From a medic in Iraq.

Following the article I sent about Bush’s national address and troop
increase, I thought it was a good idea to let you all know what the
perspective is over here. I’m tired of hearing the media’s skewed
version, the politicians squabbling over what they read in a report, and
the average ill-informed American ranting about things he knows NOTHING
about.

I’ve been over here a couple of months now, and I’ve learned more about
this country than a year’s worth of watching CNN. I’ve sat in mission
briefs with Colonels, talked with village elders, had tea with Shieks,
played with the kids. And I agree with the President. We need more
troops and we need to take greater action.

There are 3 major factions here. The Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. The
Shiites are in the majority, but Saddam was a Sunni, so he kept the
Shiites in check. Everyone hates the Kurds, who are Christian and in the
vast minority. The Kurds received the brunt of Saddam’s murderous
tyranny. Now that Saddam is gone, the Shiites have taken control of
Baghdad. The largely peaceful Sunnis are now the victims of radical
Shiite terrorism. So the young Sunni men, who can no longer go to work
and support their families, do what all young men would do. They join
the Sunni militia and battle the Shiites. And thus the country sits on
the brink of civil war.

But this war is between them. They largely do not concern themselves
with the U.S. troops. The insurgents who battle the Coalition Forces are
from outside the country. And the biggest problem down here isn’t the
insurgents. Its the politicians. The local politicians. Even though the
country is controlled by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, downtown
Baghdad is controlled by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The
Shiites follow al-Sadr and thus the Prime Minister does what al-Sadr
says. Think of it as if a warlord controlled New York and blackmailed
the President into diplomatic immunity.

When 1st Cav (mainly 2/5 Cav) came here in 2004, they took downtown
Baghdad (known as Sadr City) by force. It cost many lives, but after a
year, we held an iron grip on the largest insurgent breeding ground in
Iraq. The insurgents were afraid of the Horse People, and rightfully so.
But when 1st Cav left, al-Sadr influenced the Prime Minister to kick out
the Coalition forces from that area of Baghdad. He said the Iraqi
military forces could hold the city. But all that happened was al-Sadr
regained control of his cty, and it is now a heavily guarded fortress. A
place where insurgents and terrorists can train and stockpile arms. And
we cannot go back in becuase the Prime Minister won’t let us. Our hands
are tied.

So where does al-Sadr get his backing? From Iran and Syria. Iran
supplies him with money and Syria supplies the terrorists. The
insurgents that battle the Coalition Forces are from Syria, Somalia and
dozens of other places outside of Iraq. Iraq is literally a terrorist
breeding ground. They have terrorist and sniper schools here. Why not?
They train by teaching them to attack the military forces here. And they
have an endless supply of these training tools. They have
factoriessitrep in Sadr City to build bombs. Both Iran and Syria have
openly proclaimed their number one goal in life is to destroy the great
Western Devil and the little Western Devil (America and Britain). Iran
wants to control Iraq to further this purpose. Al-Sadr will get to "run"
the country and live like a king, but in reality Iran will pull the
puppet strings. Iran will have access to thousands of radical Shiites
who will do whatever al-Sadr tells them to. And Iraq will be used as a
breeding ground for terrorism. Terrorism that will be targeted directly
at America and Britain. The Iraq Study Group advised we should let Iran
and Syria help with rebuilding? Bravo to President Bush for striking
that idea down and vowing to keep those two countries out of Iraq. 

So how do the Iraqi people feel about everything? Of course they don’t
want the Americans here. But they would far rather have us here than the
Iranians. My platoon visited an average Sunni village on a patrol a few
days ago. Their only source of income was to farm, as they could not go
to the city to work for fear of violence. Many of the young men had
already run off to join the militia for no other reason than to feed
their families. They had no school or hospital near them and the
community was dying. The village elder’s granddaughter was very sick and
I was able to treat her. Afterwards he invited me and my Platoon Leader
to sit in his house and have tea with him, and we talked about the
situation.

