An officer currently stationed in Baghdad writes:
I’ve been reading the news reports about the uprisings here in Baghdad and
the killings in Fallujah. The reports are true, but what is frustrating is
the reporting about the U.S. military’s reaction to these despicable acts.
In Fallujah, I suppose we could have sent armor into the city supported by
ground troops to get the bodies back and break up the resulting
“demonstration”, but when we met opposition from the locals should we have
overwhelmed them with superior firepower? That would have played very well
on the nightly news shows – “U.S. troops massacre local populace killing
hundreds to liberate 4 bodies” or some such nonsense. Everyone here on the
ground was disgusted and ready to go up and open the big can of whoop-ass,
but the problem is that even in Fallujah there are people sympathetic to us
and who deserve freedom. These cretins hide among them and there is nothing
to distinguish the good guys from the bad. The tactical response currently
occurring will hopefully cause more of the cretins to scurry around in the
open so we can kill them and move forward to the 30 June deadline.
Another aspect that needs to be kept in mind is that the locals expect more
from the U.S. The power generation capability is back at least to pre-war
levels and the fuel distribution networks and rail networks are closely
monitored, but being “as good as Saddam” is not what is expected. I think
after the initial euphoria, things settled down and the reaction now is more
along the lines of “What have you done for me lately?”. I hope that once
the security situation is stabilized more businesses will locate here and
capital will flow in. The establishment of a judiciary to enforce property
rights will also be a leap forward. At that point I hope we can turn the
previous question back on them and ask “What have you done for yourself
lately?”. We need to stop people from asking government to solve their
problems … but I guess we’re facing that same thing in the U.S. so I can’t
complain too much about that.
Sorry about rambling, but it has been a long night and I desperately need
sleep. Hope everything is going well with you and your family….