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Rode the bus with an Iraqi today

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posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 06:52 PM
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Today I had the pleasure of meeting an Iraqi man and his family as I took a bus ride to run some errands. I heard them speaking and I knew that they were Arabic but I didnt know they were Iraqis until I finally found the courage to strike up a conversation with them. The conversation that took place really sort of blew my mind.
The mans' name is Rafid and he was the only one of the group who spoke English, and he spoke it very well. He told me that he was a guide and interpreter who worked personally with Gen. Petraeus' command unit. I asked him alot of questions about the "war".
When I asked him specifically about the current situation he replied that he was grateful to the U.S. forces that helped free his country from Saddam Hussein, he stated that under Hussein life was horrible(we know this), but what I didnt know was that the Baath Party initially was not the crazy group that we think of when we think of Saddam. He didnt really expand on this, just said that they were a political group of no particular importance.
I asked him why we were there fighting a war for oil. His response was surprising, he said that the only real reason for us to be there was to bring peace to the region, and, that almost all of the people of Iraq were "very very happy to have the soldiers" because they got rid of Saddam. He said that oil had nothing whatsoever to do with the fighting. He genuinly felt that our presence was a very good thing.
I asked him about Al Queada in Iraq, he actually chuckled and said that they are " 5 guys with broken ak-47s hiding in bombed out buildings", the point being that they are not a factor in the region and that they were "just kind of ignorant". I personally was kind of surprised by this and everything else he had to say.
I asked him about the Iraqi Police. He said that the police are growing stronger and more confident every day and are supplied with "much equipment from U.S.", he said that they are now extremely well equipped with weapons,and,vehicles and will soon be an able and effective force.
I asked him about the presence of insurgents and their actions. He again said that in his estimation less than 1% of the Iraqi population were terrorists or insurgents,and again said that they are ignorant people, poorly organized and lacking any real leadership or equipment.
I asked him about how long we should stay and help the Iraqi people, he said he hoped that our forces stayed "for another 5 years".
Rafid stated that he had just moved here to Boise with his entire family. In addition to himself, he had a wife named Tari or Cari, his son, Mustafa, his brother also and his wife and daughter(not English speakers). He said that he had been given money and plane tickets and a place to live here in Boise in return for his service to Gen. Petraeus. He appeared very happy, and was very happy to speak with me. He was forthcoming and intelligent and did not hesitate to answer any question I put forth.
This information is not really what I was expecting to hear from an Iraqi citizen, and it makes me really question whether or not all of the war nay saying has any real basis in reality. This man and his family have only been here for 13 days.
I would love to hear some feed back.




posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 07:29 PM
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A star and flag for you my friend. This story puts a different spin on the people this administration is bringing to this country as a result of that war.

When I heard that the IOC had denied Iraq the opportunity to field a team in this years games I was pissed. These poor people have been hammered for so long and deserve a brief respite, an opportunity to rally and share some national pride. Thankfully the IOC lifted the ban and Iraq sent a whopping two athletes to Beijing.

I hope the efforts of our brave men and women in uniform as well as the brave Iraqi citizens like Rafid are celebrated with honor for eternity.

Thanks for sharing this story.



posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 07:38 PM
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yeah man good thread, some positives..

I used to spend a fair bit of time on ICQ,
You can search for online people by region, I often went searching for Iraqi's or Iranian's

I ended up adding some Iraqi's who replied, to be honest its been a while since I used ICQ but there was a time id spend hours a night on it talking.

I remember one was a mechanic, the other was a 50yr old + engineer

I suppose the situation changes depending on who you talk to, I know the engineer was disgusted in how things turned out, and he begged me to help them flee the country as it was out of control.

After looking through sponsored immigration to Australia, I found we didnt accept people 50yrs of age, no matter what the education.

Your newly found friend sounds as if he had a bit of a good run during the war, directly tied to the General means he would of been protected, and probably inside the walls.

Thats a bit of a difference between the poor market sellers in the streets, plus being he got his family out of Iraq, says to me that he probably does owe the US a lot, and appreciates them doing what they did.

but this would be a small minority.

I think the Iraqi's that get out, or are directly tied and protected by the US are probably appreciative.. life under Saddam would of been more difficult.
But for most people, lack of sewage, power, clean water and security is a very bad position compared to Saddam.

