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What The Hell Is Up With Iraq - My Thoughts  
User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3360 times:

Maybe it's the heat (oh hey look at that, the thermometer is reading 132F!), maybe it's just having seen my ga-zillionth (yes that's a number) IED explosion, or maybe it's just having lost a friend to what can only be described as "continued sectarian violence in the capital city of Baghdad." But at some point, once the dust has settled, I have to step back and ask, "What the f*ck is happening?"

Here's the situation as I see it:

For a place practically devoid of water... these people are swimming in hate. They hate Saddam for what he did to them. The Sunnis hate the Shiites because they can't oppress them any more. The Shiites hate the Sunnis because they were oppressed for so long. They hate Americans because we're not gods and we can't fix everything over night. They hate me and my buddies simply because we don't believe in their particular religion. They hate the heat, because lets face it, this kinda heat is only suppose to exist in the after-life of hell, not the here and now life. They hate their fellow countrymen for blowing perfectly good buildings up. They hate, they hate, they hate.

We fight IEDs. We illuminate entire road sections all night long with artillery flares... just to prevent IEDs from being planted. We patrol roads by flying up and down them 24/7, trying to detect IEDs. And while we have armor - the Iraqis don't - and we know this, so we try and protect them. But they hate us because we only get 6 out 10 IEDs before they blow up. But yet they know who is planting the IEDs. They know where they sleep and where they store their caches... but they refuse to help us. It's like the gang wars in LA and in NYC... everyone in the neighborhood witnessed the crime, but doesn't say a word to the cops... and then bitches about how the cops aren't doing a good job keeping the city safe.

And then there are the public works projects. I'm telling you - you cannot comprehend the sheer size of help we've given the Iraqi people. They come to us, "Mr American, we have no water. We need new pipe. You give?" And we're more than willing to help out, and we build new water pipes to their neighborhood. And three weeks later the insurgents blow the freakin' pipes up. But when we go down there to investigate the bomb damage, they throw rocks at us and curse us. It's like this, imagine you drove to work everyday on a highway full of potholes, and the town finally repaves the highway, but three weeks later some asshole tears up all that new asphalt... who would you be pissed at? The town or the jerk who tore up the ground!?

And lets not forget what the Iraqis do to other Iraqis! We've got Sunnis killing Shiites, Shiites killing Sunnis and Kurds killing... well... the Kurds mostly mind their own business. ...But that doesn't mean they won't join in the killing if things get boring enough 'round here. And that's the problem: Iraqis don't think of themselves as IRAQI, ...nope... they're Sunni, or Shiite or Kurdish. They don't think of themselves as a nation, and that means they don't place their loyalty to their nation, but to their particular religious sect. How do you make people respect themselves as a nation?

And what the hell is up with using civilians as shields? True story - flying slow over a LZ/PZ, our crew chief called out, "Shit! Sir we got three men, standing in a crowd, with AKs at our 9 o'clock, 200m firing and they're firing at us." Do we engage them? Usually not. We were able to extract and get away from them. But what about the times when we simply can't fly away to safety? What about when it is killed or be killed? I'm sorry, but I am gonna give the order to fire back. But that's not the point. Who does that!? Who stands behind unarmed people and takes pop shots at heavily armed American troops? And why aren't the other people flipping out at those gunman!? If I was in a crowd and my buddy started lighting off firecrackers right beside me - I'd kick his ass for trying to get me killed!

A lot of times I am reminded of old western movies. Everyone in town is some shady character just looking to strike. People cheat, steal and kill... and the only thing keeping the town from going down the crapper is the tough handed sheriff. And the theme for Iraq should be "the way of the gun" because that's all they respect and know. We're the tough sheriff, doing our damn hardest from keeping the town from bursting at the seems. This IS the Wild West.

