Monday, December 27, 2004

Feelings are universal (2)

Additional thoughts to a previous post (Feelings are universal) are down here. Maybe they would be helpful in perceiving some of the events happening in Iraq.

What happened in Abu Graib prison is another image of brutality and seizing the opportunity to behave meanly which is the same of Saddam's era. It was expected (at least for me). Since August 2003 I'm trying my best to avoid any American person here. In that month a horrible incident happened to my brother in law. He is an electrical engineer, works in the maintenance department at the University of Baghdad. He is a man of self-respect, in the same age of mine. Their department is working hard to rehabilitate colleges of the university.

One day on his way back home in his car, an Iraqi police patrol stopped him and checked his car. He told me that he had noticed the cars, which had been checked, were all the same of his car. So he concluded that something wrong had been done using such a car. But the most significant thing he had noticed was the way of the Iraqi police behavior. He described it as a revolutionary change. They behaved in a very polite way. After that he stopped to buy bread. As he was parking his car, three American armored vehicles appeared suddenly and surrounded his car. Till this point nothing is wrong. But the way of the American soldiers' behavior was something unbelievable. They didn't ask him any kind of questions, and prevented him from saying a word. They dragged him from the car in a very savage way causing his shirt to be completely torn. Two guns were pointed to his head, a soldier kept on kicking his legs to lay him on the ground, another tried to break the trunk of the car, others turned the inside of the car upside down. After all this humiliation they said nothing but (sorry). He recounted the event with very deep pain and sorrow. It caused him high blood pressure.

Such incident happens daily. One may become a detainee without knowing why. Anybody may pass false information about another to the Americans. American soldiers are ready to damage (not knock) doors, destroy furniture, terrify families, and detain persons.

I can understand that the American soldiers are frightened and this makes them unable to discriminate between people. To avoid being humiliated for no reason, it's better to stay at home as much as possible. I can't bear humiliation, by some frightened or psychopathic soldiers, which may cause me to retaliate in a way that leads me to death. Such behaviors make neutral people to turn against the Americans.

Thanks to God that I have not met any American soldier who might detain me for no reason (like what happened to my brother in law). And I pray to God that it would not happen in the future. At Saddam's period one might be detained for using a satellite receiver, which is a trivial matter, but still there were some trivial regulations. I know many young men who had been detained just for standing outside their houses, in the street. It is impossible for some people to stay at a crowded home while there is no power, with all the heat and boredom.

Yesterday, for the second time, my brother was about to be crushed with his car by an American army huge truck. The soldier who was driving the truck hit another car pushing it aside without giving its driver any chance to get away of the truck path, causing lot of damage to the car. My brother was the one supposed to be hit but he managed to find himself an empty small area, in one of the busiest streets in Baghdad, rammed his car into it.

Two months ago, my same brother was in a traffic jam when he noticed in the car mirror a bunch of Humvee cars. So he managed to step aside near the sidewalk to avoid annoyance usually caused by the Americans when they pass through streets. What astonished him is that the Humvees' drivers chose to force their cars through a very narrow space beside his car scratching his car and breaking the radio aerial. My brother says that the soldiers in the Humvee looked at him in the same way of Saddam's henchman and bodyguards.

I have no explanation or justification for the behavior neither of the Americans nor of the Iraqis who retaliate unconsciously. I'd like to read your comments about it.

43 Comments:

Blogger stefania said...

You're correct. There's no justification to harm innocent Iraqis ( unlike the Abu Ghraib "prisoners", that were terrorists ).

Thanks for letting us know about the few bad people among our men .

But, please, don't generalize, as there are bad people everywhere.

Some Italian soldiers ( I am Italian ) had sexually abused and raped young somalian girls, yet nobody says that the entire Italian army is full of these criminals.

As far as I know, the US soldiers found guilty for such acts, have been tried by the US and condemned accordingly.

This is the big difference between an imperfect democracy ( there's no perfect democracy on this earth. The men are not perfect ) and a non-democracy ( like the neighboring countries.

As you know, in the US army there are people from various ethnic,religious,national and political backgrounds.

So, it might be that some may committ acts that are their OWN acts and don't represent the US govt nor the American Nation and people.

I'm so sorry for your brother.

You should expose these actions, in a fair and balanced way , and appealing to the US govt in order to try those who committ these acts.

Dear, you have a friend in a country that is a democracy.

If you tried to ask the arab leaders to try those who harm innocent citizens in their countries, you would be in jail or executed.