The people want peace. The Shiites kill the Sunnis because al-Sadr
tells them to do so. The Sunnis fight back because they have no choice.
They are glad Saddam is dead (Sunni or not), but do not want to replace
him with another dictator in a politician’s clothes (which is what
al-Sadr will become). And they especially don’t want Iran in charge.
Many innocent Iraqis will die if this happens. These are the words that
came out of the elder’s mouth:

"We do not want America here, and America does not want to be here. But
you cannot leave because the militias controll the country. America must
use the might of its giant army and sweep through, root out and destroy
the militias. Then Iraq can be free and you can leave."

What appears to have happened within our diplomatic community, is that
Prime Minister finally realizes that his days are numbered. If al-Sadr
remains, he will be kicked to the curb. So hopefully he is about to
allow us to reenter Sadr City, root out and destroy the enemy. A
dramatic troop increase will allow us to do this. And the Horse People
are back and ready to finish what they started over 2 years ago.

If leave now, it will be a failure for democracy. Iran will contoll
Iraq and the end result will be more terrorist attacks on America. The
American people don’t want soldiers dying over here, but its better than
American civilians dying over there. Do NOT forget 9/11. They will do it
again. The moment we loosen our grip on the noose, they will do it
again. And the only way to root out the evil here is to stop beating
around the bush, increase troops and destroy the insurgents once and for
all. The Iraqi government cannot do this on their own. The Iraqi
security forces are inadequate for this task. We are the only ones who
can stop al-Sadr.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for all of your efforts in Iraq. I know that the military is not portrayed in a favorable light from the media but I have heard in person from several people who have been in Iraq and they said that the military has been portrayed in such a horrible light and that most of the stuff we hear is complete trash; I whole heartedly agree with them! I am proud of this country’s military!!!
    I really appreciate all that you have done for this country. Thank you so much!

  2. This is right along the lines I have been telling people for 2 years, but some are more interested in just bashing Bush. Too bad they called you guys off Sadr the first time you had him holed up. I had heard that from a friend whose son was there. This country has to wake up and let the military do their job!
    I’m going to see if our paper will publish this if it’s OK. Thanks for the info and for your sacrifices, and service.

  3. We can raise troop numbers, lower troop numbers, bring fresh troops in; whatever. None of that will do one damned bit of good as long as we use public opinion as our guide. Folks, this is WAR! What part of that do you not understand? Lawyers for those who would rape and kill your daughter? Criminal charges for soldiers who are doing what they do best? Lawyers are one of the evils in America, and the Judge Advocate General staff are no damned better. They feel that they know best how to conduct war; if that is what they think, they should be point man on every damned patrol out there, so that they can demonstrate just how to handle this situation. If an American dies in battle, that is sad, but it is what he offered to do. The true sadness is that this same soldier could have survived if the method of operation were left to the leaders in the field. This is not the Bastogne Forests, what in hell are we doing using 50 year old outmoded methods of combat?
    I just don’t get it.
    nuf sed

  4. I had someone comment not too long ago about why we were still in Iraq if none of the Iraqis even want us there. I corrected her and said,”No, they don’t want us to HAVE to be there. There is a huge difference.” It seems that Bush bashing has become a blind way of life. I’d rather live with my eyes wide open.

  5. Speaking of poles, I just heard a FOXNews pole that said 22% of respondents want the Bush “surge” strategy to fail.

    WHAT THE F**K IS WRONG WITH THAT 22%?!?!?
    They actually hate Bush soooooo much that they WANT to see brave men like this medic get killed by islamofacist nutjobs???????
    22% of respondents need to have their asses kicked.

  6. HEY,HEY HEY, GUNN NUTT,
    YOU GOT THAT RIGHT. MUST BE THOSE DEM LIBS WITH THEIR HEADS SO FAR UP THEIR ASSES THEY CANT BREATH. AND I WILL BET TWO OF THOSE JERKS WAS NANCY BLOWSKI AND CINDY SHITHEAD..NO I’M NOT BIASED, I JUST SUPPORT MY PREZ AND TROOPS.

