He has created a wild-west atmosphere using the gun to enforce his laws and to settle differences. This is the guy that used to fire his weapon into the air whenever he had something to celebrate, even inside a hotel room.
These people also feel that if they are not complaining about the progress of things then people will have a tendency to stop working on their issues. They are very impatient with progress and very emotional about their issues.
Also with their economy in shambles people are creating an economy based on commerce around anything that will sell. So now even ordinary citizens are getting into the weapons business because there is supply and demand. Saddam made sure there were plenty of weapons by unloading dump trucks full of weapons in every neighborhood. Everyone here is getting into the business. We just need to develop other industries that will give the people jobs and another source of income.
Today was Sunday normally a day of rest, but it was like the floodgates were opened dropping on us a continual flow of sources all day long. It was unbelievable, person after person, dropping in on us, people we hadn't seen in a long time. We accomplished many good things today.
What better place to give those in Iraq a voice, than on one of the most beautiful pieces written about Iraq since the beginning of the war.
You can send 'Chief' a note of thanks at his website, link above.
And quite beautifully, he did. What a great rant!
Perhaps they are not kidding, but they are wrong. There were daily blackouts in Baghdad, twice a day, when Saddam Hussein was in power.
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