Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

A “Welcome Parade” of Blood and Seething Anger

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** **

May 15, 2005

A “Welcome Parade” of Blood and Seething Anger

As if to add insult to injury, with over 400 Iraqis killed in violence
during the first two weeks of the newly sworn in Iraqi “government,” US
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made a surprise one day visit to the
newest US colony.

After visiting northern Iraq which has been spared the brunt of the
ongoing violence, Rice traveled to the heavily entrenched “green zone”
in central Baghdad where the U.S. “embassy” is located. She addressed a
crowd in the former Republican Palace, the perfect setting for her
symbolic visit to Iraq where more and more Iraqis are referring to the
devastating occupation which has beset their country as their new

“We are so grateful that there are Americans willing to sacrifice so the
Middle East will be whole, and free and democratic and at peace,” she
announced before she returned to northern Iraq in her huge contingent of
military helicopters to the mountain stronghold of Kurdish Democratic
Party leader Massoud Barzani before exiting the war ravaged nation.

Rather than a welcoming parade with ticker-tape and rose petals for the
US Secretary of State who was one of the architects of the invasion, 34
corpses of men shot, beheaded or with their throats slit were discovered
across Iraq today.

Other aspects of her warm welcome included drive-by shootings in Baghdad
which claimed the lives of a senior Industry Ministry official, his
driver and a prominent Shia cleric as well as a dual-bomb attack in
Baquba which narrowly missed taking the life of the governor of Diyala
province (but took the lives of four others in his convoy). A second
bomb was delivered five minutes after the first by a man running on foot
towards the convoy who then detonated an explosives belt.

When ambulances arrived medical workers found body parts strewn about in
pools of blood and shattered glass as they attended to 37 wounded Iraqis.

Not only are the vast majority of Iraqis in Iraq vehemently opposed to
the ongoing occupation, but in Amman those I met at the ‘Between the Two
Rivers Trucking Company’ today were just as angry about the occupation.

Inside the large office of the general director of the company, drivers
from Baghdad, Baquba, Sadr City, Fallujah, Ramadi and Basra, Sunni and
Shia alike, crowd about glasses of hot tea to take turns venting their
frustrations amidst my questions.

Prior to the invasion they used to make 4-5 trips between Amman and
Baghdad per month. Now they make one trip per month, primarily due to
the fact that prior to crossing the border into Jordan they are forced
to wait in a line several kilometers long…for 18 days. This is due to,
what they believe, unnecessary harassment by Jordanian border authorities.

They sleep in the cabs of their trucks as the line inches closer to the
border, and when a driver from Basra tells me that if they leave their
trucks at night they are shot at by American soldiers, I glace across
the room to find all of the men nodding in agreement.

None of them are content with the situation.

“All of our problems are due to the Americans,” says Ahmed, a driver who
has been trying to get supplies into Ramadi, “The soldiers have
surrounded the city for so long, there is one entry way in and all of
the people of the city are suffering. The Americans brought all of these
problems with them.”

The subject of civil war is broached, and Mohammed, a Shia driver from
Sadr City blurts out, “The occupiers are creating these problems between
the Shia and Sunni, but they will not divide us! All occupations only
mean destruction and suffering!”

Again I look around the room filled with seething Iraqis and find them
nodding once again.

Ahmed raises his voice over the others and with eyes seething with anger
asks, “My cousin is in al-Qaim, and he just told me the Americans have
destroyed so many houses in that area and killed women and children!”

All of the attention in the room shifts to the large, mustached man
wearing a brown dishdasha as he continues.

“They are entering our houses where women and children are, and this is
totally against our traditions and culture. They must leave our country

It isn’t only the Iraqis in Amman who are opposed to the brutal
occupation of their country. Most Jordanians I’ve spoken with over the
last week feel likewise. As an older Jordanian man from Palestine told
me two days ago at my hotel, “The Iraqis must resist this occupation
now, or they will end up like the Palestinians.”

In the office of the trucking company, the mood is that of searing
anger, frustration and urgency.

Hamad, a Shia man from Basra enters the discussion and states, “I have
seen them destroy three farms in Diyala! Why can’t they stay on their
bases like the British do in the south? If they would just stay on their
bases things would be so much better for us.”

“With my own eyes I’ve seen the Americans, when their patrol was hit by
a roadside bomb open fire on all the civilian cars around them,”
exclaims Mohammed.

At this everyone begins talking at once, the anger raising their voices.

Over the din Rathman, a driver from Fallujah demands, “If Bush is a real
man, he should walk down the street alone!”

“Insh’Allah [God willing] Iraq will be the graveyard of the Americans,”
adds Ahmed, “Qaim is three small villages and with all their planes and
tanks they still fail to control it. If they were brave they should
attack one or two villages without planes and helicopters and tanks and
fight man to man!”

A Shia driver from Hilla, a small city south of Baghdad, sternly says
that the US is “the mother company of terrorism.”

My interpreter Abu Talat, my friend Aisha and I decide it’s time to
excuse ourselves. Several of the men follow us to the street as we wait
for a taxi, continuing to make their statements as we wait. They are
anxious to continue, seeing my pen as an outlet for their frustrations
as I continue to take notes.

“Why is the media not talking more about al-Qaim,” asks Ahmed, as a taxi
approaches and begins to pull over to collect us.

“We strongly advise the American people to pressure their government to
leave Iraq,” says a man from al-Karma who asks to be called Ali.

As I begin to step into the car he asks, “We are now free of Saddam
Hussein, so did the Americans come as liberators or acquirers?”

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