And personally it's been very important for me to see as much of Iraq and the war as possible. That's why I try and make friends with people in all kinds of different MOSs and sometimes tag along with them. And I've stood out on the gate and screened people through. And I've had the crowds of Iraqi children come up to me looking for candy. And I'll never forget this one time I threw a handful of candy to them and they swarmed it like bees. And there was this one little Iraqi boy who was clearly the weakest of the group and the others beat the living snot out of him because he wouldn't give up his candy. And of course we stopped it - but not really, because all we did was delay his inevitable ass kicking. Iraqis only know violence - even at such a young age. And that's our biggest problem. We can't get the community leaders to sit down and hash out their problems in a civilized, democratic, fashion. They keep killing each other everytime we make some progress!!!

Seriously, how were we so wrong when it came to our expectations of what the Iraqi people would be like? You have to ask yourself, was it the decades under the crushing thumb of Saddam that drove them to thirst for violence... or were they always this brutal, and only kept in check by Saddam? I mean, they've got some real potential. And it's not like they don't have our support! If they got their act together and stopped raging against the machine, they could really turn things around.

I just don't understand it, though. I lost a friend today and I feel like shit. They're losing dozens of friends each day, and yet they do nothing but perpetuate the circle of violence.

-UH60

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 63
Reply 1, posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3344 times:

My condolences for the loss of your friend.

Now since I'm not Iraqi, I couldn't possibly presume to know what they desire for themselves, but it's becoming clear that as unfortunate as it sounds, the country needs to be divided into three along religious lines. Give up this forced unity they've been living under since the beginning of the past century, to give them less to fight over.

Big caveat here though, I'd ask them first what it is they want. Has anyone done that yet?



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineAirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2315 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3329 times:

Great post!

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
I just don't understand it, though. I lost a friend today and I feel like shit. They're losing dozens of friends each day, and yet they do nothing but perpetuate the circle of violence.

I understand you. I'm sorry about the loss of your friend as well. Their culture however (I can imagine) is extremely different from ours. They don't see a killing of another person as a big deal based on what I've read and heard, like we do.

Maybe it would be best just to pull out the forces, and concentrate on homeland security instead. I think that it will be impossible and if not impossible then almost impossible to prevent terrorist organizations from existing no matter how hard we try. There will always be extremists who see us as infidels and will do everything they can to try to destroy our way of living.

Just my

[Edited 2006-08-23 00:00:19]

User currently offlineDavestanKSAN From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1678 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3312 times:

 Sad Sorry for the loss of your friend. Thanks for the update and insight as to whats going on over there. I can't imagine what its like. Thank you for your service.

Stay safe  pray 

Dave



Yesterday we've sinned, today we move towards God. Touch the sky....love and respect...Safe Star!
User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3275 times:

Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 2):
Great post!

Ditto. A lot of people here need to read this thoroughly, to at least get a glimpse at what the middle east is actually like.


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11446 posts, RR: 76
Reply 5, posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3271 times:
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UH..sorry about losing your bud. I know that sucks. All you can do is drive on.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 1):
Big caveat here though, I'd ask them first what it is they want. Has anyone done that yet?

Most of them would love that except that no one really wants to give up the oil rich segments of the country, and the Turks would go apeshit if the Kurds got their own country.

I'm tempted to tell the Turks to go to hell since they did that to us after they promised to support what we were doing there, but they're long standing allies and have supported us in so much over the years.

Splitting it up doesn't work for the other neighbors either.

I wonder if that'll be the end result no matter what, though? The Iraqi people seem to be majority trying to get by under the radar and just live, whatever it takes, but the troublemakers and terrorists think that they're going to be able to come out on top if they just outlast everyone else and have the juice to enforce their law on everyone else.

Again, oil is the reason the country probably won't break up without a serious civil war.......and I see the Kurds, being the side that hates both Sunni Baathists and Shiites from Iran, being the ones who lend the edge to whichever side they pick if that civil war comes.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineNeilYYZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3263 times:

Great post! I can't imagine the situation over there, it seems tedious at best on CNN, but it must be horrible in person. I fully support what you're doing over there!

I'm also very sorry to hear about you're friend, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and their family.


User currently offlineQR332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3220 times:

Great post UH60, very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.. this post gives us yet another insight into what Iraq is like these days, and is a reminder of just how fucked up the country is.