  7. HEY,HEY HEY, GUNN NUTT,
    YOU GOT THAT RIGHT. MUST BE THOSE DEM LIBS WITH THEIR HEADS SO FAR UP THEIR ASSES THEY CANT BREATH. AND I WILL BET TWO OF THOSE JERKS WAS NANCY BLOWSKI AND CINDY SHITHEAD..NO I’M NOT BIASED, I JUST SUPPORT MY PREZ AND TROOPS.

  8. You got that right Gunnutt. Wish it was only 22% here in CA. I don’t understand it, wanting USA to fail. But, I have to say, I don’t really have much faith in “polls” at all. None of them.
    God bless our troops! Thank you “Medic in Iraq” for writing this. We are so grateful to you. Prayers for your safety, and that many people will see your words.

  9. This has been my primary bitch about this war for the past couple of years..if we in fact know who the bad guys are then lets go take out the bad guys..but if the gotdam politicians tell us we cannot do that then get out of Dodge and let them have it..
    I support a troop buildup providing the troops are allowed to do their job but to send in more troops yet continue to let al-Sadr live as a free man just doesn’t compute..just sayin’

  10. Thanks for the informative post from the Medic from Iraq. I can’t even imagine what a day in his boots must be like. We need alot more than prayers for peace I am afraid but I am willing to support the troops in any way that I can.

  11. Thank you Major Pain for giving this soldier a venue to speak out. Wow! what an informative message,and thank you to this soldier and the others for their service – it si appreciated! I wonder if the NYT would even print part of this in the letters to the editor section. Probably not. But Marty is right, we need to get out of their (the military) way, quit tying their hands and let them finish this thing.

  12. MAJOR P .
    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THE MEDIA ON OUR SIDE,NOT GOING TO HAPPEN,THEY DON’T HAVE THE GRAPES TO SAY IT AS IT IS.NET WORK NEWS AND THE CLINTON NEWS NETWORK ARE NOT ALLOWED IN MY HOUSE. I WILL WATCH FOX NEWS ,RUPERT MURDOCK HAS HIS HEAD TOGETHER.ALL THE OTHER REPORTERS TELL YOU WHAT THE SUITS UPSTAIRS TELL THEM TO SAY.
    HOW ONE SIDED CAN THEY GET? SOMEONE WITH HALF A BRAIN CAN ADD 2AND2 BUT SOME HOW THEY COME UP WITH 5 .MUST BE THAT NEW MATH THAT I NEVER EVEN FIGURED OUT.

  13. This is what I’ve been trying to tell people for quite some time. Hardly anything you get from the news is what’s really happening. You have to hear it from the troops in the field. I wish there was a way to get this medic’s post in the news……and the others who are there and are telling the real story.

  14. HEY KBUG.
    I HAVE HAD THE HONOR OF MEETING TWELVE OF OUR TROOPS WHEN THEY GOT HOME TO CT. AND THEY ALL FEEL THAT THEY ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
    FUNNY THING IS THEY GET TO WATCH C.N.N.. I LOVE A PERSONAL LETTER FROM TROOPS TELLING ME THE REAL STORY.
    THE NET WORK WILL TELL US ABOUT HOW MANY OF OUR TROOPS WERE KILLED.BUT NEVER OF HOW MANY BAD GUYS THEY GOT, THINK ABOUT IT? A DEM PLOY?THEY JUST WANT AN AMERICAN BODY COUNT TO PISS PEOPLE OFF TO END THE WAR.I SAID IT BEFORE, LET OUR MILITARY DO ITS JOB AND COME HOME PROUD WITH A JOB WELL DONE.THEY KNOW THEIR JOBS AND DO IT WELL.
    SEMPER FI…BIG BRO JIM I

  15. MEDIC,CORPSMAN, THEY ARE ALL ANGELS, I KNOW ,I MET ONE.BUT PLEASE LETS NOT FORGET OUR K-9S. THEY NEED YUMMIES AND LOVE TOO. AND A BIT OF GOODIES FOR THE TRAINERS.
    DOG BISCUITS,PULL TOYS, FRIZZBEES, TENNIS BALLS.
    HEY COM’ON THEY ARE OUR TROOPS TOO.
    CAN YOU SMELL AN I.E.D ?

