Apolitical Deconstruction

The title of this blog refers to my journey of self-transformation from someone loathe to publicly express his personal opinions on political matters to...well, keep reading and see!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Iraqi Lives In The Balance

Well, it has been quite a while since I felt motivated to write to my Senators! However, I feel very strongly about the current situation in Iraq and I just had to try and do something. If you have known me through blogging for any length of time, you probably already know my views on the U.S. invasion of Iraq. However, if you are new to my thoughts, I will say that I believe the decision to invade Iraq by the Bush administration was ill concieved and very poorly planned. Bush and his people lied to the American people about the presence of WMD's in Iraq. They rushed to war, and they had no plan to win the peace after our so called "military victory". I truly wish that the invasion had never happened! To date, the invasion has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths, and has cost the lives of nearly 3000 American soldiers. As far as I am concerned, the situation in Iraq today is most definitely a Civil War, and no matter what the U.S. government decides to do, many more thousands of Iraqis will most surely die! I do not know the best way forward. I honestly believe that there are no good options that will allow the U.S. troops to come home and that will also preserve a unified Iraq. So, what should be done? As far as I am concerned the focus should be on saving Iraqi civilian lives. I will support any course of action that has even the hope of reducing the number of Iraqi civilians that are being kidnapped, tortured, and murdered every day. So, I give you now the thoughts that I have just emailed to my two Senators. I truly hope they will listen, not only to American interests, but to the interests of the Iraqi people themselves!

Dear Senator,

I am writing to you today to express my thoughts regarding the current situation in Iraq. In the past two years, I have been reading the web logs of about a dozen Iraqi bloggers regularly. I consider some of them to be my friends. Every day more brave American soldiers are killed or maimed for life in Iraq. Further, at least 100 Iraqis are killed every day, as well. I see Iraqi people as human beings with the same hopes and aspirations as American people. I am not someone who can sit calmly and do the math on what number of civilian casualties are acceptable. As far as I am concerned, there is no acceptable number of civilian casualties!

I do realize that there is no easy solution to the current violence in Iraq. I certainly do not advocate an immediate pullout of American troops. However, I urge you to consider any course of action that will save the lives of Iraqi civilians. I also urge you to listen to the voices of the Iraqi people themselves, as it is their lives that are hanging in the balance.

I would like to give you the web log addresses of three Iraqi bloggers who are currently living in the U.S., and who may very well be willing to testify before the Congress or Senate.

1.) Raed Jarrar is an Iraqi of mixed Sunni and Shia ancestry. He has been interviewed about Iraq several times on national TV by CNN. The address of his blog, titled "Raed In The Middle" is:

http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com/

2.) Zeyad (who withholds his last name to protect his family) is a Sunni dentist from Baghdad who is arguably the most famous Iraqi blogger. He recently came to the U.S. on a student visa to study at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. The address of his blog, titled "Healing Iraq" is:

http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/

3.) Baghdad Treasure (he goes by this pseudonym) is a Shia who worked as a reporter and translator in Baghdad. He is personally acquainted with Zeyad, and he also recently came to the U.S. to study journalism at a school in Philadelphia, PA. The address of his blog, titled "Treasure of Baghdad" is:

http://baghdadtreasure.blogspot.com/

I urge you, or a member of your staff, to read some of the posts of these three bloggers and consider contacting them personally. They all care deeply about their country, and want desperately to help save the lives of Iraqi people.

Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts.

Sincerely,


UPDATE:

This morning, November 31, I received the following email from the office of Evan Bayh (who is a Democrat), one of my two Senators. It appears to be a very general reply sent to anyone expressing an opinion or concern about the situation in Iraq. Although this letter does not discuss my specific suggestions (which I still hope his office will consider!), it does contain some interesting insight into Senator Bayh's thinking about Iraq.

Dear Mr.:

Thank you for contacting me regarding Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). I appreciate your thoughts and understand your concerns on this important issue.

The President's decision to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein by military force is one of the most monumental of our time, and regardless of how one feels about that decision, we are in Iraq now and must rally together as a nation to make the mission as successful as possible.

The situation in Iraq is grave, and unfortunately, the Bush administration has made some errors that have made our mission far harder than should have been the case. Chief among those was the decision to disband the Iraqi Army. Clearly, the top generals should have been removed, but not the privates, the sergeants, or the corporals who had little choice but to join the Iraq military. The Administration should have reached out to these individuals to provide stability and security during the political transition. Unfortunately, the Administration has also failed to adequately lay out a clear plan with benchmarks for success in Iraq. I believe this accountability is critical to ensuring progress in Iraq.

In spite of the challenges, the United States has no choice but to succeed in Iraq. Premature withdrawal could lead to full scale civil war, destabilize a region of vital importance, and potentially turn Iraq into a haven for international terrorism.

Most of all, we must do everything we can to support our brave troops fighting in Iraq. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I am committed to ensuring that our fighting forces have all the tools they need to succeed in Iraq.

I continue to advocate for additional funding for our troops, especially for making sure they have the equipment and armor they need for the fight. During Senate consideration of the Fiscal Year 2005 Iraq Supplemental, I offered an amendment to provide $213 million to purchase additional Up -Armored Humvees and to prevent future shortfalls by requiring the Secretary of Defense to report to the Congress more frequently on future Humvees requirements. My amendment received bi -partisan support and passed by a vote of 61 -39.

