Dahr Jamail’s Iraqi Dispatchs & Jennifer Loven / Associated Press – 2006-01-12 00:01:04
An Open Letter From an Iraqi
Dahr Jamail’s Iraq Dispatches
I recently received this letter from an Iraqi friend who lives in Baghdad. It is written as an open letter to Mr. Bush.
— Dahr Jamail
While there is deep concern about the possibility of civil war, the common talk between all groups now in Iraq is the poor infrastructure, poor electricity, deficiency of fuels, bad drinking water, poor health services, poor education and extensive unemployment.
Unemployment doesn’t mean that young men don’t have jobs, because you can hardly find a young man who sits in his house. Instead, they will sell cigarettes, for example, or they work as taxi drivers or in the weapons trade, etc. This kind of way of living will not improve Iraq.
I want to ask Mr. Bush — do you think that Iran is a democratic country? With freedom and liberty? Do you?
If your answer is yes, then we can understand what is going in our country.
But if your answer is no, then let me ask you again — are you insane? (pardon me)
Because now you have let those people and their followers have the power and drag us 100’s of years backwards.
Do you know, Mr. Bush, that Shia students in Iraqi Universities are making these mass self-punishments: weeping and crying marches on the university campus instead of doing useful research? Are you happy with this Mr. Bush? Well, we are not.
I am not against the Shia, as they are my friends and my neighbors. But I am against this retarded ideology brought to this 21st century from ages back and supported by the head fundamental Islamists who want people to continue following them for good.
The very same who want to cut the body of Iraq into pieces so that they can rule their way, or should I say the Iranian way? It’s the same.
Well Mr. Bush, I shall tell you that your troops invaded Iraq in three weeks. But that was easy for you because many Iraqis, including myself believed you. Let’s say that we had a dream. We believed that you are going to take us to the real freedom.
And as I am writing a vision flashed in my mind, drawing back these nice, hopeful dreams. I miss that dream I had from when I saw first an American soldier with my eyes, and knew that Saddam’s era; war era, sanctions era and suffering era had gone.
In this moment, now I wish that your era had not come. Because of you, we have witnessed horrible days and the future is a gloomy one.
Mr Bush, be acknowledged that the Iraqi police and Iraqi army are not dealing or treating Iraqi citizens as citizens should be dealt with. They humiliate them, insult them with bad words and aim their guns toward people without a reason. They have limited everything in our lives; they have limited our roads, they have limited our freedom to go on the streets after 8 pm, they have limited our feeling of security, they have limited our hopes, our dreams and our social life.
Do you know that the government you installed has increased fuel prices five fold? It has failed to provide the minimum power to people and failed to supply water (Even if not good to drink. In addition, water is not available for the last days in Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq).
Mr. Bush, you must be proud of your new icon of democracy in the heart of the Middle East. Let me assure you that today there is no one in the world who wants to be in your icon of democracy, and not one country would want to be like Iraq. You know why? Because you have turned our lives into a seemingly endless series of crises and our suffering is day and night.
Finally, nothing seems positive now after the fraudulent ballots of the last elections. After all, the biggest winner is Iran and the Kurds. So you might go and sleep well tonight.
— An Iraqi citizen who believes in freedom and democracy, and who is craving them.
(c) 2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail. http://DahrJamailIraq.com
Bush to Democrats: Don’t Slam Iraq Policy
Jennifer Loven / Associated Press
WASHINGTON, (January 10, 2006) — President Bush warned Democratic critics of his Iraq policy on Tuesday to watch what they say or risk giving “comfort to our adversaries” and suffering at the ballot box in November. Democrats said Bush should take his own advice.
There are still 10 months left before congressional elections in which the president’s Republican Party could lose its dominance of Capitol Hill; a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll found Americans prefer Democratic control over a continued GOP majority by 49 percent to 36 percent. But Bush is wasting no time engaging the battle. In his first speech of 2006 on the road, last week in Chicago, he aggressively challenged Democrats on the economy.
Tuesday’s equally sharp message represented an attempt by the president to neutralize Democrats’ ability to use Iraq — where violence is surging in the wake of December parliamentary elections and messy negotiations to form a new coalition government — as an election-year cudgel against Republicans.
Bush acknowledged deep differences over Iraq among casualty-weary Americans, just 39 percent of whom approve of his handling of the war, according to AP-Ipsos. Without specifically mentioning Democrats, the president urged campaigning politicians to “conduct this debate responsibly.”
He said he welcomed “honest critics” who question the way the war is being conducted and the “loyal opposition” that points out what is wrong with his administration’s approach.
But he termed irresponsible the “partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil or because of Israel or because we misled the American people,” as well as “defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.” With that description, Bush lumped the many Democrats who have accused him of twisting prewar intelligence with the few people, mostly outside the mainstream, who have raised the issues of oil and Israel.
Bush argued that irresponsible discussion harms the morale of troops overseas, emboldens the insurgents they are fighting and sets a bad example for Iraqis trying to establish a democratic government.
“In a free society, there’s only one check on political speech and that’s the judgment of the American people,” the president said to sustained applause from a friendly audience, a gathering of Veterans of Foreign Wars. “So I ask all Americans to hold their elected leaders to account and demand a debate that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to our adversaries.”
White House press secretary Scott McClellan would not say who Bush believes has been irresponsible, other than Democratic Party chief Howard Dean, who said last month that “the idea that we’re going to win this war … is just plain wrong.” In the past, the White House has also singled out, among others, Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who became a leading advocate for a quick troop pullout, and other Democrats who say Bush has no strategy.
Democrats said Bush has no business trying to define what sort of talk is acceptable.
“Patriotic Americans will continue to ask the tough questions because our brave men and women in Iraq, their families and the American people deserve to know that their leaders are being held accountable,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said loyalty demands that Democrats differ with Bush on the lack of sufficient body armor for troops and other issues. “From its inception and continuing to this moment, the absence of open and honest debate has been one of the hallmarks of this war,” the California Democrat said.
And Democratic National Committee communications director Karen Finney said: “The Bush administration’s attack, distract and distort tactics reflect a Nixonian paranoia that is un-American. It’s shameful that once again the Bush administration resorted to attacking the patriotism of fellow Americans rather than answering legitimate questions surrounding the president’s failures in Iraq.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who met with Bush recently at the White House, praised the president’s recent efforts to gather differing viewpoints and welcomed the call for a more civil dialogue. But Schiff said the process must begin at the White House, which he said “brought the debate down a significant notch” when it attacked Murtha, a respected veteran and longtime hawk.
“Some of the worst culprits in worsening the dialogue on Iraq have come from the White House,” said Schiff, who attended Bush’s speech. “It’s got to be a two-way street.”
It was the latest in a series of speeches by Bush aimed at giving Americans more detail and more candor. He predicted more sacrifice and more progress in 2006 in Iraq.
Over the next year, Bush said, “we will continue handing more territory to Iraqi forces, with the goal of having the Iraqis in control of more territory than the coalition by the end of 2006.”
The still-unannounced results of Iraq’s Dec. 15 elections are expected to show the religious Shiite United Iraqi Alliance with a strong lead. The Shiites will, however, will need to form a coalition government with support from Kurdish and Sunni Arab political groups.
Bush said Iraqis must put aside political, religious and sectarian differences to be successful.
Sunnis, he said, “need to learn how to use their influence constructively in a democratic system,” while Shiites and Kurds must “protect the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority.”
©2006 Associated Press
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