But you can complain without fear of being arrested or executed .

Btw, check this post by me :

http://freethoughts.splinder.com/post/3693674

6:09 PM  
Blogger stefania said...

*You can complain without fear to be arrested..*

I meant to the americans, not to the Arab dictators of course

6:12 PM  
Blogger stefania said...

Check this also :

http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/04_12_26_corner-archive.asp#048915

6:33 PM  
Blogger Jordan Golson said...

I certainly can appreciate your discomfort and pain in this situation, and my heart goes out to your brother for the trauma he has been caused.

However, I believe that you are looking for an opposing viewpoint, and I hope that I can provide it for you.

The soldiers are threatened and attacked daily, and they are at their most vulnerable when they are driving through the streets, exposed. When they stop in the street, they are at their MOST vulnerable because it is much easier to target a stopped car than a moving one.

They must not stop, or else they might die.

Now, aside from that, what happenned to your brother was unfortunate, but maybe unavoidable. I'm not saying that it was right for his shirt to be ripped and he getting injured and his car getting ripped apart, but the Americans were just trying to keep you safe. Neither you nor I know what sort of intelligence they had, and they were just following up.

There is so much in Iraq that the Americans are trying to do, sometimes (sadly) it is not done in the most proper way. There is no excuse for attacking an innocent man like that, but you must see it from the American's point of view.

They see every Iraqi as a possible threat. (as they should). American police are taught to treat every person they encounter as a potential threat, and prepare accordingly. However, in a war zone things are a little different, and they must be extra careful.

I hope you can understand where I am coming from, I feel a lot of sympathy for your position, but we're all fighting our hardest to bring your country to a better place. It's not an easy road, but we all do what we can.

Please, email me if you would like to talk more, I would love to ask you questions about the situation and life in Iraq: jlgolson@gmail.com or http://jlgolson.blogspot.com/

7:18 PM  
Blogger Heiko said...

It is good to hear your viewpoint and I certainly hope people high up in the US administration read this. Bloggers like you and the Fadhil brothers have a large audience and influence, you can make a difference.

My take on your story is that the coalition urgently needs to review training requirements for US soldiers. Yes fear plays a part, yes, there are some bad apples that need rooting out, but in addition, I think that extra language and cultural training would do a world of good.

In short, EVERY COALITION SOLDIER IN IRAQ SHOULD BE MADE TO LEARN ARABIC WELL.

Furthermore, an effective system should be in place for complaints.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure you know that Iraq is not the only place where innocent people are arrested or mistreated. It happens even in peace time, even in America to american citizens who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The difference between tyranny and democracy is that when it happens in a democracy, you can file complaints and seek redress. (Collect names and statements of witnesses. Write down information, descriptions --- of the people and the vehicles and equipment and of the location. Determine the damage. Send copies (not the originals) of hospital bills, statements etc., to the American Embassy or the military unit involved, with a request for reimbursement and apology. It's difficult to know whether any compensation will come, but that is the way citizens of democracies resolve even horrible mistreatment --- not by taking up arms or refusing to help one's own country to better things.

I've never been in a war myself, but I like to think that I would be able to maintain my honor and respect others. The hardest part, I'm sure is not ever knowing which of those around you are also peace-loving and will fight with you, and which will turn on you and become the suicide bomber in your mess tent. That has to be particularly difficult when you are there to help the very people who may put you at risk.

I can see how the situation would lead to bitterness and disgust, and even over reaction on all sides, but freedom requires that we deal with those negative feelings in ways that does not interfere with the freedom and hope of others.

I know it's dangerous, but I hope you are collecting evidence of the atrocities by those who are seeking to kill Iraqi's and Americans, and against Americans and reporting those to authorities too. The sooner everyone can tell the bad guys from the good guys, the better.

I also have to tell you that if I'd been your brother in law, I'd have parked the car and walked home after the first couple of times being stopped when I figured out that the car was suspect. And when I saw any military operation, I'd turn and go in the opposite direction.

10:29 PM  
Blogger stefania said...

As to feelings, I know that it may be off topic, but I feel morally sad for all those 24,000 + innocent victims of the apocalypse that hit South Eastern Asia

10:30 PM  
Blogger Gadfly said...

