Iraqi Self-Expression

Right before we began releasing our videos on March 19th, I posted an mp3 on this blog of Saif and his friends Zaid and Ahmed playing an Iraqi folk song. That post generated a ton of dialogue and interest. I think it was the collective shock and excitement of seeing young Iraqis express themselves artistically. It was something that many people had never seen before. And that experience has been repeated many times throughout the last few weeks as we have released our videos.

I think that these moments of amazement - of epiphanies and revelations triggered by what we find online - are products of the power and reach of the internet. And if we, as citizens of the wired world, help spread these items of interest further, we can do a small part to decrease the alienation, disconnection, apathy and hostility that divide our world.

In that spirit, I wanted to point out a few examples of things making their way around the web.

First, Zaid (see “My Best Friend Zaid” and “Iraqi Man”) sent me the following five pictures over the weekend. I can’t give it a better intro than he did. He writes (I did light editing at his request):

There is a wall being created around my city of Al Ahdhamia to separate it from other places in Baghdad. They, the US Army and our Government, say it will help prevent fighting and bloodshed. But it is only creating another face of sectarianism.
The people of Al Ahdhamia rejected the wall but the US Army and our government finished it.
But the interesting thing is that artists have painted wonderful pictures on that wall. :) This Iraqi artist has never been known and I guess they only paint as a hobby. It is wonderful. Check it out and I hope you put it on our site hometownbaghdad.com along with some words of mine.

Update: These pictures are not of the wall in Ahdhamia. According to a reputable source: “These concrete walls are on Al-Sa’doon street, and they are there to protect a hotel called “Baghdad Hotel” which was a building for the CIA and then a residence for the members of the Iraq Governing Councel in 2003.” (Thanks, Ahmed!) I am still leaving Zaid’s words because I think his point about the wall in Ahdhamia is important and his excitement about the art is still valid and very real.

Iraqi Wall Art 3 Iraqi Wall Art 4 Iraqi Wall Art 5
Iraqi Wall Art 1 Iraqi Wall Art 2

The second thing I’m linking to is a short documentary about Saif’s brother, Mohammed, who lives in Paris. Zaid linked to it in the comments but I thought it deserved getting pointed out again. Link. Mohammad is working on a few other projects that I will try to post here as they become available.

The third item is bound to be a bit controversial. It is a powerpoint slide show that Ausama sent me over the weekend and asked me to post. Some may see it as divisive but I hope that everyone can see that whoever created it was mainly motivated by two things: a) pride for his country; and b) sadness over the situation that has developed. See it here.

72 Responses to “Iraqi Self-Expression”

  1. Rudi Says:

    I’ve been watching the series compulsively since I found it… I would just ask Ausama two questions — could you add some pictures of Saddam’s victims to your pre-2003 pictures? And also, what do you think will happen if we pull out? Do you think Adel will live? Or do you think Islamists will break his guitar over his back and shoot him? Won’t the same happen to all the ordinary people who just want to live?

  2. bedlam Says:

    Ausama, I know its horrible for you.
    Four years, four long years of open war.
    But please remember, it was not all sweetness and light before 2003.
    There were still torture camps. Children cried and died. And the wars before! The gas fields of Iran! The poison is the marshes!
    Both times disgust me.I cry for anyone who dies, regardless of who kills them.
    All I know is, this time is more openly violent in civilian land than before, and my country is involved.
    Peace and love.

  3. Karenne Says:

    You had me until Rambo ;0)

  4. Zaid Says:

    Hey Mike ….
    thanks for that , but as I have been told its for Adhamia , you know am not workin in the press field so as I said , I have been told .
    Thanks for Update , but …….Whatever we can say its in Baghdad , Iraq ((((( WAR and ART )))))

    My Kind Regards for all………………………..

    Zaid Al Bender

  5. Ahmed Naji Says:

    Ausama, I understand what you miss in our war-torn country. But, I think you got overwhelmed and your mind got dragged into a field of false nostalagia.
    If someone wants to do an objective “non-overwhelmed” comparison then you really should have considered victims from before 2003. I am not speaking about some Iraqis who politically opposed the former regime, I am speaking about many artists, architects, doctors and musicians who refussed to glorify Saddam and help Ba’ath regime manipulate the Iraqi identity. Baghdad, and Iraq could have been more better if Saddam was not as Iraqis and the world experienced him.
    Now, we are hurt more than before, that’s true. But that’s because Saddam’s legacy is not over. We are still living the consequences of his actions against Iraqis.
    I admire your love for Iraq, this is the true essence of citizenship. We should all seek the truth of what happened, because the “Truth is a healing force”.

    Thanks for your efforts,
    Ahmed Naji
    Baghdad

  6. 3eeraqimedic Says:

    Ausama
    Powerful images.
    Everyone else:
    Wahetever you think was going on before, two wrongs DO not make a right.

  7. mike Says:

    hey Zaid, after i posted the pictures, our good friend Ahmed N.G. wrote me an email explaining where they are. I agree that it doesn’t matter if it is the wall in Ahdhamia or the wall on Al Sa’doon Street. The fact is that there is are walls like that all over (from what I understand) and that some Iraqis are creating art out of it. Whether that art is symbolic with slogans of personal freedom like Adel’s graffiti or well-done representations of Iraqi horses, fishermen, etc., it is important and shows incredible spirit. Let’s just hope that artists all over Iraq can soon create their works in complete freedom without fear.

  8. Sally Says:

    I agree with Bedlam and Ahmed Naji; although their are victims from the current troubles in Iraq filling the hospitals, before 2003, war victims and the mass murdered were filling the hospitals and the morgues. Of course the sight of the children there is awful but aren’t a lot of children now born in Iraq deformed as a result of the chemicals Saddam used? 2 wrongs don’t make a right, neither way is a way to live.

  9. Nadia Says:

    I believe the whole slideshow was made out of emotions and rage, I agree with you all, it is not the perfect comparison to make but it is full of feelings!

    Thanks for the effort Ausama!

    Love,
    Nadia.

  10. Ahmed Naji Says:

    This discussion is so interesting that I need to share more with all of you here. The problem is I have too much to say about these paintings on the wall, like if they are true Iraqi artists’ expression, and if it is right to do or not. So ,in short, here is what I think and what I know as a fact:
    - I think that painting on the numerous bulky concrete walls scattered in Baghdad’s street is a form of submission and weakness. I think we are trying to accept the presence of these concrete walls and accepting them to be permanent parts in our life. They are not the Wall of Berlin, or the Great Wall of China. They are ugly and imprisoning us rather than protecting. Unlike “Hometown Baghdad” which I proudly participated in its work with Mike, Fady and the others. Hometown Baghdad is a true Iraqi self-expression to me, because it showed an undeniable reality, and it is a rare eye-opener in these times of war and peace.
    - What I know is that those painters [rather than artists] were hired by Baghdad Municipality to these ready-copies of master-pieces in order to make Baghdad better looking despite the ugliness of the concrete walls.

    This is what I think and know. What do you think?

    Best,
    the Millhouse from the Simpsons [according to what Sally thinks]. :)

  11. mike Says:

    Wow, Ahmed. That is a really good point. Hmmm. Don’t know how I feel about that.

    Zaid, you around? What do you think?