Interesting though,

My parnter is Iranian, and spends a lot of time with the Iranian culture here in Perth.
Speaking to a few of them, many of them liked/respected Saddam.
And beleive the US removing him was the worse thing they could of done.

Yes, the war was horrible and many of them lost friends, but they all said he was a strong man, a strong leader who was pushed into that war by the US, then back stabbed.

I believe with Saddam, he ruled with a ironfist, but looking at the way Iraqi's are without a decent government he had to. there were no kidnappings,car bombs, insurgents when he was there.

He painted a line and you knew the consequences.. and it worked.

I bet many wish we could go back to Saddams days...
even his neighbours.



posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 07:55 PM
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Do you know the power of propaganda? Someone told they have been "liberated" genuinely believes they have been "liberated".

People in the Soviet Union were told that life under Communism was better than life under the tzars; it was not.

The Iraq War was fought chiefly for US geopolitical interests and to promote the world government agenda, so...don't be fooled.

Iraq for Sale



Is torturing thousands of innocent Iraqis at Abu Ghraib considered "liberation"?




And how is using depleted-uranium weapons during the Gulf War justified?
Beyond Treason

[edit on 21-8-2008 by thetruth777]



posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 08:25 PM
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I know I've seen Iraqi reactions on blogs and forums and not all of them have his same outlook.

I think that just like here in America, some people think that we are the liberators, some think we are the supressors.

here's a scenario I'd like to pose. Imagine that things get so incredibly bad here, as SOME of us already think they are, and we plead for liberators to topple the administration because the military has also turned against us and there's just nothing we can do.

A country here's our cries and invades our country topples the government.

some of us will see them as saviors. Some of us will see them as invaders.

It's all a matter of perspective.

Being as how this man was working with the Generals unit, he was probably told certain things by the general and the troops and so he got a warped view of it. Not only that but I bet the General himself wholeheartedly believes what we are doing there is right. Just like some of our troops do.

But...some of our troops absolutely hate what is going on over there but know that they have an oath of duty and that comes before any personal feeling and is extremely commendable.



posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 09:55 PM
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I really appreciate the responses that I have gotten so far, thanks. while I appreciate that this mans story is not typical, it was at least a little bit heartening to hear a story that did not involve the horrible death or torture of another person. I think that his whole immediate family was able to relocate here,at least it appears that way, and that, no matter what the situation really was, most would agree is a good thing.
I will say this though. I was not able to communicate with his other family members, and I have no idea if they would echo his sentiments, I rather hope they would, but there is no way to know for sure.



posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 10:01 PM
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reply to post by thetruth777
 

Was it really thousands at Abu Ghraib? I was not aware that there were so many victims of toture. As far as D.U. goes, in my opinion that type of munition should never be fielded,ever, anywhere, I agree with you 100%



posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 02:09 PM
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reply to post by spookjr
 


One person does not the whole country make - listening to him then assuming his opinion represents the entire country is retaded. He has one opinion. His neighbour, who is still in Iraq, might have a very different one. All the Iraqis I've seen on various media all have different opinions. I know of many who want the peace they had under Saddam. I know of many who are now happy. Just as I doubt you can find one solitary person in the US who can speak for everyone, you can't find it for Iraq.

More reading: The Baath Party.



posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 02:18 PM
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One propaganda is as bad as another propaganda. I'd take the word of this man who was there and lived it over the "Iraq For Sale" propagandists trying to promote their agenda.



posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 03:02 PM
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You may not have realized, but I posted this because it was an interesting conversation with an Iraqi man, nothing more nothing less. I dont assume anything, I just was interested in his opinion of the situation there. This one mans take on the Iraq situation doesnt mean anything in the big picture.
So basically what you are saying is that I am retarded( thats funny considering the fact that you cant even spell 'retarded'). So Dave 420 you keep right on smoking that stuff and we will see who is the retarded one!!!



posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 09:59 PM
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I love how if anyone mentions anything remotely supportive of the Iraq War it is automatically dismissed as some sort of propaganda or brainwashing. For those of you that have never had the pleasure of visiting Iraq, there are actually quite a few people who either tolerate us or, God forbid, are happy we are there.

Think, if the entire population of Iraq was even slightly annoyed with our presence, could we function militarily? Even get out of the gates of the FOB? People cooperate with us. They tell us where IEDs are, and who put them there. They risk their lives by telling us, and by fighting the insurgents themselves.