  16. My husband is in 1CD and he was over there on his 2nd tour but he had medical reasons that he came back but I support the soldiers over there and hope that they come back to the states safe and sound.

  17. I just want to be sure that when we have to go BACK to war against the Islamic extremists, wherever it is, Pelosi and Reid’s grandkids and Murtha’s and Hagel’s and Warner’s relatives are out in front of what’s left of the Peace Corps troops!

  18. Thanks to the medic for great information. I am impressed that there are so many well-spoken people who have commented in a positive way. If you believe the news media, no one supports our troops and our president. Who ever heard of running a country and/or a war by opinion poll?
    Can anyone think of a way to get more and broader news coverage–short of doing the stupid things the Cindy Sheehans of the country do to protest–for those of us who don’t agree with the media? It is time to stand up and be counted, but how?
    Dr J

  19. I know that my post is coming over a year after the last one, but since this is obviously still a topic of importance, and because I just came across this today, I thought I’d post something myself. I appreciate the thoughtful comments by the original poster. It’s clear that you realize what a tough spot our country is in, and it’s very noble that you’re willing to do whatever needs to be done to bring about a remedy. That said, I have a real problem with a lot of the replies since. Bashing “libs”, only watching Fox News, and coming up with names for Democratic congressional leaders is just as bad as the fringe left-wingers who allow their personal hatred of the president get in the way of rational decision-making. If you’re going to keep your eyes open, don’t be too quick to get in line with a policy just because you heard it from a source you support.
    Yes, I would consider myself a Democrat, and yes, I never believed we belonged in Iraq in the first place. After 9/11, I thought we would be better off pursuing Taliban forces in Afghanistan with the full brunt of our military power, but the fact is, we entered Iraq, we’re there now, and we need to move onward. I realize that the decision was also not solely that of the president, and whether I like the guy or not really isn’t important when we’re spending as much as we have been and seeing American soldiers under-equipped and under-compensated for the job they’ve been doing.
    Like most of you (I hope), I think war is a terrible thing. As a medical student, I’ve learned about the mechanisms behind post-war syndromes like post-traumatic stress disorder and I’ve seen how the majority of our VA patients are there with psychiatric and substance-abuse problems. It’s not just about the injuries in the field; the sacrifices that our troops make oftentimes last entire lifetimes. I guess what I’m getting at is that yes, I support our troops. No, I do not support this war. Yes, I’m all in favor of doing what it takes to finish it if it truly is a war that can be won and not another Vietnam, whether that means increased funding or more men and women in Iraq. Whether we stay or we go, there are sacrifices either way.
    This gets at the last point I had, regarding the survey that was brought up. You’ve got your numbers right, but I think you need to take context into account. At the time the survey was posted, there was ongoing debate about Bush’s plan for a “troop surge”, calling for more than 20,000 members of the military (five brigades) to be deployed to Iraq (mostly Baghdad). The question posed was “Do you personally want the Iraq plan President Bush announced last week to succeed?” What are the chances that some people interpreted “succeed” in terms of being passed by Congress and actually being implemented as policy. Here’s the rundown of the numbers for anyone who’s interested:
    Do you personally want the Iraq plan President Bush announced last week to succeed?
    16-17 Jan 07
    ———————————-Yes—No-(Don’t know)
    Average————————63%-22—-15
    Democrats——————-51%-34—-15
    Republicans——————79%-11—-10
    Independents—————-63%-19—-17

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