  12. Zaid Says:

    Well , its nice to make a conversation about this topic which when I have got it at once I said to my self …It would be wonderful reflection when we will put it in our site .
    I think there are many realities on the ground such as (( Walls , BAMS, HATE , BLOOD and DEATH )) and on the other hand there are (( ART , WORK , LOVE , DOCTORS , HELP and LIFE ))
    …and those things ALL TOGETHER AT SAME TIME !!!!!! …Do you know what I mean ??!!!!!!!!
    Whatever those people are (( Painters or Artists )) even I like to call them painters , whatever the place the work in I see them brave and better than us , and they are doing a great job .
    On the other hand , the Wall idea is the bad thing which as I said before its for SECTARIANISM and insulating Iraqis from each other , But LOVE & HATE , LIFE & DEATH , BAMS & WORK and finaly CHARITY & EVIL are always together ……BUT in different levels as the difference in conditions and communities ,,,,,,,,,
    Our job now , is to work on increasing GOOD and CHARITY and killing all BADthings which is killing us day by day …….
    Its a fight as health with sickness ,

    GOD BLESS YOU ALL

    My best regards for all

  13. Zaid Says:

    Ahmed Naji & Mike ……….give me a hubble buble lol

  14. Sally Says:

    Wow, I did not know that these people were hired to paint those walls…they look good though! (I’m against the walls because of the segregation/ghetto life it creates for inhabitants- its divide and rule)

    No way you cannot be Millhouse…I saw the ‘homeless’ video and you look like someone completely different, it can’t be, it’s the guy who threw water after Abdullah when he leaves, if you can get Saif to enlighten us with his name, that would be brilliant! hehe

  15. Ausama Says:

    Dear all ,

    Rudi , Bedlam … first of all I didn’t make that power point for a start .. but I liked it , because everything there was speaking loud about what is going on now compared to before .

    true , before the war there were many bad things happening and may be I didn’t see those … I’m sure of that.

    but I Just want to mention that we can’t change a bad for worse !

    some probably mentioned the opposite of that , but I just loved it when I saw ” Abu Nwass street “glowing of lights not of explosions .

    I liked the fact when we USED to have evidents of our history , our Ur harp …our National museum.

    I liked it when I saw Sammarra and al Kadhum in their best where people from all over Iraq used to go to them.

    I was 16 years old when the war happened and I’m 20 years old now , those 4 years were suppose to be the best.

    Please don’t try to justify anything by bringing the name of Saddam everytime.

    I’m not a politician , my words are simple …

    take a look back to that slide show and look at what we really need , look at how we want our lives to be like.

    Thank you

  16. mike Says:

    Hi Sally, I think there is some confusion…Ahmed Naji and Mohammad Naji are different people! Ahmed is the one who threw the water in “Abdullah Leaves” and the one with the umbrella gun in “Symphony of Bullets.” Mohammed Naji is Saif’s brother who is in the Homeless video. Hope that helps!

  17. Iza Says:

    regardless of the intent on the powerpoint show, the creator perhaps achieved one definite purpose……he moved people. the images are startling primarily because of the comparison from then and now, and i feel for your country. your country is fighting for its life…culturally, politically, etc. my prayers that your country wins this fight.

  18. ljm Says:

    The murals on the wall are beautiful. I hope they are painted on the inside of the wall as well. I also hope the violence is greatly reduced as a result of this wall so you can get services like electricity going again as soon as possible. When the situation is stable in Baghdad, take down the wall.

  19. Andrew Says:

    I don’t know where to start. I certainly do not want to defend the US President we now have. I have worked very hard to defeat him and his ignorant policies at every turn.

    Our democracy is clearly messy and can get very out of control. For that I am sorry beyond words. You pay the price and we live in comfort.

    Many of us do not live in ignorance of the consequences of our President’s actions. You have now been the victum of two consecutive mad men. The voters of the US will change that as soon as possible, but even a wise person is at a loss as to what to do now. It seems that Pandora’s Box is open. What steps do we take to make progress towards an Iraq where people are able to live in peace and men and women have a good life? Wahabism and shiria law may be an answer but I sincerely doubt it is the answer.

  20. Maria Says:

    Im a student in Berlin, Germany, and it makes me sick to see whats going on there. Especially now, when they plan to build this wall - like the wall in berlin, where so many people died if they wanted to pass it. i wished those idiots of politicians would soon understand what theyre doing, but i doubt it somehow…
    I hope that you all and your families stay healthy and good - God bless u, and thanks for showing the world the reality.

  21. Sally Says:

    Ausama, we’re not trying to justify anything by bringing Saddam’s name in, but we’re just trying to say that life wasn’t ideal for a lot of people before the war either. It may have been for you but not everyone was so fortunate. If Saddam was still in power, then after him would come his mad psychotic rapist son Uday who prefers to bring lions up then children and feeds people to them! What we’re trying to say is that Iraq should have neither scenario and we can only hope that our vision for Iraq will eventually materialise one day in the future. We can only carry this hope as Iraqis.

    Lol thanks Mike, wow, well then Ahmed I think you’re cute and even more cute when you speak english! You’re also funny and seem really sweet when you remembered to throw water behind your departing friend. You should definitely come to London sometime:)

  22. A.A. Says:

    Zaid,

    These paintings are beautiful! The way that I see it is that building these walls was something the government had to do. They want to try to create as much stability as they can. But in reality , the walls create more unstability because you would then be afraid of the other side of the wall. It will divide people as we seen in Germany with East and West. It will create more fractures in the society yet I still can’t believe they continued with it. But the paintings I believe is someone’s idea of, if the walls have to be there, do they have to be that ugly color? Do they have to be that ugly to look at and feel scared of? Maybe the painting were to generate a more peaceful approach to looking at the wall. That whatever is behind the wall isn’t so scary after all. Does that make any sense? LoL I feel like I’m analyizing a painting for a psychology class or something.

    Ausama,
    I did like the slideshow, it does show that you did put some feeling into making it. And in the end it does envoke a feeling in everyone,whatever the feeling is. Yet other parts of Iraq weren’t living all the great before 2003. Not that they are living any better now, but do you understand what I mean about this? I do think that whatever money that was put in Iraq for building the land was poured into Baghdad the most because after all it is the capital. And this is why Baghdad looks so pretty in the slideshow. And I am not dissing on Baghdad or anything, I was born there, but I do believe you should consider other parts of Iraq before 2003, like the north. It does unjustice when us Iraqis look at only our district and our city. For we Iraqis have did that way before we even did the whole “Sunni, Shia, or Kurd” thing. Now after 2003, I believe it is just “new” terminology that we use. Instead of saying I am from Baghdad so I better than this or that person, we now say I am Sunni, Shia, or whatever so I better than this or that person.

    Hmm, I think I write too much :(

  23. Samara Says:

    The email with the photos has been circling for a week or so and I received it from a friend, I must admit that I loved it when I saw it. Now that I know that people were paid to do it, I don’t think of it as less beautiful. I cannot think that art (even if it’s copied) is bad. Iraqis are very artistic people, and have always blossomed under the long dictatorships that we have lived under. Our art is not necessarily always political but it’s there for all to see, just google Iraqi art on the net and see what you find. Listen to the mp3 that mike mentioned, watch some of the episodes on this site, be it music from Saif, Zaid and Adel or the sculptures of Zaid’s dad.
    Just because something is propaganda doesn’t make it ugly or bad, as long as we know it for what it is.

    Ausama, I understand your pain. When the Americans started bombing baghdad I watched it on TV, too stunned to even cry. For me Abu Nawas was were we went for Masgoof, not a death trap. I fear for Iraq, I fear that it will end up divided into 3 parts, Kurdistan, a Sunni part and a Shia part. The wall is a first step.

    Stay safe.

  24. Maria Says:

    @A.A.

    i dont really think that politicians create walls because they think its the best solution.

    they build walls because FOR THEM its the most simple solution, thats all. i dont believe in this illusion that politicians always want the best for the population - because all facts are speaking against it.
    walls are easy to build, less expensive and effective for the needs of politicians - but not for the needs of the population.

  25. Ahmed Naji Says:

    As for painting on the concrete walls, I would like to point out that I am not against painting on them. But when we start to do that we are approaching a reality of accepting them and may be submiting to them. So the only dividing line between submiting and fighting back is the kind of art and the message it conveys.
    There are other concrete walls painted with expressive paintings, and I do admire that. The French Embassy supported a couple of young Iraqi artists who painted volunteerly on them, and acknowledged their work.
    The message in art is the issue here. Do you know the radical shiite clerk Muqtada Al-Sadr asked Iraqi artists to paint promoting “anti-American and against occupation” messages??
    We do not want such messages too. We need Iraqi messages reminding us of the civil life in Iraq and help us create our own “Iraqi dream” like the Americans have their “American dream”..
    –Sally, I think you are funnier when you thought I look like Millhouse. :)

  26. sonia Says:

    What I see in the power point is that today’s blood bath is worst than Sadaam’s bloody tyranny as his tyranny did not involved a daily building last and much more, one was under the scenes and here the butchery is out for the whole world to see…how depraved humanity can actually be - the Hell which is now IRAQ out of the devil’s mouth himself… What was seen in 2003 also came with a price and the blood of many generations ahead.