Ibn,

You have elequently illustrated a major problem with using an army as a police force. I am deeply saddened to hear your brother's stories, even though I knew these kinds of things would occur. They always do in an occupation. Like the lady said earlier, living in a Democracy does not make you safe from these kinds of public humiliation by police, it just gives you some recourse to justice.
I'm torn in trying to find some peace with this. I understand the logical steps that motivate the soldiers to act like they do. These kids are doing everything possible to come home alive and in one piece. They don't really care so much about Democracy or a better future when they feel vulnerable to attack. They just want to get the job done ASAP and get back to a position that offers a margin of safety.
On the other hand, I am just like you, I suspect. I know if I were publicly brutalized and humiliated by people in authority, I just might harbor enough anger and resentment to take up arms against them. I, like you, pray that it never happens to me, because I fear it would turn me into a violent, vicious person.
Maybe not. I might be able to find a way to put it in the past and get on with life. But with what I know of myself, I find that unlikely. Maybe 30% chance at best. And that would depend largely on the level of pain and humiliation suffered.
In a perfect world, this kind of random brutality would never occur. But there's the way the world ought to be, and there's the way the world is. And "the way the world is" can be quite f-ed up, sometimes.

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your posting makes me sad. My friends are torn right down the middle. Half believe that our (U.S.) soldiers are being sent to take your oil away from you, and half are determined to do what it takes to make sure that your country ends up belonging to you. Of the military people I know, three are volunteering to go to Iraq to fight for your eventual freedom, and believe very strongly that you must be free. I know of no-one from the political left willing to risk his life fighting the foreigners that we've let into your country.

The sad thing is that the same people that want to help, when confronted with the reality of being inside a hostile nation where the enemy doesn't wear uniforms and where they neither speak the language nor understand the culture, it is all too easy to start to see everyone as the enemy. Is someone staring at you because he's afraid you're taking their country, because he's about to shoot you, or because waiting in lines is annoying? In this kind of atmosphere, the reality that they're here to protect and serve Iraqi people becomes instead a theory, and the first reality becomes to stay alive.

Maybe one day we will be better at this, or, better, maybe one day the world will be better and soldiers will be able to stay home with their wives and families. In the mean-time, please accept the sympaties of those of us back home who, not in fear for our lives, feel very sorry that things over there remain so difficult, and pray that your country will be yours soon.

James Mitchell
USA

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that American soldiers are sometimes being more aggressive than they need to be with people. I don't have anything new to say about the reason why. They are in a place where those who want to kill them could be anyone since the terrorists aren't wearing a uniform. They don't speak Arabic so it's hard for them to know what's going on. It's self-protection, they're trying to stay alive.

I do know that most American soldiers wish it was not this way. They don't like it either. They would rather be helping to rebuild your country.

Pat

4:43 AM  
Blogger WC said...

Ibn_Alrafidian,

Greetings!

Fear is the cause. Simple, pure, unadulterated fear. I blame this climate of fear on the thugs and thieves of the former Sadamm regime, may they be cursed --- but you will know better than me. We (Americans and Iraqis both) can only offer courage to counter this fear. The brave ones will be the most likely to receive harm. I am sad that it takes bravery to simply treat all people as human beings .... but that is it. The brave ones will take courage and dare to behave like a human. I pray that there are enough brave Americans and enough brave Iraqis to overcome the present evil. I pray that pride will not be a hindrance in this endeavor.

I apologise to your brother on behalf of America. I apologise to you, also. I am sorry that you are not yet free to move about as you please in your own homeland.


Happier Trails,
WC

5:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I read your post it made me hang my head in shame as I did when I first heard about the prison abuse. I wanted to crawl into a hole because those people call themselves "American". I understand they have a job to do and are scared or whatever but I don't think they have to be mean or cruel. Sometimes accidents happen and I understand that but I don't understand when it's done on purpose. I'm very sorry. All Americans are not like that. I don't know why they become like that because they're in a different country. That confuses me too. I'm really sorry, and I'm ashamed they act like that. "sis" from the usa

5:24 AM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Greetings, Ibn

I hope that you and yours are healthy and safe.

I am not totally surprised by the actions or attitudes of American or any other Soldiers "In a War Zone".

To you, its your home. To you it is familiar and you know the dangers, the area, the people. You and your brother and millions of other Iraqis are humiliated just by the fact that the soldier's are there.

Additional humiliation is going to occur even with well meaning, considerate soldiers and Marines because they simply come from a different world than you. The don't relate to hardly anything like you and your country men do.

