April 8, 2004

A Letter From Iraq

[via a view from the classroom.]

"This is a note my friend Scott sent to his wife the day after the four contractors were killed in Fallujah. Scott was in the Armed Forces for years and is now working in Iraq as a contractor helping to rebuild Iraq while his wife and kids are in Flordia. He has a ground-level view, and his words are chilling and scary and powerful.

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'I know about the news. We need Collin Powell back in charge. Discipline is slipping in the forces and it reminds one of the Viet-Nam pictures of old. Instead of a professional military outfit here we have a bunch of cowboys and vigilantes running wild in the streets. The ugly American has never been so evident. Someone in charge needs to drop the hammer on this lack of discipline, especially that which is being hown by the Special Forces, security contractors, and "other government agencies". We won the war but that doesn't mean we can treat the people of this couotry with contempt and disregard with no thought to the consequences. Those contractors, just like the last ones who were killed, were out running free with no military escort. Armed or not, that is a breach of protocol and a severe security risk. While I grieve for the families of those persons I would like to see the person who decided that it was alright for them to convoy out there without the military brought up on charges, unless of course that person was in the convoy, in which case at least he won't be getting anyone else killed. I'm angry about how we're treating peope here. I know it's not the entire military, in fact it is a very small, select group that believes they are somehow above the law of not ony this land but also the law of the military and those laws we hold dear in ouor own country. If someone were to try to treat our fellow Americans the way some of these people are treating the Iraquis the courts would certainly lock them away. I would phrase that last line harsher, but in light of recent events that would be cruel. Discipline is needed here, and I'm not certain that our current administration is prepared to take the steps necessary to crack down on all of this. In order for discipline to be restored I do believe Donald Rumsfield would have to admit that perhaps Powell's rules of war were in fact valid.

Please feel free to send my comments to any Senator, Member of the House,
Governor, President, or Secretary of Defense that you would like.'
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'I don't know how to contexualize these words. I'm embarrassed to be an American because of the acts of the few that he speaks of, but I remain of my country because I am proud to know Americans like Scott who have served our nation in ways I can't imagine doing. I am angry that he is there, away from his wife and kids, seeing what he is seeing. I am angry that this job was the best thing he could find after giving the Army many years of service. I am angry that this administration has created this situation, that now seems more dire by the day.'

Posted by Chris Lehmann

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