Contributed by: filbert Tuesday, September 18 2007 @ 01:26 PM CST
I was greeted by friendly Iraqis in the streets of Baghdad every day, but the atmosphere in Ramadi was different. I am not exaggerating in the least when I describe their attitude toward Americans as euphoric.
Grown Iraqi men hugged American Soldiers and Marines.
We’re told that we’re losing in Iraq. We’re told that the Iraqis hate us and want us to leave. We’re told that Americans are dying for nothing (or worse, for “oil.”) We’re told lots of things.
When we got back in the Humvees I was required to don my helmet again in case we hit a bump in the road.
Bumps in the road are now officially seen as more hazardous than insurgents and terrorists in Ramadi. (There is a lot of hard metal inside a Humvee that you can bang your head up against.) I have my doubts about the relative dangers of each in the real world. Ramadi isn’t totally safe yet. But this kind of juxtaposition is absurdly unthinkable in Baghdad.
The Iraqis of Anbar Province turned against Al Qaeda and sided with the Americans in large part because Al Qaeda proved to be far more vicious than advertised. But it’s also because sustained contact with the American military – even in an explosively violent combat zone –convinced these Iraqis that Americans are very different people from what they had been led to believe. They finally figured out that the Americans truly want to help and are not there to oppress them or steal from them. And the Americans slowly learned how Iraqi culture works and how to blend in rather than barge in.
“We hand out care packages from the U.S. to Iraqis now that the area has been cleared of terrorists,” one Marine told me. “When we tell them that some of these packages aren’t from the military or the government, that they were donated by average American citizens in places like Kansas, people choke up and sometimes even cry. They just can’t comprehend it. It is so different from the lies they were told about us and how we’re supposed to be evil.”
There are lots of lies going around, many of them being told by people who ought to know better. Meanwhile, we are winning the war in Iraq against the barbarians.
UPDATE: Oh, yeah, I meant to post this[*2] . Seems like Baghdad hospitals are emptying out due to a lack of casualties.
Doctors at the hospital, a barometer of bloodshed in the Iraqi capital, say there has been a sharp fall in victims of violence admitted during a seven-month security campaign.
Last month the fall was particularly dramatic, with 70 percent fewer bodies and half the number of wounded brought in compared to July, hospital director Haqi Ismail said.
“The major incidents, like explosions and car bombs, sometimes reached six or seven a day. Now it’s more like one or two a week,” he told Reuters.
The relative calm at the Yarmouk hospital lends weight to U.S. and Iraqi government assertions that a security campaign launched around Baghdad in February has achieved results.
Have you heard that on the news channels?