For example, being jerked from your car and made to lie down and having your car searched is not that unusal in America (if your are suspected of wrongdoing or somewhere you should not be, acting in a suspicious manner).

Well, everyone in Iraq is under suspicion to the soldiers. Everyone in Iraq or anyone in Iraq could kill or cripple them. Iraq is a WAR ZONE and they are NOT policemen. They are trained to kill and complete the mission they are given.

At some point the military of countries may require certain language skills and training in customs of what ever country they are fighting in. But as of now that type of training is reserved just for special units.

The Arab and Persian mindset and culture is such that humiliation is something that they hate and fear the most. It will cause them to want to strike back or harbor ill feelings for a life time.

But, as I have been saying and continue to believe, the US is going to continue to change the Middle East. It is not going to be without oceans of blood and years and years of fighting but the US will prevail in the end. The US has no choice, war has been declared against the "Great Satan" and its enemies are in every country in the Middle East.

The American public is sorry and ashamed at the bad treatment of innocents. The average American just can't understand why the American Military can't come across as compasionate, understanding people.

Well, I have been in the position where I didn't know who was my enemy and who was my friend and they might change sides at any time for any reason.

It made me very hard to get along with, very suspicious and gave me a very hard attitude. It took me years to get over it and get my thinking straight again.

My apology goes out to you and your brother, but my apology and those of others, will make no difference to him or you.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

7:37 AM  
Blogger MonicaR said...

Ibn_alrafidain - good heavens! What a story and so sorry that your brother in law has had the bad luck to have this happen to him not only once - but apparently several times.

Many responses have enumerated many different reasons for what may possibly lie behind this sort of behaviour. There is nothing there that I can add.

I, too, offer my apologies - but to echo another apology I know that it won't make much difference to you or your brother in law.

I read an interesting blog entry by the questing cat - a soldier blogger in Iraq. You wouldn't believe what these guys are up against every day. Iraqi drivers in cars playing chicken with the columns of military vehicles - that kind of stuff. I'm not suggesting that your brother in law ever behaved in that manner - all I'm doing is illustrating that the soldiers deal with really whacky Iraqis every day. Throw in some whacky soldiers and it aint too pretty at times.

Take care - hang in. Tell your brother in law to get a Chevy for goodness sakes. The BMW's are waaaay over-rated in my opinion.

8:52 AM  
Blogger MonicaR said...

I also have to say that our military men and women are trained to be killers - not how to handle possible suspects in an extremely dangerous situation with kid-gloves. Before anyone screams 'Not ALL military are killers - what about the medics??' Let me answer that I was an O.R. Tech in my military days and I was trained in the best ways to kill the enemy.

And on a side note - I am glad that the Iraqi Policemen (God Bless their hearts for being so brave) were polite and respectful. That is important. The Iraqis need to trust the Police and know that they are there 'to serve and to protect.'

9:01 AM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Greetings, Ibn

Its a new day, I hope you and yours are ok, healthy and safe. I know it is becoming a daily battle for everyone in that part of the world.

When I think of all the children and young men and women being told to kill westerners, and all infidels, it makes me ill and want to give up all hope.

Just think of that, the next several generations are being raised to hate and to want to kill and even to kill themselves, so that they can go to a heaven that will reward them for doing so.

It should be a crime, IT IS A CRIME against humanity for anyone to be teaching children to ask for death or to murder anyone that is an "Infidel". They are being taught that in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other places in the world.

How many generations will it take before we kill everyone or learn to live together, and allow everyone to have religious freedom. To not blame others for our problems, to educate our children in something other than hate, murder and intolerance?

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

5:15 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Greetings again, Ibn

As long as leaders call calling on sending bombers to Iraq. to kill Infidels, Iraq will have no peace or reconstruction.

Also, a Basij activist from Elm Vasonaat University in Iran "acknowledged that a group calling itself the "To Karbala Battalion" was sent on May 27, 2004 to Karbala to fight the coalition forces".

With new reinforcements arriving daily from other countires to kill Americans (and any Iraqi that are helping or not resisting Americans) your country will not be stabilized, reconstructed or be able to govern itself.

This does not even include the leftovers from Saddam's army of followers, its Generals, soldiers or religious leaders that want the Americans to fail.

Who wished this disaster upon your country, who would want this, what purpose, whose purpose does it serve?

The answer is the Islamic extreamists, the Arabs and Persians that hate anything and anyone that is part of the "Great Satan". This is anyone not willing to convert to what they call "Islam", any infidel who believes different or wants a different version of "Islam".

