Sunday, May 16, 2004

Warriors and Saints

The USA is in a tough position. They are battling Al-Sadr militia forces is Najaf, Karabala and a few other places. They are finding themselves being engaged by enemy forces hiding in important Shiite mosques or monuments. Washington of course is trying desperately to avoid collateral damage, while giving the US forces authority to defend themselves. The commanders on the battlefield have a tough decision to make. Do you want to fire on a building insurgence are firing from and take out the threat, and risk alienating many Shiites in the process, or risk losing soldiers by trying to avoid using Artillery, Airstrikes, and any other kinds of indirect fire. A big problem is, most Iraqis are staying on the side lines, waiting to see which side is winning. Which way the wind is blowing. They wont support a loser, especially if they're worried about maybe the USA leaving and they're killed by militia and other nut cases as being collaborators. The USA needs to toughen up and crush this now, or it should just leave. There is no center ground. Sadly, I think most Iraqis are starting to believe the USA will get sick of it's casualties and will leave. I myself, believe this too.

The daily struggle for a US soldier is pretty tough mentally. They are stuck in the process of fighting anti-coalition forces, and have to be at the same time a compassionate force trying to help Iraqis. I think why there was no resistance to the US occupation in Germany and Japan was just the whole place was so completely obliterated by the end of the war, that everyone was sick of it and finally decided it was time to rebuild and start all over again. Americans in Iraq have a problem with people giving them thumbs up and saying they love America, and then later on, they catch the same guy firing an RPG at us. We get frustrated with the ideology that we are evil occupiers, when it is clear we are trying to get out as soon as possible, but these insurgence are only making it take longer for us to leave Iraq. The point is to leave Iraq when things have settled down and people don't have to fear being killed by militia. If they would just put their arms down and help, we would actually leave Iraq that way sooner than we'd leave if it plunged into chaos. I've made a handful of Iraqi friends, even a few that I gave my mailing address to. Even one of them had my buddies cell phone number and actually recently called him a few weeks ago and told him he wanted to come to America and see us again. It's really unique that as soldiers in a foreign country you are both fighting these insurgence and at the same time you are fighting for hearts and minds.