A split in the country is a scary idea, as I can easily see two extremist states (Shiite and Sunni) that would become huge enemies, with the former having huge support from Iran... also, as DL said, the Turks would go apeshit if a Kurdistan was formed, as the Kurds in Turkey would probably try to annex themselves with the new Kurdish state.

A part of your post that I found very interesting is this:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
Seriously, how were we so wrong when it came to our expectations of what the Iraqi people would be like? You have to ask yourself, was it the decades under the crushing thumb of Saddam that drove them to thirst for violence... or were they always this brutal, and only kept in check by Saddam? I mean, they've got some real potential. And it's not like they don't have our support! If they got their act together and stopped raging against the machine, they could really turn things around.

About your point concerning Saddam and whether he was just keeping Iraq in check, this is actually a point of view held by many Arabs, that the Iraqis as a people have always been a very violent people who need a leader stronger than them to keep them from turning their country into what it is today. I personally don't know what to think... considering what is happening today, that seems to be the case, yet there has to be something more than that to it... ordinary Iarqis UH60s are probably not being helpful to the Americans not because they don't want to improve their country, but rather because they can see what is happening to anybody supporting Americans; you saw what happened with the Iraqi police force, and how people sympathetic to Americans are tortured and killed.

As for Iraq having potential, that is definatley true. Iraq is a country with huge oil reserves and a potentially huge tourism market, and if it develops, can probably become one of the richest Middle East states. Past examples have shown that Iraq and Baghdad can flourish, with the Babylonian civilization and how several Islamic dynasties were based in Baghdad and Damascus... too bad that the people of Iraq are choosing to throw this away...

Quoting LY744 (Reply 4):
Ditto. A lot of people here need to read this thoroughly, to at least get a glimpse at what the middle east is actually like.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?


User currently offline11Bravo From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1717 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3194 times:

Sorry to hear about your friend Chief. As Ian said, keep your head in a good place and concentrate on your job. I know it's easy for me to say, but you really need to put that in the "shit I'll think about later" pile if you can.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
And that's the problem: Iraqis don't think of themselves as IRAQI, ...nope... they're Sunni, or Shiite or Kurdish. They don't think of themselves as a nation, and that means they don't place their loyalty to their nation, but to their particular religious sect. How do you make people respect themselves as a nation?

That is, indeed, the problem, and I don't think you can make people change their spots on that very easily if at all.

The supremacy of religious self-identity combined with a culture that utterly fails to understand the concept of separation between Church and State is a recipe for sectarian animus and dysfunctional government.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 5):
I wonder if that'll be the end result no matter what, though?

I think it will. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we want to try and control that process. Do we try and minimize the inevitable upheaval and violence, or do we run like hell?

It's a bit like the little boy with his finger in the dike. If we just stand their with our thumb up our ass and our finger in the hole, it's going to get very ugly when the dike breaks. It's going to get a whole lot of Iraqis and American soldiers killed.

As you point out, partition has it's own set of problems: the Turks, the oil, the water, etc. It would be challenging, no doubt, but I think those things might be negotiable. What clearly isn't negotiable is sectarian power in a unified Iraq. The religious sects in Iraq don't want to share power; they want to kill each other.

What ever way we go, it needs to happen soon. This war is not politically sustainable in the United States for much longer. It's time to change our course or go home.



WhaleJets Rule!
User currently offlineUsnseallt82 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 4891 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (7 years 8 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3186 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
What The Hell Is Up With Iraq - My Thoughts

Hey man, I'm glad to hear you're doing okay. I'm sorry about your friend. I can think of several who are no longer with us as well. It happens all too often, but it sure as hell doesn't get any easier with each one. Keep hanging in there and things will get better...someday.

Hope to hear from you soon.



Crye me a river
User currently offlineGunsontheroof From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3493 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (7 years 8 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3136 times:

Very sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, I can't begin to comprehend how difficult that must be to deal with.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
And lets not forget what the Iraqis do to other Iraqis! We've got Sunnis killing Shiites, Shiites killing Sunnis and Kurds killing... well... the Kurds mostly mind their own business. ...But that doesn't mean they won't join in the killing if things get boring enough 'round here. And that's the problem: Iraqis don't think of themselves as IRAQI, ...nope... they're Sunni, or Shiite or Kurdish. They don't think of themselves as a nation, and that means they don't place their loyalty to their nation, but to their particular religious sect. How do you make people respect themselves as a nation?