    But what I also see is that Iraq has become the battleground for so much more. When you say Sunni vs Shiite I agree that the factions are being funded by larger groups with their own plans at play i.e. Iran, Syria, U.S., etc. This is not a case of pristine ideals, religion is being used as a mask to control.

    How can you follow supposed leaders who deny the holocaust and then are out to start another, how can you follow leaders who do not follow rational thought and use the cowboy approach to defense? Human rights what is that - look at North Korea, look at China, look at the U.S.

    What do the Iraqi’s want? Peace just like everyone else why can’t they have this? I would like to hear what the solution is?
    Troop pullout, Add troops, elimination of Al Qaida and other radical groups, what about democracy for the Middle east period.
    Transition to female leaders? Removal of dependancy on oil.

    What is happening in Iraq is no longer isolated this is much bigger - we or shall we say the screwed up in command are out to blast the earth to smitherines. Limited minds can do much damage as they only think about short term gains! The earth will be glowing green soon so I do not think we are safe. There is a race for nuclear power and therefore nuclear war.

    By now the only thing that will stop humanity from blowing one another up is the power of the masses to not follow corrupt leaders be they insurgents, radicals or the big government. Don’t enlist!!!!!!!!!! What will there be to fight for if there are no citizens in Iraq who comply - non violence. What is a god without followers, what is an imam or priest without followers?

    Don’t follow, discriminate, critically judge what you are hearing from the news, from internet - what is the true motive?

  27. Sally Says:

    Ahmed, I hope you’re not offended by the Millhouse reference, that was not my intention at all…anyway, are you still in Iraq? You write extremely good English which leads me to think that you probably spent some time abroad right?

  28. lelly Says:

    Ausama, I completely understand what you’re saying. 16-20, the four best years of your life.
    You feel theyve been taken away from you.
    Its hard, and bitter and sad. The best thing you can do is try and look to the future, instead of the past. Those years are gone. But you’re 20 years old, still very young. Make the most of it as much as you can.
    I personally don’t try and justify anything happening in Iraq’s present by the past. Some people perhaps think its easy to look at the past as all sweetness and light.
    Best wishes, peace and love.

  29. Kim Capenos Says:

    As an American mom of three beautiful daughters, (ages 11, 4, and 3 years old), I sat and cried when I saw the powerpoint presentation and saw all of the injured and disfigured children. Is anything being done to help the children? Is there anything we can do to help that would go directly to these kids, as opposed to some huge organization like The Red Cross that determines what to do with donated funds? So many Americans are against this war, and even many of those misguided ones who are for it, all want to do something to help the children. Any suggestions for what is actually getting the needed help to the right people?
    Thank you ALL for your honesty, and courage to film these segments, and for opening our eyes to what real life is like living in Iraq. May you, and your friends and families stay safe. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Kim and the girls

  30. Ahmed Naji Says:

    Hi Sally, No I am not offended at all, actually it is very funny :).
    As for my English, thanks for that. I never left Iraq except for the three weeks I spent in US with Mike working on Hometown Baghdad project. I learned my English from music, films and some books. And it is because I love this language very much.
    I hope someday we can meet in London, or in Baghdad hopefully, who knows??

  31. Billie Says:

    I just wanted to drop in and say how happy I am to see so many comments and such a lively conversation ! It looks as though Hometownbaghdad is really off and running.

    I’ve just read a Washington Post article that interested me because it showed some “minds” at work trying to figure out the Iraq situation … Arab minds , albeit ; minds connected with Cheney ( ?!)

    Sally, you seem like a sweet person , however ; I disagree on a matter with you. You stated ” we can only hope that our vision for Iraq will eventually materialise one day in the future. We can only carry this hope as Iraqis.” I dunno, are you Iraqi ? As far as I’m concerned, that’s their country , having our own vision for them is what got them and us into this mess. Good heavens, I almost forgot, that wasn’t what started all this, it was weapons of mass destruction !

    Anyhow, here’s quote from Washington Post article titled :

    Cheney and the Saudi’s May 9th

    The Saudis appear to favor replacing the Maliki government, which they see as dominated by Iranian-backed Shiite religious parties, and are quietly backing former interim prime minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite and ex-Baathist who has support among Iraqi Sunnis. Allawi’s advisers say that his strategy is to exploit tensions within the Shiite religious alliance and form a new ruling coalition that would be made up of Sunnis, Kurds and secular Shiites. Allawi’s camp believes he is close to having enough votes, thanks in part to Saudi political and financial support.

    The Bush administration appears to have little enthusiasm for an Allawi putsch, despite its frustration with Maliki. U.S. officials fear that a change of government in Baghdad would only deepen the political disarray there and encourage new calls for the withdrawal of troops.

    The ferment in the region is driven partly by the perception that U.S. troops are on the way out, no matter what the Bush administration says. To dampen such speculation, Bush is said to have told the Saudis that America will not withdraw from Iraq during his presidency. “That gives us 18 months to plan,” said one Saudi source.

    End quote

    I don’t know if that was proper to do, but like I said, I was at least glad to see other minds working on this issue. I have no idea whether to agree or disagree. But then, it’s probably not my place to do so. As I have said, as far as I’m concerned , Iraq is your country. What do you think ? No need to answer here, you don’t owe me an explanation.

    Peace
    your sister of the Universe
    Billie

  32. Samara Says:

    Sonia, Ausama in his email said we shouldn’t justify what is happening by bringing in Saddam. Saddam is gone, the invasion/liberation (delete as applicable) has happened, the situation in Iraq is as it is at the moment. The question is what to do to improve the situation and I for one don’t have an answer. I have been out of Iraq far too long. All I know is what I see on TV and on the net. What do the guys who’ve just left think? On the one hand I want the Americans out, Iraqis need to govern themselves sooner or later. On the other hand I’m scared if the American do leave then there’s going to be a blood bath. I don’t trust this weakling government that is tied to Iran.

  33. Sally Says:

    Inshallah, I can show you around London and you can show me around Baghdad, lol thats if we don’t get shot for the numerous reasons I’m sure you’re aware of! Well that’s very impressive; out of all the Iraqis on here your English strikes me as being the most grammatically correct etc etc so it really looks like you have at least studied abroad for a while…
    anyway, I think Mike has something for you… :-)

  34. Through Gracepeace Says:

    Our Eyes Dream Acid Tears

    One land, one people, all asleep
    one dream in every mind
    all see words of scripture, captive
    in a vise of hatred, crushed
    distorted words of God, acid
    tears, his screaming lips, the captor
    feels the kiss of Satan
    on his heart.

  35. lelly Says:

    The art is amazing and beautiful. People in Northern ireland used to do something similar,I think.
    I love horses, so the horse painting was my favourite.
    You guys rock.

  36. Gunner Sgt Says:

    Samara and lelly,

    Did you watch Ausama’s slide show?

    http://hometownbaghdad.com/images/Iraq_freedom1.pps

    I believe this is what has upset so many people.

    What about the babies that never got to live to be “16 to 20″ year old age?

    What about them?

    BABIES were shot in the head by Saddam’s Army in SECTARIAN VIOLENCE:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3738368.stm

    What did the babies do to deserve a bullet to the head by Saddam Hussein? This SECTARIAN VIOLENCE was commited against the SHIA and KURDS by Saddam Hussein!

    But in Ausama’s world everything was better BEFORE the removal of Saddam Hussein so Ausama MUST BELIEVE that Iraq would have been “better” had Saddam stayed in power????!!!!!

    Ausama is very young and I pray Iraq improves security so he can live a long happy life, but this view is sad.

    Ausama why do you focus only on the bad?

    The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has helped to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure that Saddam Hussein let fall apart. Coaltion Forces have also hired many local Iraqi Construction Companies to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure with American funds.

