Americans Leave Baghdad on National Sovereignty Day (Kind of, but not really).
On June 29th, American convoys were beginning to be met with the anticipation of the removal of American Forces from the cities. People on the streets were waiving their index finger at American convoys as if to scoldingly say, “One more day Americans, one more day.” Police vehicles mounted Iraqi flags on their vehicles, and Iraqi National Police and Iraqi Army soldiers yelled unintelligible comments to us as we drove past their checkpoints. In a nearby park, there were celebrations, music and fireworks that went late into the evening.
Today, the 30th of June, has been identified as National Sovereignty Day and declared a national holiday by the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Mailiki. The day has been marked by parties, singing, and a parade. At the parade today, there were only a handful of Americans invited, and it was mostly top leadership and members of the State Department.
The Iraqi soldiers we work with from day to day asked us last night, “Where are you moving? Is everything packed? Were you going to say good-bye to us.”
When we told them we weren’t leaving, they were surprised. “Maliki said all the soldiers are moving.”
“Well, Maliki was wrong. Not all the soldiers are moving.” I retorted. This exchange is indicative of what the average Iraqi is hearing on the street.
Most US soldiers have moved to larger bases outside the city, however, the picture that is being painted through the media to the average citizen on the street is that Iraqis won’t see any Americans inside city limits at all. This attitude is clearly setting everyone up for failure and disappointment once the citizens of Baghdad begin to see Americans still in their cities. Animosity toward Americans and toward the Government of Iraqi will only build.
Aljazeera.net (http://english.aljazeera.net) had this quote posted on their webpage:
“This is … [US] face-saving, telling the people of the word that we are not killing Iraqis anymore and letting the government have a proxy war on their behalf.”
Asked whether he feared Iraqis will start killing other Iraqis after the withdrawal, he replied: “This is American propaganda. They try to sell it to the world and unfortunately the world bought it.
“There are no Iraqis killing Iraqis. Iraqis – Sunnis, Shias … have lived together for hundreds of years.”
This is crap. There are places where Sunnis and Shias live peacefully but don’t let images of flying white doves and rainbows over Baghdad fill your head just yet. I can assure you that when I get a report that a car bomb has exploded in a market, and the Iraqi and American Military roll up a hand full of guys connected to the incident, it is Iraq versus Iraq. They may be supported by Iranian or Syrian based military groups, but it is Iraqi versus Iraq.
What disgusts me the most about this is how and why the withdrawal is spun. (Bill O’Reilly I could use your No Spin Zone right about now.) PM Maliki is up for re-election in January 2010. This is his way of making it look like the war is over, he sent the Americans packing and has complete control of what is going on. This all done in a feeble attempt to get re-elected. Democracy at it’s finest.
Someone should remind PM Maliki that President Obama gave the order to leave Iraq.
So, let me tell you what’s really going on in Baghdad:
I can tell you PM Maliki has hedged his bets that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF. This includes the Local and National Police as well as the Army) will succeed in securing Iraq.
I can tell you that in the past 30 days, the number of IEDs has gone up…a lot.
I can tell you that security has been led by the Iraqis.
I can tell you that if the ISF cannot prevent terrorism and violence in Iraq, that PM Maliki will be hard pressed to call Coalition Forces for help because this will be political suicide for him.
I can tell you that the way PM Maliki is spinning this is insulting to the Americans still here and the Americans and other Coalition Force soldiers that have given their lives.
I can tell you, that privately, that the average Iraqi feels that the friendship between the Iraqis and Americans should be underscored, instead of the attitude of “Victory” claimed by PM Maliki.
I can tell you that terrorists are pussies that kill indiscriminately and don’t have the balls to fight face to face.
I can tell you that Muqtada al-Sadr is blaming Americans for the spike in violence in Iraq. (Google this idiot.)
I can also tell you, after two tours in this country, that I want Iraqis to succeed.
I can tell you that Iraqis are friendly, caring and giving.
I can tell you that I have made several Iraqi brothers (This is an Iraqi cultural thing. There is a difference between brother and friend.)
I can tell you that as I write this, I found out that four US Soldiers were killed in Baghdad by an IED today.
I can tell that the terrorists will not rest, even after we are gone.
Also, did you know that Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and Billy Mays all died the last couple of weeks? Oh yeah. Michael Jackson died too. Weird.