Keep in mind that no one living in Iraq had any say in the formation of the country back in the 1920s when it was carved out of the Ottoman Empire by the British. The British basically defined a country without giving any regard to the history (or rather, the lack thereof) of cooperation between the various religious, ethnic and tribal factions living in the region, so it's not terribly surprising that they're having issues living together under one flag. Unfortunately, the only thing that's kept the country from having these problems in the past has been the oppressive dictatorship of people like Saddam Hussein. Iraq has never been truely united as one people, and I see little reason why it should be reasonably expected to be now.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
Seriously, how were we so wrong when it came to our expectations of what the Iraqi people would be like? You have to ask yourself, was it the decades under the crushing thumb of Saddam that drove them to thirst for violence... or were they always this brutal, and only kept in check by Saddam? I mean, they've got some real potential. And it's not like they don't have our support! If they got their act together and stopped raging against the machine, they could really turn things around.

Unfortunately, most people who supported the invasion of Iraq didn't have a very clear understanding of the history of the secretarian conflict and lack of political unity in the region. Anyone familiar with the history of the country could have told you that this was coming (though possibly not on this scale) and that the prospects for political stability in a non-authoritarian Iraqi society are quite dim.

But then, we were looking for WMDs, so I suppose that Iraq's history as far as political or civic cohesion is concerned wasn't relevent until Bush changed the reason for you folks being over there...but I digress.

At this point, I think the Iraqis need to begin exploring a multi-state solution. While I'm certain that this would be no easy task given the region's serious resource allocation issues, the country as it stands today has very little chance of ever achieving political stability, and insistance on retaining borders that are already defined by western powers isn't in the best interests of the Iraqi people, nor is a prolonged occupation in the interests of Americans.

All the best to you and your buddies. Stay safe.



Next Flight: 9/17 BFI-BFI
User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 8 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3120 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
They hate me and my buddies simply because we don't believe in their particular religion.

Boy, you are gonna get it now. You've insulted Islam, and moreover, you've provided a far too simplistic explanation for a complex problem.  Wink

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
They hate their fellow countrymen for blowing perfectly good buildings up. They hate, they hate, they hate.

You know, this is one thing about mob mentality I'll never understand - the proclivity to destroy one's own home. Just like race riots in the US, where for example, rioters torched South Los Angeles. Why not march on Beverly Hills and take out your anger on those people?

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
I just don't understand it, though. I lost a friend today and I feel like shit. They're losing dozens of friends each day, and yet they do nothing but perpetuate the circle of violence.

Very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

Quoting Gunsontheroof (Reply 10):
At this point, I think the Iraqis need to begin exploring a multi-state solution. While I'm certain that this would be no easy task given the region's serious resource allocation issues, the country as it stands today has very little chance of ever achieving political stability, and insistance on retaining borders that are already defined by western powers isn't in the best interests of the Iraqi people, nor is a prolonged occupation in the interests of Americans.

Breaking up the old Yugoslavia worked here, maybe it will work here.


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16694 posts, RR: 51
Reply 12, posted (7 years 8 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3087 times:

Sorry about the loss of your friend.

Howard Stern half jokingly keeps saying we should put Saddam back in power and arm him so he would support us and put down the Insurgency, and be a buffer to Iran.

I don't think it's a joke anymore, while I doubt they would put Saddam back into power. The notion of taking the former Bathist regime, forming an alliance with them and using them as we did the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to get things in control.

The problem I see is that we did not have anyone to turn Iraq over to like we did in Afghanistan with Karzi (sp?), the Shiite are in bed with Iran so forget them, the Kurds are happy by themselves in the North so leave them alone, that leaves the former bathists Sunni.

Bring back the Bathists (although don't call themselves that anymore), arm them, create a mutual defense treaty with them. We arm the Sunni Iraqis to buffer the Shiites under a couple of conditions.