As always, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as the Senate continues its active and vital role providing oversight of the nation's mission in Iraq.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope that the information I have provided is helpful. My website, http://bayh.senate.gov, can provide additional details about legislation and state projects, and you can also sign up to receive my monthly e-newsletter, The Bayh Bulletin, by clicking on the link at the top of my homepage. I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you.

Office of Senator Evan Bayh


UPDATE TWO:

Today, December 12, I received a written reply in the mail from Senator Lugar (my Republican Senator). He always mails his reply letters to me. This letter is quite specific, so he may have actually dictated part of it himself! Although I do not always agree with Senator Lugar on the issues, I have always found him to be a very honest and sincere man, a true rarity these days in Washington, D.C.! BTW, Senator Lugar is the current Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, so my letter to him was right up his alley, so to speak. Ok, here is his letter:

December 4, 2006

Dear Mr.:

Thank you for contacting me about Iraq and for bringing to my attention the writings of several Iraqi bloggers. I appreciate this opportunity to respond.

A great amount is at stake in our involvement in Iraq. U.S. efforts in Iraq have been focused on fighting an insurgency that uses brutal tactics in an attempt to create regional instability and increase sectarian strife within Iraq. The United States and the international community should work closely with the Iraqi government and support a comprehensive solution to the violence, including a resolution of issues relating to oil revenues.

As you mentioned, there is currently a growing debate about how best to proceed in Iraq, including the possibility of a scaled down U.S. presence; at the same time, we must be aware of the possibility that the Iraqi government loses control over the country. In a recent interview on CNN, I noted that "if we withdraw, we clearly open the borders but we do have once again an incubator for terrorism in Iraq, comparable... to the Afghanistan situation we tried to clean up after 9/11." Moreover, civil war in Iraq could undercut American credibility in the region and expand the influence of Iran and Syria.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which I chair, has devoted 39 hearings since 2003 to the subject oflraq. Ih particular, we have emphasized how our efforts there can be more effective through greater alliance contributions, improved public diplomacy, more efficient reconstruction and humanitarian relief, accelerated political development, faster training of Iraqi forces, and many other factors. We have conducted oversight of the administration's policies and attempted to point out both what is working and what is not working. My emphasis has been on examining options and ideas that can contribute to success in Iraq. You can read more about these hearings at http://foreign.senate.gov.

Thank you, again, for contacting me on this important matter.

Sincerely,
Richard G. Lugar
United States Senator

senator_lugar@lugar.senate.gov

4 Comments:

Blogger Kyubai said...

Nice post and I sincerely thank u for ur feelings and actually for considering us (the Iraqis) as humans when a lot of people and countries consider us as mere objects...
Well my comments (which r the opinions of an un political Iraqi) are:
About what u said about Iraq being in a civil war well I know it may sound weird but I disagree with u on that point, Iraq is a battle field and it is an open ground I won't be pointing fingers to this and that cause Iraqis r of blame here too since we voluntarily became mere pawns in this game so it is not a civil war it is simply a conflict in interests between certain sides and the cover is a civil war in Iraq.

In the end I only hope that the world will decide to finally take the obvious coarse of actions to restore prosperity to Iraq and that all the world will start treating the Iraqis as human beings...

12/09/2006 12:08 PM  
Blogger David said...

Thanks for your comment Kyubai! I feel slightly embarrassed to be thanked for thinking of Iraqis as human beings. I think that way about all people in the world. Still, you are most welcome!

As an Iraqi living in Baghdad, you are far more qualified than me to say whether Iraq is in a civil war or not! Perhaps the definitions that people use to describe the terrible situation are not as important as acknowledging what is happening and trying to do something to make things better. I hope that your wishes will come true and the world will do the right things to help Iraq and recognize the humanity of Iraqis. I also hope that Iraqis themselves will recognize the humanity of their fellow Iraqis of different religious beliefs. It seems so wrong to me that people should have to die just because they think or believe differently from other people!

12/11/2006 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Tess Durbeyfield said...

hi David. Actually I have a question to ask you which is not exactly about this post. I was reading Lady Sun's blog; in one of her post about Saddam's execution, she had told her bad memories of Iran-Iraq war and I saw your comment at the end of her post, telling her that you also had read about Iraqi people's sufferings (Presumably during the same war). As an Iranian I became interested to know what they went through at that time. I reviewed the blogs of some of the Iraqi bloggers such as Anarki-13 and the ones you introduced in your recent post but they seem to be preoccupied with the present war and don't talk about that one anymore.
Anyway, if you have a special case in mind, I mean an Iraqi telling memories of the war with Iran, I'd really appreciate if you tell me. Thank You and sorry to be asking here about this but I couldn't find your EMail.

1/25/2007 4:14 AM  
Blogger David said...

Hello Tess, no need to apologize. I welcome all comments. :) As to your question, I remember reading a post about difficulties for Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq war, but, at the moment, I can't remember which blogger wrote about them. I will try to remember for you.

This blog is not my main one, and I don't often check for comments here (perhaps I should turn on the email alert for comments), but for some reason, I had the urge to check. :) Anyway, if you have further questions, you are welcome to visit and leave a comment at my main blog:

Constructive Creativity

Thanks for stopping by! :)

1/27/2007 2:37 AM  

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