November 10, 2006

"Who's Rumsfeld?"

This is an interesting article in the New York Times. It is not often that one hears stories of pleasant encounters between American troops and Iraqi people. In this one some American soldiers intrude on an Iraqi home and use it to watch for the insurgent activity in the area. The host is gracious inspite of the forced intrusion.

He gives the the news from the midterm elections and Rumsfeld's departure. Soldiers do not seem to be interested in it. One even asks "who's Rumsfeld?". This exchange between the host and a soldier is revealing.

[The host] pointed at the young marines before him, smoking on his couches, drinking his hot, sweetened tea. “These soldiers, in Iraq, they make freedom?” he asked.

“Yes,” Sergeant McKinnon said.

“What kind of freedom?” he asked.

He had been talking about the living conditions in the province since the night before, when the marines appeared at his door.

There are almost no schools, he said. There is almost no medicine. There is little food, and no electricity except from generators. The list went on. No water. No work. Violence. Abductions. Beheadings. Explosions.

His son-in-law had been kidnapped by insurgents seven months ago, he said, and a note the insurgents left said he was abducted for being friendly with American troops. He has not been seen since.

In Baghdad, he said, Iranian-backed death squads were killing Sunni citizens. The country was falling apart.

“You like freedom?” he asked the sergeant. “This kind? This way?”

“No,” Sergeant McKinnon said.

“I think you and I and many people do not like freedom in this way,” he said. “I believe this. I am sure.”

“It is wrong, the American Army coming here. It is wrong.”

This gives an idea how even Iraqis not driven by hatred for America feel about this war.


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