    When al-Qaeda blows a bridge or Mosque up Coalition Forces have funds available to hire LOCAL IRAIQS to rebuild their country as these photos show below:

    The Schmaite Bridge, which links villages north and south of the Zaab River, was bombed by al-Qaeda in March, 2007.
    Coalition Forces used the Commander’s Emergency Response Program to award a contract to a local construction company to rebuild it.
    http://www.defendamerica.mil/photoessays/may2007/p051107a1.html

    .
    A contracted company from the local community was awarded the reconstruction contract to repair the damage to the Schmaite Bridge located in western Kirkuk province.
    http://www.defendamerica.mil/photoessays/may2007/p051107a2.html

    .
    Coalition Forces monitored construction of the Schmaite Bridge which was quickly completed by a local contracting company and re-opened for traffic after suffering significant damage in a terrorist attack.
    http://www.defendamerica.mil/photoessays/may2007/p051107a3.html

    ..
    .
    The Schmaite Bridge, was quickly repaired after Coalition Forces, using the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, contracted a local construction company to repair the brigde, located in the western section of Kirkuk province in Iraq, May 11, 2007
    http://www.defendamerica.mil/photoessays/may2007/p051107a4.html

    .

  37. Gunner Sgt Says:

    Looted treasure returning to Iraq national museum
    By Barry Meier and James Glanz The New York Times

    One of the most important treasures stolen in the ransacking of Iraq’s national museum three years ago has been recovered in a clandestine operation involving the U.S. government and turned over to Iraqi officials in Washington.

    The piece, a headless stone statue of the Sumerian king Entemena of Lagash, was stolen in the days after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. After the looting, American officials came under sharp criticism from archaeologists and others for not securing the museum, a vast storehouse of artifacts from some of civilization’s first cities.

    The Entemena statue was taken across the border to Syria and put on sale on the international antiquities market. Thousands of looted artifacts that remained in Iraq - from tiny cylinder seals to the famed Warka Vase - have since been returned to the museum, and a few pieces have been turned over by foreign countries, including Italy and the Netherlands. But the Entemena statue, estimated to be 4,400 years old, is the first significant artifact returned from the United States and by far the most important piece found outside Iraq.

    American officials declined to discuss how they recovered the statue, saying that to do so might impair their efforts to retrieve other artifacts. But people with knowledge of the episode produced a narrative that included antiquities smugglers, international art dealers and an Iraqi expatriate businessman who was the linchpin in efforts to recover the piece and bring it to the United States.

    Since early June, the statue has been in an art storage warehouse in New York. American officials had planned to turn it over to the Iraqi government at a public event, said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. That opportunity presented itself Tuesday when the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, visited Washington, where he discussed security problems in Baghdad with President George W. Bush.

    In interviews over the weekend in Baghdad, Iraqi officials expressed relief that the statue of the king, which had stood in the center of the museum’s second-floor Sumerian Hall, had been found. But the same officials voiced frustration at what they said was the slow pace of international cooperation on the recovery of artifacts.

    “I’m overwhelmingly happy,” said Liwa Sumaysim, the Iraqi antiquities minister. “We hope we get it soon so it goes back in the Iraqi museum, where it belongs.”

    A spokesman for the Antiquities Ministry, Abdul Zahra Talqani, said the ministry first received word of the recovery about two months ago. He said that hopes had been raised in the past, after reports of the recovery of the statue in Iraq, but that those pieces turned out to be clay copies that had also been looted from the museum.

    In June, not long after the statue was brought to the United States, two antiquities scholars were taken to the warehouse, known as The Fortress, to authenticate it. The statue, which is made of diorite, a hard, dark rock similar to granite, was encrusted with dirt, suggesting that it might have been concealed during its sojourn in Syria. In addition, there were fresh chips along parts of its stone surface that did not appear in historical photographs, indicating recent damage.

    Mohsen Hassan, an expert at the museum’s commission on antiquities, said that the statue, which weighs hundreds of pounds, was the heaviest piece stolen from the museum and that looters probably rolled or slid it down marble stairs to remove it, smashing the steps and damaging other artifacts.

    The statue of Entemena of Lagash is among the most important artifacts unearthed in excavations of Ur, the ancient southern city. The king is dressed in a skirt of tasseled sheepskin and his arms are crossed in prayer. Detailed inscriptions run along the figure’s shoulder and back.

    The statue was found headless when originally excavated, and experts say its head might have been lopped off in ancient times to symbolize Ur’s emancipation from Lagash.

    One of the experts who authenticated the statue, John Russell, a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, said it was not only archaeologically significant but also striking because the king’s muscular arms were sculptured in a lively, naturalistic style.

    Earlier sculptural styles were cruder, he said.

    Efforts to sell the statue began not long after it was stolen, said people with knowledge of the episode.

    Hicham Aboutaam, an antiquities dealer who owns galleries in New York and Geneva, was approached while visiting Lebanon and shown a picture of the statue to gauge his interest in buying it, those people said. Initially, those holding the statue were seeking millions for it, one person said.

    Aboutaam soon discovered that it had been stolen and did not pursue the deal.

    It was not clear precisely when or how Aboutaam - who pleaded guilty in 2004 to a federal charge of falsifying a customs document related to a different artifact - informed federal officials. He and his brother and business partner, Ali Aboutaam, declined to answer specific questions about the episode.

    Last year, federal prosecutors in New York contacted Hicham Aboutaam and expressed interest in recovering the statue, said a person with knowledge of those events. Aboutaam agreed to help.

    Subsequently, he or his brother made contact with an Iraqi expatriate businessman now living in Europe. Soon, that businessman, who was referred to as the broker, became the pivotal figure in securing the statue.

    Little is known about the businessman other than that he is involved in construction. But he began to shuttle among Iraq, Syria and other countries to make contact with those holding the statue and to negotiate its turnover. It was not known whether money had been paid to those holding the statue or whether promises had been made.

    When asked what would be done with the statue, Hassan, the museum official, did not hesitate.

    “We will fix it and put it in the same place where it was,” he said, adding that security had largely been restored at the museum, which is close to the notorious Haifa Street in a district that periodically erupts in violence.

    But a tour of the building over the weekend, granted reluctantly by Hassan, raised questions as to how the museum could function while housing valuable artifacts like the statue. A walk down a corridor toward the Sumerian Hall, for example, ended abruptly at a concrete wall, which someone had crudely crosshatched with a fingertip to simulate bricks.

    Hassan awkwardly conceded that four times since the invasion, he had been forced to wall off the collections as the only reliable means of preventing further looting.

    He had most recently put the walls up a couple of months earlier after a mass kidnapping close to the museum. “When things get better,” he said, “we break it.”

    One of the most important treasures stolen in the ransacking of Iraq’s national museum three years ago has been recovered in a clandestine operation involving the U.S. government and turned over to Iraqi officials in Washington.

    The piece, a headless stone statue of the Sumerian king Entemena of Lagash, was stolen in the days after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. After the looting, American officials came under sharp criticism from archaeologists and others for not securing the museum, a vast storehouse of artifacts from some of civilization’s first cities.

    The Entemena statue was taken across the border to Syria and put on sale on the international antiquities market. Thousands of looted artifacts that remained in Iraq - from tiny cylinder seals to the famed Warka Vase - have since been returned to the museum, and a few pieces have been turned over by foreign countries, including Italy and the Netherlands. But the Entemena statue, estimated to be 4,400 years old, is the first significant artifact returned from the United States and by far the most important piece found outside Iraq.

    American officials declined to discuss how they recovered the statue, saying that to do so might impair their efforts to retrieve other artifacts. But people with knowledge of the episode produced a narrative that included antiquities smugglers, international art dealers and an Iraqi expatriate businessman who was the linchpin in efforts to recover the piece and bring it to the United States.

    Since early June, the statue has been in an art storage warehouse in New York. American officials had planned to turn it over to the Iraqi government at a public event, said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. That opportunity presented itself Tuesday when the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, visited Washington, where he discussed security problems in Baghdad with President George W. Bush.

    In interviews over the weekend in Baghdad, Iraqi officials expressed relief that the statue of the king, which had stood in the center of the museum’s second-floor Sumerian Hall, had been found. But the same officials voiced frustration at what they said was the slow pace of international cooperation on the recovery of artifacts.

    “I’m overwhelmingly happy,” said Liwa Sumaysim, the Iraqi antiquities minister. “We hope we get it soon so it goes back in the Iraqi museum, where it belongs.”