This is the beginning of the war that everyone has dreaded and tried to not have. The war "To End All Wars". THE WAR TO DESTROY THE INFIDELS.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second the suggestion by the earier anonymous: when you learn of a bad incident, get as much detail as you can, document as much as possible, and report it to the proper authorities. Zeyad did this a few months ago, and the soldiers who killed his cousin have been identified and prosecuted, along with an officer who was helping cover up for them.
Some harsh behavior by our troops is undoubtedly justified; some, however, is not. It's important that abuses be investigated and punished, for your sake and ours.
So: if you have information, please do report it! Be as specific as possible, and as calm as possible. Specific information can be verified and used to identify the offending individuals, as well as possible witnesses.

I know that many -- I would like to believe it's the vast majority -- of our troops are good people, determined to do the right thing. Reporting the bad apples early on can only help the good ones.

Of course, reporting anything you know about the enemy will help, too -- specific information about the insurgents / jihadis / terrorists would allow better-targeted action against them. The sooner they're defeated, the sooner our troops can come home.

Eric Wilner
Sunnyvale, California, USA

7:39 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

The Questing Cat's related entry is here.

It woldn't solve everything, but I'm inclined to think that every American patrol should have some ING members embedded, both for the language and local knowledge.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

The Questing Cat's related entry is here.

. . .

{Sorry for the double post; the above link wasn't specific enough on the first one).

11:44 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Greetings Ibn,

My continued hopes for your safety and health.

I am sure you will overcome any inconviences and hardships that you are enduring at this time.

I wanted to share with you the inconvience and hardship of one (just one of thousands) of our soldiers. He is going to be in your country, doing his duty, doing what he must for YOUR freedom, so you can have and live a better life.

Please click on audio to hear the story of his unit and his personal story .


I have to say that this is a representive story of our troops that risk their lives and their families. Iraqis are supposed to have a very strong family orientation, so you should be able to identify strongly with this soldier's story.

I know I do. I left my family, years ago, to go to a far away place to try and help people have a life free from oppression and fear. My country failed, I failed, and it has haunted me ever since. My family suffered, I came back to being treated with dishonor, spit and jeers.

I am grateful that our Military does not return to the same now, but returns now, with admiration, gratitude and honor.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd just like to share a little good news:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&e=9&u=/ap/20041228/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraqis_training_americans_2

"sis" from the usa

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am saddened by the way your brother was treated and by the fear the people of your country have to endure. The thing to remember though is that the americans and other foreign soldiers in your country are there with the mission to bring peace to your country. The Americans who accosted your brother were probably going on information about a car bomber or something like that. They were probably trying to stop someone from blowing up a lot of people. This is the fault of the criminal insurgents who set off explosives that not only kill american and Iraqi soldiers but Iraqi people who are minding there own business as well. The insurgents are cowards and don't care who they kill as long as they can cause trouble. They don't want you to be able to have elections and choose your own leaders, they want to take over and be like Saddam. I think it is much better to be treated poorly at times than to be blown up by some criminal. Those soldiers were working to prevent not only american deaths but Iraqi as well. It may not always seem like it but, they are their to help you. I pray that peace will come soon to your country and that the criminals will be stopped and punished.
And just so you know, I do know how your brother must have fealt. I had a similar thing happen to me when I was younger except it was police men and not soldiers. I was with a friend and suddenly a bunch of police cars surrounded my car. They had their guns pointed at us and made us lie on the ground, some of the officers kicked us and cursed us. Other officers tore through my car searching it. I was angered at my treatment but then I later found out that a grocery store had been robbed and the criminals killed a man just so they could get $40 from the cash register. They had a car that was like mine. I then realized that these police were wrong to treat me that way but for all they knew I could have been this murderer who robbed the store. They were trying to stop a very bad person, just like the american soldiers are trying to do in your country.
Again, I pray for peace to come to your country soon and I also pray that someday soon you will be able to look back at this time and think that it was good that the Americans came to help Iraq. May God bless you and your family and the peace loving people of Iraq.

10:26 PM  
Blogger submandave said...