1.) Put down the insurgency, foreign fighters must be jailed or killed, no letting go to someplace else like Afghanistan to kill NATO soldiers.

2.) get rid of the Shiite Militias, by anymeans neccessary. However no mass murders or targeting of civilians, the militias and Sadars army folks are the targets.

3.) Help the US by building the Iraqi military back up to something that causes sleepless nights in Tehran.

4.) Help the US battle Jihadist terrorists that target Americans, use the former Saddam Intelligence officers to subvert Iran's military build up and to sabbotage jihadist plots.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21353 posts, RR: 54
Reply 13, posted (7 years 8 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3082 times:

That is sad to hear. Sad
All the best to his family, to you and to those who knew him.

I don't think a satisfactory explanation of the "why" is really possible. As far as I can tell, iraqi society has pretty much derailed - and most people's lives with it. Every group of people can descend into total chaos under certain circumstances, and it looks as if Iraq had been more vulnerable than others in that regard.

We've discussed the political circumstances ad nauseam, but my impression is that the iraqis simply haven't found a positive perspective they could believe in in all of this, so the last fallback is the ancient tribal structure with all its bloody rules and rituals.

It's no good for sure. But I think the worse the situation gets, the more important it is to do one's possible best under the circumstances.

All the best, and please don't get lost!


User currently offlineGunsontheroof From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3493 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (7 years 8 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3075 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 12):

The problem I see is that we did not have anyone to turn Iraq over to like we did in Afghanistan with Karzi (sp?), the Shiite are in bed with Iran so forget them, the Kurds are happy by themselves in the North so leave them alone, that leaves the former bathists Sunni.

"Forget the Shiite", eh? You might as well say "forget democracy", because if it actually existed in Iraq, that's exactly who would be in power. Whether or not that's in the best interests of the United States should be irrelevant if democracy is truely the Bush administration's goal...afterall, it's not our country.



Next Flight: 9/17 BFI-BFI
User currently offlineSearpqx From Netherlands, joined Jun 2000, 4343 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (7 years 8 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3063 times:

UH60 - I'm truly sorry to hear about your friend. I can't say anything more about it than has been said, so I'll just add stay safe.


"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
User currently offlineCopaair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2800 times:

UH60- Sorry to hear about your friend man. Stay safe over in that hellhole.

IMO the way to solve this is to divide the country into 3 countries, and give each respective group their own country. The Kurds, because they have been helpful and friendly, and divide the other part between the Shiites and the Sunnis. This could end the fighting between the two. Next, I would get a 99-year lease on some land and build a base like we have down in Gitmo. I would also secure the oil lines, and keep some force of soldiers there, but stationed at the base, and send the rest home.

-Copa


User currently offlineKazzie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2787 times:

Sorry about your friend. Thats sad news  Sad

You keep yourself safe!


User currently offlineCURLYHEADBOY From Italy, joined Feb 2005, 940 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2747 times:

Great, great post, UH60FtRucker. This is something you don't read in the news, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I will have some serious reflection over them. Keep safe there!


If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...
User currently offlineKevinL1011 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2964 posts, RR: 49
Reply 19, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2730 times:

 old  My best friends brother flew "Slicks" for the Air Cav in '69 - 70. After his first tour in Nam, He began to question it all but still believed it was the right thing to do. When he returned home after his second tour, he was not the same person any more. His appreciation for the value of life, especially his own, had severely deteriorated. It bugged him that villagers would vandalize or steal something to get arrested. This would earn them a free helicopter ride to a detention camp with food and shelter. After a couple weeks, they'd be back at it again. He'd say, ....and these are the people we're trying to help !

Stateside, he had difficulty relating to his family and friends. Here, the things we stress over and consider as important were bullshit to him. When his 4 years were up, he could not see any reason to stay "home" and re-enlisted for a 3rd tour of Nam. He was denied and the Army sent him to Frankfurt instead. (At that time, it seemed that if you put in for Nam, you got Germany or Korea. If you requested Germany or Korea, off to Nam you went). Once there, he had severe discipline problems. Drank WAY too much, got in a lot of fights and knocked up a German girl whose parents hated him (along with all of the Hoffbrau owners in Frankfurt).