    A spokesman for the Antiquities Ministry, Abdul Zahra Talqani, said the ministry first received word of the recovery about two months ago. He said that hopes had been raised in the past, after reports of the recovery of the statue in Iraq, but that those pieces turned out to be clay copies that had also been looted from the museum.

    In June, not long after the statue was brought to the United States, two antiquities scholars were taken to the warehouse, known as The Fortress, to authenticate it. The statue, which is made of diorite, a hard, dark rock similar to granite, was encrusted with dirt, suggesting that it might have been concealed during its sojourn in Syria. In addition, there were fresh chips along parts of its stone surface that did not appear in historical photographs, indicating recent damage.

    Mohsen Hassan, an expert at the museum’s commission on antiquities, said that the statue, which weighs hundreds of pounds, was the heaviest piece stolen from the museum and that looters probably rolled or slid it down marble stairs to remove it, smashing the steps and damaging other artifacts.

    The statue of Entemena of Lagash is among the most important artifacts unearthed in excavations of Ur, the ancient southern city. The king is dressed in a skirt of tasseled sheepskin and his arms are crossed in prayer. Detailed inscriptions run along the figure’s shoulder and back.

    The statue was found headless when originally excavated, and experts say its head might have been lopped off in ancient times to symbolize Ur’s emancipation from Lagash.

    One of the experts who authenticated the statue, John Russell, a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, said it was not only archaeologically significant but also striking because the king’s muscular arms were sculptured in a lively, naturalistic style.

    Earlier sculptural styles were cruder, he said.

    Efforts to sell the statue began not long after it was stolen, said people with knowledge of the episode.

    Hicham Aboutaam, an antiquities dealer who owns galleries in New York and Geneva, was approached while visiting Lebanon and shown a picture of the statue to gauge his interest in buying it, those people said. Initially, those holding the statue were seeking millions for it, one person said.

    Aboutaam soon discovered that it had been stolen and did not pursue the deal.

    It was not clear precisely when or how Aboutaam - who pleaded guilty in 2004 to a federal charge of falsifying a customs document related to a different artifact - informed federal officials. He and his brother and business partner, Ali Aboutaam, declined to answer specific questions about the episode.

    Last year, federal prosecutors in New York contacted Hicham Aboutaam and expressed interest in recovering the statue, said a person with knowledge of those events. Aboutaam agreed to help.

    Subsequently, he or his brother made contact with an Iraqi expatriate businessman now living in Europe. Soon, that businessman, who was referred to as the broker, became the pivotal figure in securing the statue.

    Little is known about the businessman other than that he is involved in construction. But he began to shuttle among Iraq, Syria and other countries to make contact with those holding the statue and to negotiate its turnover. It was not known whether money had been paid to those holding the statue or whether promises had been made.

    When asked what would be done with the statue, Hassan, the museum official, did not hesitate.

    “We will fix it and put it in the same place where it was,” he said, adding that security had largely been restored at the museum, which is close to the notorious Haifa Street in a district that periodically erupts in violence.

    But a tour of the building over the weekend, granted reluctantly by Hassan, raised questions as to how the museum could function while housing valuable artifacts like the statue. A walk down a corridor toward the Sumerian Hall, for example, ended abruptly at a concrete wall, which someone had crudely crosshatched with a fingertip to simulate bricks.

    Hassan awkwardly conceded that four times since the invasion, he had been forced to wall off the collections as the only reliable means of preventing further looting.

    He had most recently put the walls up a couple of months earlier after a mass kidnapping close to the museum. “When things get better,” he said, “we break it.”

    One of the most important treasures stolen in the ransacking of Iraq’s national museum three years ago has been recovered in a clandestine operation involving the U.S. government and turned over to Iraqi officials in Washington.

    The piece, a headless stone statue of the Sumerian king Entemena of Lagash, was stolen in the days after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. After the looting, American officials came under sharp criticism from archaeologists and others for not securing the museum, a vast storehouse of artifacts from some of civilization’s first cities.

    The Entemena statue was taken across the border to Syria and put on sale on the international antiquities market. Thousands of looted artifacts that remained in Iraq - from tiny cylinder seals to the famed Warka Vase - have since been returned to the museum, and a few pieces have been turned over by foreign countries, including Italy and the Netherlands. But the Entemena statue, estimated to be 4,400 years old, is the first significant artifact returned from the United States and by far the most important piece found outside Iraq.

    American officials declined to discuss how they recovered the statue, saying that to do so might impair their efforts to retrieve other artifacts. But people with knowledge of the episode produced a narrative that included antiquities smugglers, international art dealers and an Iraqi expatriate businessman who was the linchpin in efforts to recover the piece and bring it to the United States.

    Since early June, the statue has been in an art storage warehouse in New York. American officials had planned to turn it over to the Iraqi government at a public event, said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. That opportunity presented itself Tuesday when the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, visited Washington, where he discussed security problems in Baghdad with President George W. Bush.

    In interviews over the weekend in Baghdad, Iraqi officials expressed relief that the statue of the king, which had stood in the center of the museum’s second-floor Sumerian Hall, had been found. But the same officials voiced frustration at what they said was the slow pace of international cooperation on the recovery of artifacts.

    “I’m overwhelmingly happy,” said Liwa Sumaysim, the Iraqi antiquities minister. “We hope we get it soon so it goes back in the Iraqi museum, where it belongs.”

    A spokesman for the Antiquities Ministry, Abdul Zahra Talqani, said the ministry first received word of the recovery about two months ago. He said that hopes had been raised in the past, after reports of the recovery of the statue in Iraq, but that those pieces turned out to be clay copies that had also been looted from the museum.

    In June, not long after the statue was brought to the United States, two antiquities scholars were taken to the warehouse, known as The Fortress, to authenticate it. The statue, which is made of diorite, a hard, dark rock similar to granite, was encrusted with dirt, suggesting that it might have been concealed during its sojourn in Syria. In addition, there were fresh chips along parts of its stone surface that did not appear in historical photographs, indicating recent damage.

    Mohsen Hassan, an expert at the museum’s commission on antiquities, said that the statue, which weighs hundreds of pounds, was the heaviest piece stolen from the museum and that looters probably rolled or slid it down marble stairs to remove it, smashing the steps and damaging other artifacts.

    The statue of Entemena of Lagash is among the most important artifacts unearthed in excavations of Ur, the ancient southern city. The king is dressed in a skirt of tasseled sheepskin and his arms are crossed in prayer. Detailed inscriptions run along the figure’s shoulder and back.

    The statue was found headless when originally excavated, and experts say its head might have been lopped off in ancient times to symbolize Ur’s emancipation from Lagash.

    One of the experts who authenticated the statue, John Russell, a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, said it was not only archaeologically significant but also striking because the king’s muscular arms were sculptured in a lively, naturalistic style.

    Earlier sculptural styles were cruder, he said.

    Efforts to sell the statue began not long after it was stolen, said people with knowledge of the episode.

    Hicham Aboutaam, an antiquities dealer who owns galleries in New York and Geneva, was approached while visiting Lebanon and shown a picture of the statue to gauge his interest in buying it, those people said. Initially, those holding the statue were seeking millions for it, one person said.

    Aboutaam soon discovered that it had been stolen and did not pursue the deal.

    It was not clear precisely when or how Aboutaam - who pleaded guilty in 2004 to a federal charge of falsifying a customs document related to a different artifact - informed federal officials. He and his brother and business partner, Ali Aboutaam, declined to answer specific questions about the episode.

    Last year, federal prosecutors in New York contacted Hicham Aboutaam and expressed interest in recovering the statue, said a person with knowledge of those events. Aboutaam agreed to help.

    Subsequently, he or his brother made contact with an Iraqi expatriate businessman now living in Europe. Soon, that businessman, who was referred to as the broker, became the pivotal figure in securing the statue.

    Little is known about the businessman other than that he is involved in construction. But he began to shuttle among Iraq, Syria and other countries to make contact with those holding the statue and to negotiate its turnover. It was not known whether money had been paid to those holding the statue or whether promises had been made.

    When asked what would be done with the statue, Hassan, the museum official, did not hesitate.

    “We will fix it and put it in the same place where it was,” he said, adding that security had largely been restored at the museum, which is close to the notorious Haifa Street in a district that periodically erupts in violence.