A previous commenter touched on a key factor in the American vehicle pushing past your brother-in-law's car. Not only does their speed help save their lives, but those of innocent Iraqis (including your brother-in-law) as well. Remember, in Mosul the bus full of school children was bombed by those aiming at a US vehicle. Any attack against an American target in a crowded area will undoubtedly kill civilians as well. A similar truth is likely to be found in the rough search your brother-in-law received. I agree that what he described sounds like they were acting on specific intelligence and looking for a specific car and potential bomber. Let us suppose the American patrol had encountered not your brother-in-law but the actual terrorist they were looking for. A more courteous, polite approach (like your brother-in-law deserved) would probably have given the terrorist a chance to detonate his bomb, not only killing the soldiers but also anyone else near. In this type of situation they have to act fast.

I know this does not fix the car or shirt or lessen the humiliation and anger felt, but I do not think the main motivation behind these sorts of actions is malice, cruelty or even fear. Unfortunately, it is just the best way at this time to get the job done.

3:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry your brother was treated that way. The US is aware that its military was not set up for peacekeeping and there is talk of restructuring the military to better balance it for the future.

I think most of the problem is related to the language difficulties.

That said...You are doing the right thing by staying away from them!

There are some great people in our military...but they are in a really tough position. Some are reporting being attacked 3 times a day!

I look at the big picture. Someday, I hope Iraqis will feel so much self-esteem in themselves that we don't matter.

thinker

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also like to take this opportunity to address Abu Gharib:

It was wrong, disgusting and shameful behavior. I am sooooooo sorry. There are no excuses for such vile nonsense. You have no idea how mad we all were in the US! Furious! It turns out that the ringleader of this group of guards, was a prison guard in the US and had gotten into trouble for being brutal in the US and had been allowed into the army! Disgusting.

I understand Abu Gharib has now changed and now the US doctors there have a clinic set up to treat Iraqis with unusual health problems. Recently, one little girl came to the US from this clinic to get free treatment and to save her life. One American doctor there had his parents fly to the Middle East to help bring the family to the US.

I hope that is the better future of Abu Gharib.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Son of Two Rivers,
I am so very sorry to read about the treatment of your brother by American soldiers and to hear how stressful it is where you live. On the other hand, I think many of the posts above have offered good food for thought about why the situation is this way. More and more, I kind of feel that I see both sides.

For everybody's sakes I hope the situation changes very soon--that as soon as possible our troops are gone from Iraq, your infrastructure is functioning, and a permanent (democratic) government is in place.

Thanks so much for your Christmas post. I knew that in Islam Jesus was considered a prophet but I had never heard the whole story that is in the Q'ran. That was fascinating.

Here's a belated wish for a Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year wish-- and also, a wish for Peace on Earth (that one's always timely, IMHO).
Beth

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
I suggest you get a lawyer and sue the US Army in US courts if possible. This is the American way; we say 'Don't get mad, get even!'. If you win in court you get your self-respect and also some cash. Another thing is videotape US troops overreacting and being reckless, it will help win your case for you and you can also sell it to Al Jazeera.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Greetings, Ibn

Once again, it is a new day, I pray for you and yours health and safety. For almost 100,000 poor souls, there will never be another day here in this life. But I am sure that God will embrace them.

Here is something that I thought would clarify how one man feels about the struggle between Islam and the Infidels.

This is a long read, but you owe it to your children and grandchildren to read it and try and understand it. Discuss it with your family, friends and with your government representives. It is that important.

http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/006101.php

Here is one paragraph:

"Know that the weakness and powerlessness of the enemy have been exposed. You have heard that they were forced to seek an emergency budget. Their adversities have increased. They have countless problems. Their economy is declining and their dollar is constantly becoming weaker. Their deficit has hit record numbers, and despite that, Bush has signed a bill for an $800 billion debt limit.

As for their inability to provide trained soldiers qualified to fight this fierce war, reports show that 50 percent of soldiers come from units unqualified to fight in this war, such as the US National Guard. This is in addition to their failure in providing alternative military units, which resulted in forfeiting soldiers' leave, thus leading to a rise in suicide rates and psychological illnesses. Iraq has become a cemetery for US mercenaries and the thugs who came with them. So, we express our gratitude and thanks to God".

Please read it and try to understand who and what the enemy is, this is for all the marbles, this is for keeps.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

6:44 PM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

IF YOU KNEW that one person in about a thousand was trying to kill you everytime you stepped onto the streets, you would behave in a manner similar to these soldiers. That is not to say it doesn't stink to the stars, but IED's, ambushes, etc... have CREATED this kind of behavior. The problem is, this type of behavior also causes IED's, ambushes and the like....