I mean, the guys arn't kissing me on the cheeks cause they can't stand me and the chai they pass out to my troops on the street every day isn't poisoned. Sure, some of them think its time for us to leave and let them take over, but the vast majority of them aren't trying the kill us. A lot of the insurgents arn't even Iraqis to begin with.

Don't presume to know what the Iraqi people want until you've sat over a communal plate of roast goat and yaprakh and had a long discussion on what they want and where they see their country going. You might be suprised to find out that they don't agree with you.



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 08:35 AM
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reply to post by CO Vet
 


If you're willing to use one person's opinion of his country as a true definition of it, then you are the one pressing the agenda, not others. It's weird how you attach so much weight to this one guy's view (which happens to gel with yours), and ignore the thousands of views to the contrary. That, my friend, is as illogical as you can get.

I could say "I think you have bad hair", and by your logic, suddenly you have bad hair. Doesn't make much sense, does it?



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 08:46 AM
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reply to post by spookjr
 


Thank you for relaying information that has not been filtered by people intent on decieving me. The man you spoke with has done very well for himself and his family. I hope he did not have to compromise his integrity to survive.



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 09:07 AM
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Originally posted by dave420
reply to post by CO Vet
 


If you're willing to use one person's opinion of his country as a true definition of it, then you are the one pressing the agenda, not others. It's weird how you attach so much weight to this one guy's view (which happens to gel with yours), and ignore the thousands of views to the contrary. That, my friend, is as illogical as you can get.


Dave, buddy, I think it was more the relating of an encounter that peaked the OP's interest and he decided to share his experience. I don't understand why you infer that he meant something more. I read nothing more than spooky rode on a bus with an Iraqi and had a very interesting convo with him and was appreciative of his opinion on the situation in the mans home country. No agenda to further that I could find.

Thanks spookjr, for sharing your experience. I managed a gas station for a few years and treasured the conversations I had with Serbian citizens living or missionarying in America during the troubles there. Communication is self-serving. To converse with different people from different places is really a strong attribute that living in America provides. My older brother is in town from Germany where he lives. We have spent hours just talking about his European take on world issues. MUCH different from what meager information we get here in America. He has such a better vantage point and truely educated his little bro.
We HAVE to listen to what people feel about things. Whether that is from one person or many. It's how we learn.

Cuhail



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 10:37 AM
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reply to post by Cuhail
 


I was replying to 'CO Vet', who insinuated that this encounter means the stories of mass suffering and death in Iraq are all fabrications. I am very pleased that someone talked to an Iraqi - don't get me wrong. I'm just a bit shocked that it took that meeting for someone to open their minds as to what's happening over there (but I am glad it happened). And I also find it slightly strange that some people in this thread are extrapolating this one encounter into the complete Iraqi zeigeist, seemingly because it fits their desired idea of current events.



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 11:15 AM
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If they are fighting the equivalent of 1 percent of the population than we must be spending over 3 million for each person we are fighting against.It has been estimated we spend 37,000 for each Iraqi.



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 01:13 PM
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Originally posted by dave420

And I also find it slightly strange that some people in this thread are extrapolating this one encounter into the complete Iraqi zeigeist, seemingly because it fits their desired idea of current events.


Extrapolating? I believe my idea of current events is pretty accurate considering I have actually been to the country and seen what is happening firsthand. But I guess that is just what I want to believe cause I have been "brainwashed" by some "conservative agenda." Maybe I should start listening to intellectuals who formulate concrete opinions on subjects they have no experience with so they can degrade others in the privacy of the internet.

The current events the world sees arn't building schools and the return of the free market to Iraq. Its blood and guts, blown up hospitals and crippled kids. They only give you what the people want to see. To see what is happening without the political and social distortion of a media lens, there is nothing like actually having your feet on the ground.

But thats just my opinion.



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 09:49 AM
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Originally posted by dave420
reply to post by Cuhail
 


I was replying to 'CO Vet', who insinuated that this encounter means the stories of mass suffering and death in Iraq are all fabrications.


Ahhh haaa. THAT makes sense, sorry for the misunderstanding.



And I also find it slightly strange that some people in this thread are extrapolating this one encounter into the complete Iraqi zeigeist, seemingly because it fits their desired idea of current events.