    But a tour of the building over the weekend, granted reluctantly by Hassan, raised questions as to how the museum could function while housing valuable artifacts like the statue. A walk down a corridor toward the Sumerian Hall, for example, ended abruptly at a concrete wall, which someone had crudely crosshatched with a fingertip to simulate bricks.

    Hassan awkwardly conceded that four times since the invasion, he had been forced to wall off the collections as the only reliable means of preventing further looting.

    He had most recently put the walls up a couple of months earlier after a mass kidnapping close to the museum. “When things get better,” he said, “we break it.”

    One of the most important treasures stolen in the ransacking of Iraq’s national museum three years ago has been recovered in a clandestine operation involving the U.S. government and turned over to Iraqi officials in Washington.

    The piece, a headless stone statue of the Sumerian king Entemena of Lagash, was stolen in the days after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. After the looting, American officials came under sharp criticism from archaeologists and others for not securing the museum, a vast storehouse of artifacts from some of civilization’s first cities.

    The Entemena statue was taken across the border to Syria and put on sale on the international antiquities market. Thousands of looted artifacts that remained in Iraq - from tiny cylinder seals to the famed Warka Vase - have since been returned to the museum, and a few pieces have been turned over by foreign countries, including Italy and the Netherlands. But the Entemena statue, estimated to be 4,400 years old, is the first significant artifact returned from the United States and by far the most important piece found outside Iraq.

    American officials declined to discuss how they recovered the statue, saying that to do so might impair their efforts to retrieve other artifacts. But people with knowledge of the episode produced a narrative that included antiquities smugglers, international art dealers and an Iraqi expatriate businessman who was the linchpin in efforts to recover the piece and bring it to the United States.

    Since early June, the statue has been in an art storage warehouse in New York. American officials had planned to turn it over to the Iraqi government at a public event, said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. That opportunity presented itself Tuesday when the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, visited Washington, where he discussed security problems in Baghdad with President George W. Bush.

    In interviews over the weekend in Baghdad, Iraqi officials expressed relief that the statue of the king, which had stood in the center of the museum’s second-floor Sumerian Hall, had been found. But the same officials voiced frustration at what they said was the slow pace of international cooperation on the recovery of artifacts.

    “I’m overwhelmingly happy,” said Liwa Sumaysim, the Iraqi antiquities minister.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/26/news/treasure.php

  38. Gunner Sgt Says:

    Looted treasure returning to Iraq national museum
    By Barry Meier and James Glanz The New York Times

    One of the most important treasures stolen in the ransacking of Iraq’s national museum three years ago has been recovered in a clandestine operation involving the U.S. government and turned over to Iraqi officials in Washington.

    The piece, a headless stone statue of the Sumerian king Entemena of Lagash, was stolen in the days after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. After the looting, American officials came under sharp criticism from archaeologists and others for not securing the museum, a vast storehouse of artifacts from some of civilization’s first cities.

    The Entemena statue was taken across the border to Syria and put on sale on the international antiquities market. Thousands of looted artifacts that remained in Iraq - from tiny cylinder seals to the famed Warka Vase - have since been returned to the museum, and a few pieces have been turned over by foreign countries, including Italy and the Netherlands. But the Entemena statue, estimated to be 4,400 years old, is the first significant artifact returned from the United States and by far the most important piece found outside Iraq.

    American officials declined to discuss how they recovered the statue, saying that to do so might impair their efforts to retrieve other artifacts. But people with knowledge of the episode produced a narrative that included antiquities smugglers, international art dealers and an Iraqi expatriate businessman who was the linchpin in efforts to recover the piece and bring it to the United States.

    Since early June, the statue has been in an art storage warehouse in New York. American officials had planned to turn it over to the Iraqi government at a public event, said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. That opportunity presented itself Tuesday when the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, visited Washington, where he discussed security problems in Baghdad with President George W. Bush.

    In interviews over the weekend in Baghdad, Iraqi officials expressed relief that the statue of the king, which had stood in the center of the museum’s second-floor Sumerian Hall, had been found. But the same officials voiced frustration at what they said was the slow pace of international cooperation on the recovery of artifacts.

    “I’m overwhelmingly happy,” said Liwa Sumaysim, the Iraqi antiquities minister.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/26/news/treasure.php

  39. Saif Says:

    Hi all,
    Sorry I didn’t know there is a discussion board here in that section of the website.
    Although I don’t have anything to say.

    As for Ausama, It is simple, We were lving better. but that doesn’t mean Saddam didn’t impose his war ideas on Iraq. He had no right to do that.

    Ahmed Naji and Zaid , I miss you, I really do.I think now all the people here in the blog can know my friendship with you guys.and how we were close. and how war splitted us apart.
    Gunner sgt, you have a great ability to right.why don’t you be a newspaper editor or things like that? lol

    Rudi, Don’t you ever think that Saddam kill or torture anyone who didn’t have anything against Saddam regime. Because I lived in Iraq, My family lived in Iraq during his lifetime, believe me If you didn’t stand against Saddam, you’ll live peacefully, So poeple like Maliki and all the people in our miserible government now. They oppossed Saddam, and that was a just like a sin. they were rubels, What do you think if Bush will do now if there will be rubels like in New mixico ? He’ll burn the hell out of it. lol
    we adopted ourselves in a manner that we could live 100 years without interfering with the government.

    About the Wall. For me the wall is an option and let us try it. because if it minimizes killing Iraqis ( even one Iraq ) that worths it. about the painting I’ll tell you what I think, It is just lik an anesthsia to reduce our pain. but the pain is not form the wall poeple, WAKE UP the pain is from losing a country. Let me live in safe Baghdad with 1000000 walls.

    To all people participated in this blog, Thank you. You effort won’t go waste. Every letter you write will be rocorded. every phrase you say will do something. So keep up the good work. we can do a change.

  40. Tracy Says:

    Wow - so many topics and opinions.

    I think my position at this moment is - the war was wrong. It was good to take out Saddam but it should have been done differently. I don’t know how differently, but differently.

    I think in 20 years everyone will look back and realize Iraq is better without Saddam - but now it’s at what price? How many deathes? How much suffering?

    Some say that freedom isn’t free. Americans fought wars to keep their freedom and lost their own people — but that was OUR choice. We should not have enforced that decision on another country. If Iraq wanted to get rid of Saddam they could have risen up against him just as other countries have taken out governments and leaders they did not like. We gave Iraqis no choice - it wasn’t our decision to make.

    At the same time - I like that Americans help other countries in need. Now that I’m older I realize this is kind of a romantic view of things. I used to believe that we’re kind of the “big brother” helping out any “little brother” - or even some kind of super hero who goes about the world fighting evil…. Of course I know that while your average American wishes that was simply true - government is never so pure hearted.

    Regardless, we can’t change the past. We can only look towards the future. The US Government needs to follow the will of the Iraqi people and get more nations involved and invested in the future of Iraq.

    As for the walls - I hope that they are only a temporary way of creating peace. The paintings at least make them more beautiful. Maybe someday the wall can be taken apart and the best paintings can be put into museums or placed about public parks.

    About the slide show - I can understand Ausama’s side of things. It’s only natural to feel this kind of nostalgia… I think the slide show is important because most Americans don’t realize what a beautiful country Iraq was before the war. People think it was desert and dusty towns full of poverty. These pictures show what a modern society it was. It helps Americans to really understand the gravity of what happened. It’s easier to empathize when you can visualize yourself in someone else’s place and Baghdad was just as beautiful and special as our American cities.

