A letter from Iraq

From the Wall Street Journal, AKA The Opinion Journal
Letter From Iraq
Here's an email we received from a U.S. military officer who asks us to withhold his name:

I am currently stationed here in Iraq and have been here for the past 11 months; I am an adviser to the Iraqis and meet them on a daily basis. I have been in many locations in the country and am involved on a daily basis together with the Iraqis fighting the insurgency.

The media manipulation by the insurgents is brilliant and extremely effective. The press has become a puppet for the insurgents; the insurgents know exactly what they are doing with these "massacres" (quoted here because the investigation has not been completed, nor have any charges been filed) and the political nightmare they will cause the current administration. Bodies are produced for film, and there is zero fact-checking by the media--the media eat up this "news" like there is no tomorrow. A couple of hundred bucks paid by the insurgents to a few guys/ladies in the town where this "massacre" occurred to make up some bad news and pine for the BBC's or CBS's or whoever's cameras is a nice month's salary for many and money well spent by the insurgency.

All the Arabs (Sunni and Shia), Kurds and Chaldeans I have come to know well here will tell you that Arabs are emotional people who tend to exaggerate. A lot. Experience has shown that "50 insurgents hiding out in XX location" is five, at most 10. "Three hundred dead" at the morgue is at most 40. "A huge cache with WMD" is 45-50 weapons. It is a cultural norm and is accepted over here as a norm. It is reported in the West as fact. With no fact-checking.

When we convoy, all in the town/village know when and where there is a bomb/IED/VBIED that is targeting coalition forces. This is not so true in Baghdad, but in the outlying towns all know. What is the culpability for those people in the village/town? Would the Marines be guilty in the U.S. under the same circumstances?

I do not know whether or not the Marines are guilty. A Marine's job is to "close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver," and I can guarantee its effectiveness. But the insurgents have the ear of the press. Hopefully the politics will be put aside for the investigation and the facts will be told, whatever they may be.

We live in hope but I'm sure the media can be relied upon to take a negative view prior to the release of the report on the investigation.


  • It’s a pity the military has been sent on such a bad mission. I’m certain that all soldiers in this situation just want to survive. The officer’s comment that “all in the town/village know when and where there is a bomb/IED/VBIED that is targeting coalition forces” indicates that this conflict is lost. Culpability? Sorry, Sir, there is none. It’s their country. There is no honor, hope, or reason to be there. The mission is wrong, always was, and cannot be corrected.

  • I can never get round the fact that people say removing Saddam and starting democracy is a bad mission. Have you never read of what it was like to live in Iraq previous? The fact that thousands are being killed monthly by the terrorists gives day-to-day reason to help Iraq defeat those who slaughter indiscriminately.

    The plan needs adjusting from time to time but there definitely is hope, honor and reason.

  • What on earth is going on?
    Don’t we learn from our mistakes?
    The media misreprented the Vietnam War, they are doing it again in Iraq.
    It’s alright to say that we shouldn’t be there, but does that help the current situation?
    So… do we want to rabbit on about how wrong this all was… or do we want to do something positive?
    Should we abandon the Iraqies?
    Or should we do the right thing and help them achieve democracy?
    My question to A Vet is…. why don’t you want to support the Iraqies that have voted overwhelmingly for a democracy?

  • Dear kev,

    I recall mentionng the C word some time ago to you.

    “Civil war”; kev in Iraq.

    Still denying the undeniable.

    Over to you.

  • Dear Kev,

    Good news abounds – Bush hammered, Ruymsfeld gone and the Democrats in cobtrol of the house and the senate.

    Still think that the yanks will “stay the course”? Not bloody likely. More of the “cut and run” eg Vietnam and “Vietnamisation” – this time its Iraq and Iraqisation.

    Not working from what I have heard and seen just like Vietnam. The resistance are not all “terrorists” or a “few deadenders as famously described by Dear Donald.

    Most are Iraqis that are pissed off with being “occupied” just like the French in WW2, Holland, Poland etc etc etc. if Astralia was invaded I would hope that a significant proportion of the population would be involved in “insurgency”. I am sure that you Kev would be in there.

    Wrong reasons for going to war and they now reap the rewards; an ascendant Iran with probable nuclear weapons. Iran was shadowed by Iraq and the balance of power has been detsroyed in the region.

    Democracy has no chance of surviving with the Shia fundamentalists to take over the running of Iraq when the yanks depart.

    Feel deeply sad for the fathers, mothers, sisters , partners and wives of the dead and maimed US soldiers who were sent by politicians. Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush should rot in hell. Their psychopathic policies have been a disaster. The only good news to date is that the US public have not picked on the GI’s as they did at the latter stages of the war in Vietnam.

    US prestige is at an all time low.

    They were warned. “Old Europe” warned them’ and thank God they kept out of the war.

    Concentrate on fighting terror not in Iraq but in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

  • I’ve allowed this comment though as you are entitled to gloat but don’t get carried away with the US poilitical situation. Promises made in the heat of the night to attract voters don’t necessarily translate well in the morning. I doubt the Democrats will just cut and run as their own advisors will be telling them that would not be a good call.

  • It’s WIN WIN for gools like peter. stay, leave the US is to blame. If they leave and Iraq becomes more chaotic the drooling clown will not care.

    If Australia was there under the UN banner and ROG (stand by and observe the slaughter), most of the same critics would be silent.

  • Gary,

    Why should’nt I gloat. I am not gloating about the deaths and injuries to the soldiers; also for the population of that country.

    Bush was warned by many yet he had “God’s ear”. Yes god; he said he was being guided by him.

    How familiar does that sound; just like a fundamentalist Islamist. They are tarred by the same brush. A “fundo” christian is just as bad as “fundo” Islamist.

    Funny about God, I recall that german Soldiers slaughtered their way through Eastern and Western Europe wearing “Gott Mit Uns” on their belt buckles. Look what bloody good it did them.

    God must have been looking the wrong way during the last US election.

    Of course the US is to blame. Who made the presentation to the UN (Powell) with disagrams of WMD’s and Gas wagons etc. Who could not convince most countries that going to Iraq was for good reasons. Why of course the good old US. It wasn’t Mr Blick or Annan.

    The US failed to convince then with the bulldust and now they pay for it. Sorry; Johnny and others don’t pay but ordinary soldiers and their families who are bleeding out there. Where is Johhny’s sons – did they volunteer – not blood likely mate ; might get hurt.

    Who followed like a conger line of suckholes; Good old Johhny Howard the man of steel and that other dead duck Balir.

    It is a complete balls up and the US has lost its moral authority and prestige in ther world.

    Crap flows from the top eg from bush and Cheney.

    Don’t blame the poor old soldirers who have to die and be maimed to ‘complete” their dirty work.

    Start dialoging with the stakeholders such as iraq, iran and saudi.

    we don’t dialogue with terrorists! How often have I heard that – the english about the IRA; the US and the Israelis about Arafat and the PLO. One mans terrorist is another man liberation fighter. Not all of the “terrorists” are radical Islamists. they are ordinary Iraqis fighting against an occupier.

    Partition the bloody place just like India in 1948 and most recently in the Former Yugoslavian Republic and then get out of their affairs.

  • You’ve made clear what motivates you in previous threads peter. It isn’t concern for Iraqi’s or the Coalition. Drop the faux platitudes.

  • Partition the bloody place just like India in 1948 and most recently in the Former Yugoslavian Republic and then get out of their affairs.

    And they will deploy another 9/11…good plan