THAT happens a lot, actually. It both camps. If the single item matches their conceived notion, they use it as a billboard proclaimation.


Cuhail



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 10:25 AM
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reply to post by WhiteOneActual
 


I agree that your experiences are a damn-sight more insightful than opinions gleaned from an encounter with a single Iraqi or from watching TV, but even you must understand that a single cog doesn't know the machine it is in - you must talk to everyone to get an understanding of Iraq. I don't claim to have that, but I do claim to have read enough from vastly different parts of Iraq, and vastly different societies and cultures within Iraq, to know the rebuilding effort is not exactly going as well as it can. I also know that people need the following things, in this precise order:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Electricity
5. Freedom

We seemed to leap straight to point 5, overlooking the rest, as if if we claim "Look! They're free! Look at all the purple fingers!" then we've done a good job. I'm pretty sure no-one in their right mind would agree that a "free" society without security is nothing but a sham - a farce - a bout of theatre designed simply for international posturing, and self-congratulation. The phrases "half-assed" and "playing with other peoples' lives" spring to mind.

reply to post by Cuhail
 


Not a problem! I whole-heartedly agree that the suspension of logic when facts, as limited as they are, support our viewpoints, are very tempting to embrace without critical thought. It's dangerous. Very dangerous. A closed mind is no mind at all.



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 07:44 PM
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Originally posted by dave420
reply to post by WhiteOneActual
 


I agree that your experiences are a damn-sight more insightful than opinions gleaned from an encounter with a single Iraqi or from watching TV, but even you must understand that a single cog doesn't know the machine it is in - you must talk to everyone to get an understanding of Iraq. I don't claim to have that, but I do claim to have read enough from vastly different parts of Iraq, and vastly different societies and cultures within Iraq, to know the rebuilding effort is not exactly going as well as it can. I also know that people need the following things, in this precise order:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Electricity
5. Freedom

We seemed to leap straight to point 5, overlooking the rest, as if if we claim "Look! They're free! Look at all the purple fingers!" then we've done a good job. I'm pretty sure no-one in their right mind would agree that a "free" society without security is nothing but a sham - a farce - a bout of theatre designed simply for international posturing, and self-congratulation. The phrases "half-assed" and "playing with other peoples' lives" spring to mind.


1. I guess all those troops we sent and the training the Iraqi Army and Police for the past 6 or so years doesn't count for providing security. The fact that they are set to take over Baghdad for themselves soon doesn't prove that we have actually been doing this. Nevermind that AQI or JAM or Hamas hasn't taken over the country in the power vaccuum.

2. We have people whose job it is to purify water for the Iraqis while the engineers teach them how to build facilities to purify their own. I haven't heard any news of mass dehydrations or plagues of drinking water borne viruses come out of Iraq.

3. Going along with the water, we build canals and irrigation systems for agriculture. Developing the free market will bring in imports. Doesn't seem to be a big issue in the places I've seen.

4. This one is big. We have tons of people that are dedicated to building and maintaining power grids. It has been so successful that neighborhoods that never had electricity under Saddam now get angry when the grid goes down because they are so used to it working. We train Iraqi electricians. When the wiring goes out in my room, who fixes it? An Iraqi.

We may have lept straight to 5, but where else were we to go? We couldn't have set up another dictatorship as an interim solution while we worked on the other things. What would everyone be saying about the war then? I'm pretty sure it would be a lot worse on the world stage, and we'd be fighting a crap ton more Iraqis.

We are working on the other things, however. They are our primary focus, in fact. We fix things, build things, and teach the Iraqis how to do it for themselves. We give as much responsibility as is safe to the Iraqis so as to ease them into running things so they are ready when we leave. We in the military are not idiots, we are trying to work through this whole thing so we accomplish our initial goal of a free Iraq, but also to get out of Iraq as soon as possible and to make sure we never have to come back.

This is exactly what I mean when I say people talk about Iraq when they don't actually know what is happening there. Its not freakin' Mad Max out there. Iraq is in fact quickly becoming a self sustaining democracy. Its not perfect but its a lot better than most people think it is, and besides, what do you expect? Things don't happen overnight. How much time, money, lives is human freedom worth?

But the American people are more interested in hearing Hillary talk about pant suits. I guess I shouldn't complain too much, since Hillary is a politician and not an American Idol contestant. That itself is a monumental step foreward.





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