I last talked to him in May, 2002 at his dad's funeral. He's in an upper-management position at Fed-Ex in Memphis and seems well adjusted. We spoke about those times and he told me the only thing that kept him sane, was having a cyclic between his legs and a rotor pounding overhead. He admitted that if he'd gone back to Nam, he probably would have not have survived due to his own jaded mindset.

Flying was the only thing that allowed him to NOT think about "why" or "what for"?
In Germany, his stick time was cut way back and the missions were always "ass and trash" which created frustration. Unfortunately, he relieved his frustrations on the nice citizens of Frankfurt which got him in trouble.

He admitted that on the ground, nothing mattered and he had a death wish. Behind a cyclic, nothing was more important than the safety of his ship and crew which gave purpose to his life. He said that being stationed in Frankfurt was the worst time of his life but it allowed him to adjust.

UH60,your feelings strike a reminiscent chord for me. I don't want to see you loose your sensitivity or trust for mankind. Right or wrong, good or bad, you have a job to do. You've got a ship and crew who need your skills to protect them. Don't let any assholes interfere with this. They're not important.

If it helps....maybe you should blow a few of them over with your rotor wash and give 'em a good 'ol....

Ha ha!




474218, Carl, You will be missed.
User currently offlineTedTAce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2717 times:

UH, I'm sorry that death reached closer to you then you wanted. Once again, thank you for being there.

The only thing I can say is that you ARE there. IF there is going to be a diference in what happens there it is because you and your brothers in arms choose to keep trying to make a diference in the lives of these people. You are going to be stuck there for some time to come, you need to decide that you are either going to keep your head low and survive it, or keep trying to be bigger then just what's written on your orders.

Keep your head up. Your wife, your squad, and your country love you.


User currently offlineBHXFAOTIPYYC From Portugal, joined Jun 2005, 1644 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2655 times:

What's going on in Iraq today was predicted back in 1990 and one of the main reasons coalition forces halted their advance on Baghdad. One of my favourite books is "House of War" by BBC journo John Simpson written after the first Gulf War. Good insite into what was what. Back in 1990:

1. There were mixed messages from the coalition as to whether an uprising would be supported; the Kurds started one up north and the Shiites started one down south (Basra area) but support never came and Saddam's boot came down again. Saddam wasn't permitted to fly aircraft, but helicopters and tanks were used.

2. Iran whilst sympathetic to the Iraqi Shiites didn't want to add +/- 8 million Arabs to its own small but sometimes problematic Arab population. There was often a misconception in the west that Iran was about to do a land grab.

3. Turkey wasn't happy about a possible independent Kurdistan.

4. Removing Saddam was not part of the mandate regarding liberating Kuwait, and some felt the coalition would fall apart if it became clear this was part of the plan.

5. There was concern that the country would fragment along ethnic and religious lines, and that the best solution all around was to leave Saddam in place with a north and south no fly zone, with a weakened and demoralised military that was no longer a threat to his neighbours.

With the usual benefit of hindsight it proably would have been better to keep the momentum going and remove saddam when there was at least a coalition of some 40 countries and unprecidented co-operation, regardless of the fallout. At least we would be 15 years into a "new" Iraq, for whatever that would have meant. Instead we are just 2. Thanks UH60 for your insight, and stay safe.



Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9487 posts, RR: 42
Reply 22, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2617 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):

Thanks for that. I'm sorry about your friend.

My brother was over there at probably the safest time - a while after the "end of major conflict" but before things started getting as bad as they are now.

He was there as a civilian with the UN, to register "displaced persons". For several weeks he and his colleagues kept trying to report that the only people who'd been displaced were Saddam and his cronies but that's another story. Eventually the UN got the message and they were withdrawn.

What he saw there and what he heard from the locals is confirmed by your comments so I have no difficulty believing you. He has it all in print but I only have a paper copy. Of course, no-one took a shot at him, or was likely to, so the situation wasn't so "personal" for him.

