Monday, October 1, 2007


Well. This should be the last of the bumped up islamism pieces. From a half-year ago. All in honor of Moslem Terrorism Month, which I've decided must be September slash Ramadan -- which ever is most convenient. Don't want to be dogmatic.


My son got here today. From Iraq. For a couple of weeks.

Haven't seen him for eleven months. It's like he wasn't gone at all. We have a very close relationship, but not at all clingy. We like each other. We respect and trust each other. We laugh at each other's humor.

He showed me a night vision video of our allies the Iraqi army. Five or six soldiers dancing on a rooftop, when they were supposed to be on guard. All their equipment was unmanned. They were undressing. Dancing, arms out like Zorba the Greek. Only one was armed, and he was holding his rifle over his head, Jane Fonda-style. One of them was just clapping along. Very Middle Eastern. Some wiseacre had added a Vanilla Ice soundtrack. We just chuckled. He's uploaded it: IA Dance.

I said all their equipment was unmanned. My son says that the Iraqi army's equipment is better than his own, and he framed it in terms of "our US tax dollars at work."

I called them "our allies". My son says they are all corrupt. All compromised. "All" is a big word, but if we shrink it down to a mere "many," that's still too too too much. He gave an example: When our guys go into some muhalla to take out some bombers nest, they pass through Iraqi check points. Hey guys, how ya doing? Then the Iraqis call ahead and warn the targets. Hmm. I won't divulge the counter measures. The fact that there needs to be a counter measure is too too too much.

My son says Sunni soldiers go and beat up Shiite civilians, and Shiite soldiers go and beat up Sunni civilians. It may technically be a country, but it's not a nation. It was totalitarian for so long that the only social model that seems to fit is that of prison gangs.

My son made a flat declarative statement: We need to get out of there.

Who am I to argue?

Off the top of my head I can name four agglomerated countries -- cobbled together out of different states, ethnicities, provenances: Yugoslavia, Checkoslovakia, Iraq and the USA. Of course all those African countries, but who can name them? Yemen, sort of. What does the trend seem to be? Only one works, but the culture was the same in the American colonies, for all that the States had been independent. Doesn't bode well for Iraq. Dissolution sounds like a solution, not a problem.

But I suppose it's more complex than that. "We need to get out of there"? Yes. Get out of there, as in it shouldn't be us kicking in doors. Iraq needs to be Vietnamized. Vietnamization -- the strategy that worked: people should fight for, and defend, their own countries, with our technical and financial support. That is, as I understand it, the actual plan for Iraq. I suppose these things can only happen as fast as they can happen. Of course, we could announce to the enemy that we're planning to leave, and when. Oh, wait. We're doing that. "We". Hold your breath fellehs, and we'll be out of your hair in just a moment.

You may have noticed that I am an idealist. My son isn't. He's a man who kicks in doors, and who is in a position and in a job that takes human life. As we were driving today, he commented on how strange it felt to be in an unarmored and open vehicle. He didn't have any civilian clothes -- we had to go out and buy some. He said he wasn't used to seeing women -- hardly any women in the military over there, and he didn't think of Iraqi women as female. He said he wasn't used to being unarmed. No, my son is not an idealist.

I will listen to and respect his opinions. They are shaped by reality. But he hasn't said anything that I don't agree with and didn't already know. It's just the bluntness of it. We need to get out of there. It's just a matter of how. I do know one thing about boxing: don't telegraph your punches.

Something beautiful? Coming here, he had a layover in Texas. In the terminal, he and his comrades were greeted by about 500 people, all of whom waited to shake his hand. It would have looked something like this. Thank you, Texas. You have made a father love you.



Andrea said...

Tell your son.
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for your service to our country!

Jack H said...


Anonymous said...

Same here...

And, thank you Jack H for bringing us some insight from someone who knows. That means more to me then a 1000 talking heads.

One of my best friends served a year in IRAQ says the same thing..."we need to end this war". And, this guy wears his love for his country on his sleeve. How? is the question. Personally I would like to see the pres. or vp or sec. Rice getting more involved. It just seems like everything is happening in slow motion. I'll stop now...Have a great day!