  41. Samara Says:

    Gunner, I have no doubt that there are many Americans who want to help Iraq and the Iraqi people. I have no doubt that many are already doing so, and have done so for a long time. The problem is the speed of reconstruction, or should I say, the lack of speed, is frustrating many Iraqis. In most of Iraq the electricity is off for longer than it’s on, the water supply is in tatters, the sewage system is non existent, there are no jobs, no public transport, there’s a curfew every night and most of Friday. People dont feel safe, so they can’t go out, there’s no outlet for the fear, the stress and the frustration, and on top of all that they have non-Iraqis taking over the country. The Americans showed little respect for Iraqis and Iraqi traditions, not because they were mean, but because they were ignorant of how to talk to and treat Iraqi people. Please remember that Iraqis felt that their country was for sale just after the war, the American government was selling Iraqi assets, left right and centre. The money The US is spending on Iraq will be repaid ten times over by Iraq, and it will take us a very long time to recover from “the liberation” economically and mentally.
    I know what Saddam was, several members of my family have suffered the wrath of Saddam and his family, I wanted Iraq free of Saddam, but not the way it was done. The US thought that they will be welcomed with open arms by the Iraqis, they did not give the situation proper thought and planning. I was one of the people who was against the war. I went to several meetings, and like many people asked the following questions:
    *How was the coalition going to guarantee the safety of Iraqi?
    *How was the coallition going to safeguard the antiquities?
    *How was reconstruction planned?
    *What was going to happen to the army, police force and Baathist?

    These were all very important questions and unfortunately the coalition failed on every single one of them.

    There is no middle class in Iraq anymore, and there’s a big brain drain. Iraqis are killing each other. Babies are still being killed, may be not by bullets to their heads, but by bombs. Everyday there’s 20/30/or a 150 dead in explosions. Everyday bodies of men that have been tortured are found. Alquaeda has a large base in Iraq now. Iraq is the rallying cry for every fundamentalist all over the world. Iraq is not the only country now with a dismal safety record. Every other country is on orange or red alert.

    Gunner I understand your loyalty to your country, but believe me you do yourself and your country no favors by not admitting the mistakes carried out by your government. There is nothing unpatriotic about admitting that Mr. Bush got it wrong. Wouldn’t it be more honest and more patriotic to insist that he faces his mistakes and apologises to the families for the soldiers killed in Iraq as a result of his mistakes?

  42. Saif Says:

    Al Qaeda is not the most active terrorist organisation. but it is the most well known one.There are other terrorists who are more active that Al qaeda.

  43. Gunner Sgt Says:

    Samara,

    You make good points, but you are misunderstanding my thoughts.

    I think the Post-Saddam plan was a mistake. We should have brought in more troops and had a plan for SECURITY for Iraq. When we removed all the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army to retrain new ones the U.S. Military needed the man power and orders to provide this security. They were not. That wasn’t the U.S. Military’s fault it was Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush’s fault.

    It has taken longer to recruit and train Iraq’s new Army and Police than anticipated, but many many Iraqis are now joining the fight to defeat al-Qaeda, and Insurgents killing innocent Iraqis.

    It will get better.

    I agree with you about the negatives, but where do we go from here is the question?

    Does American abandon Iraq or try the new security strategy?

    al-Qaeda was in Iraq before the war. Hell Iraq IS in EVERY country around the world. Some way more than others like Iraq. They try to blend in with society and then kill innocents.

    If we pull out now al-Qaeda will be able to establish terrorist camps in Anbar Province and this will be big trouble for all the Shia, all Iraq, and all secular peace loving people from around the world.

    Keep in mind that while Saddam Hussein was under sanctions he continued to spend millions of dollars on new PALACES for himeself while letting Iraq’s infrastructure: Sewage System, Electrical poles and lines, roadways, bridges.

    Saddam Hussein did not maintain Iraq’s infrastrucure. I Sewage System takes years to deteriorate.

    Also, certain areas of Iraq were modern. Especially the “Sunni Triangle” and areas of Baghdad.

    Did you ever see how the Shia Marsh Arabs lived? Mud huts and Saddam Hussein drained the Marshes to starve these people.
    http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/mena/marsharabs1.htm

    Photos of Marsh Arab Huts under Saddam Hussein:
    http://www.toreigeland.com/iraq_marsh-arabs/images/W5908-Iraq-MarshArabs.jpg

    http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/02/21/international/marsh.womanchicken.jpg

    I am trying to provide context not just emotion. I have more information, but Iraq’s infrastructure needing repaired is Saddam Hussein’s fault. Also, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has been rebuilding much of Iraq and now many local Iraqi Construction Companies have been hired to rebuild Iraq.

    The other problem is al-Qaeda blows up Eltrical lines and plants to hurt Iraq. This needs to be defeated as well.

    Removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, but many mistakes have been made post-Saddam and for that I am very very very sorry.

    Where do we go from here? Only complaining does not do anything for the Iraqi people.

    al-Qaeda may not be the largest terrorist organization in Iraq, but it seems to be doing the more bigger bombings in Iraq.

    And since the are Wahabi Sunni they are willing to blow themselves up to kill innocent Iraqis and many Shia, and Americans. They are the most known and the ones carrying out the bigger suicide and car bombings in Iraq.

    Pulling out American troops will not defeat this and only make things worse.

  44. Samara Says:

    The massacre of the marsh Arabs and the destruction of their habitat is very well documented. So is the modernisation of Saddam’s birthplace, al-Awja, and it’s surrounding area. I don’t know what the answer is.
    My problem is that I left Iraq a long time ago, I don’t know anything about car bombs and snipers, I don’t know about Sunni or Shia militias breaking into my house in the middle of the night, nor the American military interrogating me.
    I hated it when I saw all the Iraqi’s who have lived outside Iraq for long years, some of them actually had other nationalities, I hated seeing them going back to Baghdad, living in their safe green zone and trying to take over Iraq. Many of them had suffered under Saddam as a result of their opposition, but the fact remains that like me they have spent years outside Iraq. Sometimes I’m not even sure that I have the right to call myself Iraqi, as a result I guess I try to walk a very careful path.
    If I’m honest with myself, I would say that the killing will stop when the people who are doing the killing have enough. That’s what happened in Lebanon and I guess that’s what will happen in Iraq. Again taking Lebanon as an example, the Americans, the French and eventually even the Syrians left Lebanon. I guess the same thing will happen in Iraq. After the US presidential elections, whoever replaces Bush, will take the American forces out, the British have already cut down their numbers. Iraqi’s will be left to continue to kill each other until all sides have enough. How long it takes I have no idea. I’m very pessimistic about Iraq. Everyday I watch the news, and I thank god my dad passed away before the “liberation and democratisation” of Iraq, If he’d been alive he would’ve died of a broken heart.

  45. bg Says:

    ++

    about the “wall” the Iraqi Gov
    requested the construction of..

    http://www.adnki.com/index_2Level_English.php?cat=Security&loid=8.0.407594114&par=0

    http://tinyurl.com/2wfx5m

    April 23, 2007

    excerpts:

    [He stressed that the security measures put in place in the
    capital, such as the security fence erected in the Sunni majority al-Aazamiya district is a response to the need to protect its inhabitants from local militias and "put an end to their excesses."

    "Fortifications such as cement walls, barbed wire, fences and ditches are being constructed in in all areas of Baghdad," al-Musawi continued. "We are not talking about anything new but rather something that exists in all countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, China and Germany," he said.

    "The media have blown the al-Aazawi wall out of all proportion. The country is witnessing today violence that is targeting civilians and measures need to be taken to stop it," al-Musawi continued. Members of the military who are remiss in their duties should be brought to task, especially when this harms civilians, he urged.

    The kind of fortifications constructed in Baghdad will be built in other volatile areas of the country, such as Diyala province (55 km east of the capital) as the Iraq government has requested,
    Fox told journalists.]

    ==

  46. Gunner Sgt Says:

    Thanks for the article bg.
    Very informative and provides proper context to the walls being built in areas of Iraq.

    Many many American neighborhoods are surrounded by walls, also. They are for privacy and security.

    I lived in Phoenix, AZ for awhile and walls are everywhere. Especially around neighborhoods.

    This wall thing has been blown way out of proportion by opportunists.

    Anyone against the walls are either insurgents, terrorists, or uninformed intellectually dishonest Iraqis being used by the propogandists who either want Iraq to fail or take it over.

    Saif has expressed his approval for giving the walls a chance to work.

    If they do help bring security that is a good thing.

    Here is video of the 82nd Airborne patrolling and living in a Northern Baghdad neighborhood trying to improve security for Iraqis.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1roOuyGCAE

    Very compelling video.

  47. sonia Says:

    Gunner,

    Thank you for a very good perspective. I am always eager to hear all sides - I trust the news the least as they are too slanted and racing for sensationalism - this is Al Jazeera, the U.S. publications and so on so it seems that Hometown Baghdad is a success where it gives human perspectives albeit with emotional slants as well.