Quoting BHXFAOTIPYYC (Reply 21):
With the usual benefit of hindsight it proably would have been better to keep the momentum going and remove saddam when there was at least a coalition of some 40 countries and unprecidented co-operation, regardless of the fallout. At least we would be 15 years into a "new" Iraq, for whatever that would have meant.

Those are my feelings, too. It would also have been 15 years less for a hatred of the west to worsen. The only difference is that I thought that at the time.


User currently offlineHotelLima From Sweden, joined Aug 2006, 16 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2611 times:

Thanks for the post, UH60FtRucker. Sorry to hear about your friend.

I've read your previous reports from Iraq as well and they have all been very interesting and fascinating. It's great to get an inside view. As Curlyheadboy said, this is something one doesn't get in the news that often.

Thanks again for a very good post.


User currently offlineN174UA From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (7 years 8 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2583 times:

My condolances over your buddy...I couldn't imagine losing a friend like that.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
or were they always this brutal, and only kept in check by Saddam?

 checkmark  Saddam and his goons were worse than all of them, and that fear kept the rest in check. I'm glad Saddam is gone, but that 'glue' that kept the Civil war from happening is gone, too. Now look what we have. Well, you've seen it first hand...I don't need to tell you that.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
If they got their act together and stopped raging against the machine, they could really turn things around.

But they won't. They don't have enough of an incentive to stop the killing. So, they keep on and on and on and on...it never stops.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter):
For a place practically devoid of water... these people are swimming in hate. They hate Saddam for what he did to them. The Sunnis hate the Shiites because they can't oppress them any more. The Shiites hate the Sunnis because they were oppressed for so long. They hate Americans because we're not gods and we can't fix everything over night. They hate me and my buddies simply because we don't believe in their particular religion. They hate the heat, because lets face it, this kinda heat is only suppose to exist in the after-life of hell, not the here and now life. They hate their fellow countrymen for blowing perfectly good buildings up. They hate, they hate, they hate.

I hate the fact you still have to be there. I supported the decision to go in, don't regret it, but the time has come where the Iraqis have to shit or get off the pot. We've given them so much, but now it's time for us to step back and let them take over. If they can't, I'm sorry, but we can't keep losing troops and throwing away our money.


User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 25, posted (7 years 8 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2583 times:

Thanks everyone for your kind words about the friend I lost. And honestly - it wasn't about him. I mean, he wasn't the first, and sadly probably won't be the last.

But what gets me all worked up is when I stop and say to myself, "What the fuck, Iraq?" I know there are quite a few a.netters who didn't support the war from day one. And many of you know that I did. And I deeply believe in what I am doing and our goals. But there comes a point when we've done, and given, all that we can. At some point the Iraqi people are going to have to take the wheel and start to successfully run this country.

I think - and this might sound strange - I don't have a "problem" dying in this war... if I knew that it ultimately meant Iraq had a fair shot at becoming a successful, prosperous nation. Strange I know. But as it stands, I feel like the Iraqis just either don't care or don't want to succeed. Trust me - they know the amount of effort the allies are putting into Iraq... and they're aware of the amount of allied human sacrifices made. And most importantly, they certainly know the staggering amount of Iraqi blood spilt at the hands of the insurgency.

... Yet they're still stuck in the mud. It's very frustrating.

And should we split Iraq up into three pieces? I don't see how you can do it. If you came here to Iraq, you would see how inter-woven the religious sects are. Imagine being tasked with separating New York City into an "Irish only" city, "black only" city, "Italian only" city," etc... Sure you could make rough estimates, but you would still be displacing a lot of people and pissing a lot of other people off.

The way I see it - the Kurds are the only ones that it might work with, simply because they're so removed from Iraq geographically. But they're not the ones causing all the problems! There is just no way of separating the Shiites from the Sunnis without creating the same problems Israel and Palestine are having: no matter what, you're "taking" someone's homeland.

I just get frustrated at times. Especially when I lose someone close to me. Because I want his death to have meaning and ultimately aid in making Iraq a better place. And, god forbid, I die in Iraq... I only hope it isn't a meaningless death.

And so far, I worry that it won't be WE who fail Iraq, but the Iraqis who will fail themselves.

-UH60


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