Iraq II: A Kidnapped Soldier & A Tortured Soul
This post concerned the astonishing capitulation of U.S. troops looking for a kidnapped Army linguist-interpreter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who had ordered them to take down a cordon thrown up around Sadr City, the Shiite stronghold in Baghdad. This was yet another instance -- albeit the most egregious -- in which the PM acquiesced to Muqtada al-Sadr, the lord high executioner of Sadr City and a rabid anti-American cleric whose bloodthirsty militia is probably behind the kidnapping of Army Specialist Ahmed Qusai al-Taai.
You don't get to be a chief master sergeant without spending a whole lot of years doing a whole lot of things, so what this fellow calling himself Chief RZ had to say to me certainly was reflective of that in a perverse sort of way:
We did not abandon our troop -- a foreign-national interpreter? Correct? We modified the method for searching. We are in Iraq at the request and permission of the democratically elected government there. We can leave when we want and leave that job of assistance to NATO, the United Nations, or the Arab league, or the Iraqis themselves.
What would be your preference? Do you speak for the DNC?-- Chief RZ
* The notion that Al-Taai was not abandoned.
This is technically correct. There are said to be about 2,000 Iraqi and 1,000 American troops actively looking for Al-Taai, who is believed to be alive, although injured from a beating, and may have a ransom on his head, possibly demanded by Baathists. The searches have led to the death of one American soldier, the wounding of eight and the capture of 32 suspects. The U.S.-led Hostage Working Group also is involved.
That said, as symbols go the removal of the cordon in acceding to the puppet Al-Maliki and his master, Al-Sadr, was potent and a victory for the forces of evil.
* The notion that Al-Taai's life is worth less because he is not a "true" American.
This is despicable, and people like Chief RZ often reek of self-righteous racism when they discuss the war.
As it turns out, Al-Taai, whose family emigrated to the U.S. in 1980 when he was 15, is a naturalized American citizen with all the rights and responsibilities that come with that. What's more, he volunteered to serve in Iraq, where there is a desperate need for soldiers who speak Arabic. Chief RZ not only devalues Al-Taai, but also my friends in the previous post at Kiko's House today -- Zappy, Treasure, Konfused Kid, Fatima and Chikitita -- simply because they are not white Christian Americans like him.
* The notion that the U.S. can turn over its mission to any number of international and regional organizations and quit Iraq.
Again, this is technically correct but misses a larger point.
The U.S. thumbed its nose at the U.N. and invaded Iraq with scant international support. Its mission has been an ill planned and poorly executed catastrophe in every respect -- the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time -- and has resulted in defeat being plucked from the jaws of victory in Afghanistan, which was the right war, etc., etc.
* The notion that the U.S. is in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government.
Yet again, this is technically correct. The U.S. mission is contingent on a U.N. resolution under which the Baghdad government has asked that U.S. troops stay until the country is stabilized. Incidentally, the resolution expires next month and Al-Maliki will have hell to pay from Al-Sadr and many Iraqis if he asks that it be extended.
The resolution was adopted well after the fact. And the fact of the matter is that The Decider in Chief invited himself into Iraq on the basis of trumped up and ultimately false grounds.
* The notion that anyone who opposes the war must "speak for the DNC," or Democratic National Committee.
People like Chief RZ clutch a security blanket embroidered with US vs THEM to their breasts while sucking their (right-wing) thumbs. They would be lost without these "blankies" because they are unable to look at the war -- let alone the larger world -- in anything but the simple-minded ways of children.
A vast majority of Americans initially supported the war. I was one of those people. But as the lies, deceits and distortions became apparent, the support began eroding and today a majority of Americans oppose the war. That is how our democracy works.
So here's my response to Chief RZ:
You may have seen a lot and done a lot, but the lessons life offered obviously have been lost on you.
You see yourself as a proud American veteran.
I see you for what you really are -- a bitter and confused racist who dishonors a country and Army that you profess to love.
I am praying for the safe return of a fellow countryman that you demean, but there have been 11 American deaths in Iraq in the first three days of November alone, and it may take more than prayer.
In the meantime, I would suggest that you need to pray for your warped soul. And thank you in advance for voting next Tuesday, as I am sure you will, for the candidates who support that piece of excrement in the Oval Office who got us into this catastrophic mess.-- Shaun