The solution is to get soldiers out of cities and towns as soon as possible. To do this, Iraqis wanting peace and stability are going to have to continue to step up to the plate and help get a lid on all the violence....

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a lot of good comments here. It seems like almost everything has been said several times. I just want to add this: I am an American and when I read comments about America and Americans from people from other countries I often feel that the rest of the world has unrealistic expectations of us. We are expected to be better than human but we are just human beings. We are like human beings everywhere. We have a lot of very good people, a lot of not so good people and a few very bad people. The difference in America is that nobody ever has to be afraid to publicly point to someone and say "He did me wrong." No matter who it is, no matter how powerful, in America if someone does you wrong you can speak out against them. That's not to say that it's always easy and everything will be great but generally we Americans don't worry about being thrown in jail and tortured or executed for saying what we think and standing up for our rights even against important people.

Lynn

4:07 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Greetings, Ibn

I hope you and yours are healthy and safe.

You were mentioned in a post at 2slick's blog in a very favorable manner. I agree with his statement.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

3:21 AM  
Blogger Pat in NC said...

Dear Friend, We all regret the rough treatment your brother-in-law received by the American soldiers. Many have explained why this may occur and how to obtain redress for the wrong done. The Iraq police were polite and so different from Saddam's era. Realize the Iraq police have been trained by Americans in the right way to treat citizens and that the old brutal ways are not desirable in police. Brutality is not desirable in our military when dealing with good citizens either but they do not know who are the good citizens and do not
always have time to determine the difference when they are on the trail of bad guys. I am sorry for any innocent who is hurt or humiliated because of the ongoing conflict. If I understand correctly, humiliation is harder for people of your culture to accept where I would prefer humiliation to physical harm. This is a cultural difference but one we should be aware of - neither is right or wrong, it is just what we have learned from the time we were children. I pray that this new year is a much happier one for Iraqis and that you are able through your elections to choose good leaders, to develop a constitution that recognizes the rights of all Iraqis despite ethnic and religious differences. If we can help this occur, the Iraqi nation will be able to prosper and Iraqis can finally find peace within a safe and strong country. This is my wish for all good Iraqis in this new year.
Happy New Year!

4:56 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Isn't this quote interesting?
""Such behaviors make neutral people to turn against the Americans.""

Almost 2 years of fighting for a Free Iraq and some Iraqis still think they have the option of being "Neutral"

If "Neutral" is all Iraqi's are willing to give, the Iraq you see NOW is all that Iraq will ever be!!

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over 140,000 American soldiers live peacefully and happily in Germany, Japan, South Korea and throughout the world. ONLY IN IRAQ are they attacked 1,800 times per month.
This is entirely an Iraqi problem! If the Iraqi people would just be more like the Germans, Japanese, Koreans, etc, then this stuff would all end and you would have a decent chance at a future.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Leap Frog said...

Dear IBN_ALRAFIDAIN:

I thank you for speaking from your heart and writing from your mind. This is nothing for me to say, as I'm not living in a war zone, except I'm concerned for your safety and the future of Iraq. Sounds like tough situations are needing cooperation on both sides. Perhaps the military are not wanting to be held up by cars and thereby making themselves a prime target and that always takes many Iraqis as well!

And your poor brother-in-law, sounds like mistaken identity or false lead. Hope he has found a safer route to get to work. To brush this as intirely all the Americans' fault, well, not fair, as how do you resolve this issue? Elections are but 28 days away, every effort should be put into acheiving this by as many Iraqi as possible. A simple rule of 'giving way' road rule for all MNF forces vehicles as an example should be mandatory. Sort of like getting out of the way for firetrucks, police, and ambulances. Many Americans, coalition, and IP, INF are maimed die this way.

If the military are going after the "bomb planters" and the "suicide sillys" from killing innocent Iraqis and generally making everyone's life miserable, can't the 'neutral' Iraqis be at least accommodating this effort? Your own IP's who have died for just showing up at work or perhaps not taking a bribe from the terrorists, cannot die in vain.

Even recent errors need to be put aside while Iraqis prepare themselves for elections. Criminal claims need to be addressed in a calmer political environment with an viable legal system/department. Stay safe my friend, for I wish all Iraqi to live in peace.

8:37 AM  
Blogger KT said...

Hi Ibn,

I enjoy your blog, and this post struck me as being a shame to have happened. I agree with most of the other commenters that the soldier's have a good reason to act they way they do because they don't know who to trust and it could mean their lives or that or innocent Iraqis.

