I posted a piece that I’m sure that some will find controversial yesterday. Entitled “A Christian Defense of the Rights of Moslems in a Democracy (or Constitutional Republic) it dealt with comments and demands made by some that Moslems be removed from the military, security services and government positions simply because of religion or ethnicity. You an see the post here:
It generated some heated debate and I am sure that more will come. However I am just going to show a photo montage of the Iraqi military, US employed interpreters and former Iraqi officers helping the Iraqi government and US Forces. The people of Iraq and much of the Middle East are not a monolithic bloc or extremists as many in this country are prone to believe. Moslems fight every day against terrorists and are killed by the same kind of extremists who took down the Trade Center Towers and inspired Major Hasan in his shooting at Fort Hood. They are friends and allies in the war against Moslem terrorists. I post this article to put a human face on those that are often lumped together as the “enemy” simply because of their religion.
Dinner with Brigadier General Sabah of 1st Brigade of 7th Iraqi Division in Ramadi. A professional soldier and Shia he sees himself as an Iraqi and ally of the US. The Last time we met in January 2008 in passing at the helo terminal in Ramadi he greeted me with a hug in front of his staff and many American soldiers and Marines calling me a friend.
Group Shot with General Sabah, his youngest son, our interpreter, the American Brigade Senior Adviser and my Assistant RP2 Lebron
RP2 Lebron with one of the “Terps” interpreters named “Shaun” originally from Palestine but a Green Bay Packer fan living in Minnesota
Iraqi Children Greeting us in a town along the Euphrates
Iraqi man in traditional garb happy to see us because Americans helped clean out the terrorists from his village
With Iraqi Officers of 7th Division and Marine Advisers at the 2007 Marine Corps Birthday Cake Cutting at Camp Blue Diamond. Trained by the Marines the 7th and the 1st Iraqi Divisions helped turn the Tide in Al Anbar and the 1st went on to liberate Basra and then to Diyala Province
Blessing Advisers of 7th Division as they prepared to go with Iraqis to guard a fuel convoy. Following this the Iraqis asked if I would bless them and their vehicles too, it seems they have some kind of Holy Water too and were willing to take the Christian kind as well.
A man with a Dangerous Job. Iraqi Policeman Escorting Civilians across Route Michigan in Ramadi. Shortly after we took small arms fire and Iraqi Police engaged the target
With the Leaders of an Iraqi Border Force Company a kilometer from Syria, they like all the Iraqis we dealt with were hospitable offering us Ch’ai as well as food on our visit with the adviser team
With a Bedouin Family near the Syrian border on Christmas Eve 2007
Iraqi Border Troops at Border Fort Five near Syria
Proud Bedouin Father and his son
The Bedouin Father serves us Ch’ai and cakes
Iraqi Troops of 7th Division coming back from Patrol on Christmas Day at COP North an isolated post near Syria. While we celebrated they worked and trained.
One of the Iraqi vehicles in one of our convoy’s near Al Qaim pulling security for us to pass. Our convoys generally had about 3 American and 2-3 Iraqi trucks transiting dangerous areas with very few soldiers, nothing more than 240 series or .50 cal machine guns and far away from any big reinforcements should we have been hit
New Iraqi Army Soldiers in Basic Training at Habbiniya. Imagine being far away from your family and know that they are in danger just because you serve in the Army
Chaplains and our Assistants with General Ali and his staff of the Training and Support Center at Habbinyah. He proudly showed us his well worn Arabic-English Bible. A Moslem he liked it because it had information not in the Koran
Bakers at the Iraqi Army Bakery in Habbinyah the fresh bread is great
With General Falah Hasan..driven from Iraq by Saddam under threat of death he returned from the United States to help rebuild the Iraqi Air Force and advise the Iraq Assistance Group.When asked what branch of Islam he said “My mother was Sunni, my father Shia I don’t know I am an Iraqi”
Of course I had many more interactions with the Iraqis than just these photos. There was the G-3 Officer at 2nd Brigade of 7th Division who said that he wished that the Iraqis had Christian Priests to serve as Imams because he knew that they would care for the soldiers and families and were not compromised like many Sunni and Shia clergy. The Iraqi military, Sunni and Shia distrusts most Moslem clergy because of their political militancy and divisiveness during the worst part of the civil war. At one time they had Imams during the Saddam era but many commanders refused to appoint Imams. Then there was the Iraqi Company commander at out in the west who tracked me down to meet the “American Imam and thank him” for serving our Marines and for praying for Iraq and its people. He also said to let people know that if something ever happened between the US and “Persia” that most Iraqis would support us. I could go on but needless to say there are millions of Moslems who fight along side of us as well as the American Moslems who serve in our ranks without being traitors like Major Hasan.
Peace and blessings,