It shouldn't happen though, and the sad part is that as Americans and soliders, these guys are some of the nicest people on the planet. Most of them want to help and do the right thing, but things are twisted. I wish the Iraqi people could really get to know these guys when there is more security for both sides. I hope Iraqis will be patient and understand the big picture even though that is alot to ask.

Stay safe and keep blogging

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My fellow Americans will blast me on this one, but -- speaking candidly --I don't think the behavior you describe is disrespect for Iraqis, per se. A lot of the police powers here treat Americans exactly as your brother was treated. (Certainly not all) I don't know what kind of training they have gotten that promotes this. Sometimes I think they have just seen too much television and too many good-guy/bad-guy movies. Often it ends up in a lawsuit; it helps if someone is standing by with a video camera.

1:22 PM  
Blogger janet in venice said...

there is a brilliant post at Belmont club in which the blog author lays out exactly how the terrorists have orchestrated this sentiment to happen. the natural reaction of anyone who has been roughed up by forces in uniform is to turn wrathful against them, whether it be the police or troops or prison guards, etc. it has happened to me momentarily. in my case, i forgave them, because i knew the criminals in my neighborhood and my city were nearly out of control, and i wanted the police to get them all. i knew it was the criminals who had ruined it for the rest of us, creating a climate of fear and untrust among everyone, who once upon a time could be cordial to strangers but no more.
it would be better to realize that it is the terrorists who have deliberately and methodically brought affairs to this state, using every possible angle to turn people against one another and sow fear, hatred, violence, untrust and madness [in both senses] everywhere. they WANT iraqis to hate the americans. they WANT iraqis to burst into civil war against one another. their great glee is seeding all this chaos and evil feeling wherever they see a way. these are not godly beings in the remotest. were we all deaf and illiterate, not a word of their religious propaganda would touch us and there would be zero dissent as to whether they are of god or not. their acts would stand out plain, as the satanic, demonic thrill ride that they are. people of god do not bring any such results where they walk. we all know a person of god when we see them, no one has to tell us what we are seeing.
the only way to outlast this is restraint, forgiveness, and to know who is behind it.
there are only a handful of terrorists. there are 25 MILLION of you good iraqis. it is like the elephant fearing the mouse [and elephants DO fear mice, beleive it or not]--if you would but realize the difference in your numbers versus theirs, you could rise up as one and put them down, finally and forever.
perhaps your brother in law could wear some token with the american flag on it that he could display when encountering the troops. or learn some simple english phrases that they would instantly recognize, that they know no terrorist would ever utter, such as a thumbs-up and 'long live democracy!'
i seem to remember that during the looting of baghdad, many innocent iraqis managed to get the troops to understand that they were innocent by crying out 'no ali baba!' and pointing to themselves when approached aggresively.
the office of the army Judge Advocate General [JAG] is the place to lodge claims of damage and unjust encounters with the troops. you could look it up online or start with the blog "Dagger JAG" by army lawyer Eric M and ask him how your brother goes about getting full restitution and apology for what has been dealt him. Arabic culture has a tradition of how to make a wrong, righted between people, and Americans have one too. Both peoples have an inborn sense of wanting to make things right after a wrong. In fact, i read a blog just the other day by a US military vehicle driver who decided to swerve and miss a civilian car in his path, because he could, and he took reprimand for it later by a superior, but he preferred taking that, to running over the iraqis in front of him. the vast majority of us agreed with him, and not his commander.
i guarantee you, that for every iraqi who cries out at the injustices they have suffered at the hands of american troops, there is a soldier somewhere, troubled and unhappy about what he had to do, and wishing there was a way he could go back and make it up to the person, and when he isn't fighting, he's working his ass off, doing projects to improve the life of any iraqi he can. i think we might be the only army in the world who operates like that. other than, perhaps, ancient Rome....and we don't take slaves, either.
maybe later we can hold a Truth and Reconciliation period for iraqis to communicate to the americans and the americans to admit and apologize back. in fact, i think we are doing it right now, on all these internet boards and exchanges. which is something i don't think we've ever had during a war, before.
the military holds 'lessons learned' and 'after action' sessions, and the UCMJ to examine what they did wrong and do it better, after every mission, the iraqis have the JAG claim board, to lodge their complaints with, you now have a free press and access to the global media, and we all have the internet, by which you can tell us and we can immediately attend to you. quite remarkable, in all. talk to us. keep it coming.

1:57 AM  
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