    Wishing the troops as much safety and support as well. I ialso liked and was wondering about the accomplishments in terms of infrastructure thus far!

    For the rest - how refreshing now only if the supposed leaders could dialogued this way. Agreed that Al Qaida is not the only group just the most visible.

    Also, the children - what are we teaching them about the world, I cannot imagine how frightened these young ones are and how deeply it will impact them. It is an absolute tragedy.

    There was an interesting story about an Iraqi boy who is now living in England on a news show recently - this boy had lost his whole family, home and his arms. His inner beauty and strength has moved the world around. In spite, he keeps his humor - and in it this I saw the beauty of the Iraqis as well - I continue hope for a fast end to the tragedy! Well wishes

  48. bg Says:

    ++

    sonia Says:
    May 15th, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    [I ialso liked and was wondering about the accomplishments in terms of infrastructure thus far!]

    Reconstruction Report/s
    http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=5&id=32&Itemid=47&Itemid=47
    http://tinyurl.com/2zkg84

    hth.. :)

    ==

  49. lelly Says:

    Gunner Sgt, of course I watched that slideshow. it upset me, but only because it is a reminder of things happening in iraq and indeed across the world. This incluses not just acts of violence but the poisoning of young minds by siad violence and horror.
    What Said says is true, if you didnt appose Saddam or have the misfortune to be born the wrong minority, you were OK.
    Its not good, but its not as bad as what as happening now in iraq.
    All this pain and suffering, and for what?
    Can anyone answer that?
    Dont say oil or freedom. Cos I know thats not true.

  50. bg Says:

    lelly Says:
    May 16th, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    [What Said says is true, if you didnt appose Saddam or have the misfortune to be born the wrong minority, you were OK.]

    what of the millions of “non-ifs”??

    this is just a sample of Saddam’s atrocities, there is much more.. :(

    Saddam is responsible for 2 to 3 million Muslim deaths during his reign.. and only God knows how many mutilations..

    Tales of Saddam’s Brutality
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/tales.html
    http://tinyurl.com/ys7tm

    SADDAM HUSSEIN: crimes and human rights abuses
    http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hrdossier.pdf
    http://tinyurl.com/o6lak

    excerpt:

    [Saddam Hussein’s Regime’s Methods of Torture

    The following methods of torture have all been reported to international human rights groups, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, by the victims of torture or their families.

    Eye gouging

    Amnesty International reported the case of a Kurdish businessman in Baghdad who was executed in 1997. When his family retrieved his body, the eyes had been gouged out and the empty eye sockets stuffed with paper.

    Piercing of hands with electric drill

    A common method of torture for political detainees. Amnesty International reported one victim who then had acid poured into his open wounds.

    Suspension from the ceiling

    Victims are blindfolded, stripped and suspended for hours by their wrists, often with their hands tied behind their backs. This causes dislocation of shoulders and tearing of muscles and ligaments.

    Electric shock

    A common torture method. Shocks are applied to various parts of the body, including the genitals, ears, tongue and fingers.

    Sexual abuse

    Victims, particularly women, have been raped and sexually abused, including reports of broken bottles being forced into the victim’s anus.

    "Falaqa"

    Victims are forced to lie face down and are then beaten on the soles of their feet with a cable, often losing consciousness.

    Other physical torture

    Extinguishing cigarettes on various parts of the body, extraction of fingernails and toenails and beatings with canes, whips, hose pipes and metal rods are common.

    Mock executions

    Victims are told that they are to be executed by firing squad and a mock execution is staged. Victims are hooded and brought before a firing squad, who then fire blank rounds.

    Acid baths

    David Scheffer, US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, reported that photographic evidence showed that Iraq had used acid baths during the invasion of Kuwait. Victims were hung by their wrists and gradually lowered into the acid.]

    oh btw.. how many blogs existed under Saddam’s rule?? Newspapers?? voices of dissent?? Presidential choice, etc?? anyone??

    ==

  51. Gunner Sgt Says:

    lelly,

    With respect you don’t know what the heck you are talking about.

    So it was no big deal to you that Iraqi babies were having bullets put into their brains by Saddam Hussein?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3738368.stm

    One trench contains only women and children while another contains only men.

    The body of one woman was found still clutching a baby. The infant had been shot in the back of the head and the woman in the face.

    “The youngest foetus we have was 18 to 20 foetal weeks,” said US investigating anthropologist P Willey.

    “Tiny bones, femurs - thighbones the size of a matchstick.”

    Mr Kehoe investigated mass graves in the Balkans for five years but those burials mainly involved men of fighting age and the Iraqi finds were quite different, he said.

    “I’ve been doing grave sites for a long time, but I’ve never seen anything like this, women and children executed for no apparent reason,” he said.

    Removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do.

    If Saif, Ausama, or Adel had complained about Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s reign they would have joined the babies, with bullets to their brains, in mass graves all over Iraq.

  52. Gunner Sgt Says:

    Iraq Olympic Athletes were tortured on a weekly basis for not performing up to Uday Hussein’s standards.

    http://www.iraqsport.com/imgdb/displayimage.php?album=random&cat=3&pos=-200

    Iraqi Olympic Committee worker Sadad Hussain Ali demonstrates a finger vise at Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, July 24, 2004. The device is said to have been used by Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday, to torture Olympic athletes whose performance failed to meet his expectations. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)

    http://www.iraqsport.com/imgdb/displayimage.php?album=9&pos=4

    Iraqi Olympic Committee official Talib Mutan displays a steel chamber with interior spikes at Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, July 24, 2004. The device is said to have been used by Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday, to torture Olympic athletes whose performance failed to meet his expectations. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)

    http://www.iraqsport.com/imgdb/displayimage.php?album=9&pos=5

    An Iraqi Olympic Committee official points to implements of torture stored at Al-Shaab Stadium in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, July 24, 2004. The devices are said to have been used by Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday, to torture Olympic athletes whose performance failed to meet his expectations. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)

    So if you didn’t kick the soccer ball right Uday Hussein would torture you for days.

    Not a proper way to live.

    Today Iraq’s Soccer team is one of the best in the world and no longer has to worry about being tortured.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5673094/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YWurSnEKZU

  53. Gunner Sgt Says:

    A Lone Woman Testifies To Iraq’s Order of Terror

    By Peter Finn
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Monday, July 21, 2003

    BAGHDAD — She was walking hurriedly, as if in a trance, oblivious to the weakness in her legs, not seeing the bewildered looks of the American troops trailing her, not hearing her own cries of anguish. Jumana Michael Hanna, tears streaming down her face, had slipped into the darkest recesses of memory.

    Hanna, a 41-year-old Assyrian Christian from a formerly rich and prominent Iraqi family, returned last week to the well of her nightmares:
    the police academy in Baghdad, a sprawling complex of offices, classrooms, soccer, polo and parade grounds — and prison cells, some of them converted dog kennels, according to American officials who now control the campus.

    This is the place where in the 1990s Hanna was hung from a rod and beaten with a special stick when she called out for Jesus or the Virgin Mary.

    This is where she and other female prisoners were dragged outside and tied to a dead tree trunk, nicknamed “Walid” by the guards, and raped in the shadow of palm trees.

    This is the place where electric shock was applied to Hanna’s vagina.

    And this is where in February 2001 someone put a bullet in her husband’s head and handed his corpse through the steel gate like a piece of butcher’s meat.

    Continued…..

    http://www.genocidewatch.org/IraqJuly21LoneWoman.htm

  54. bg Says:

    ++

    Gunner Sgt Says:
    May 17th, 2007 at 12:28 am

    [If Saif, Ausama, or Adel had complained about Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s reign they would have joined the babies, with bullets to their brains, in mass graves all over Iraq.]

    this is true.. however, speaking out against Saddam was not a requirement that preceeding either torture, rape or death in Iraq.. no “ifs ands or buts” about it..

    here’s another sample, and believe it or not, there’s still plenty more horror stories re: life under Saddam.. not speaking out against Saddam, or being born in the right place does not make mass murder, torture, rape, mutilations, etc.. OK!!

    Saddam’s Crimes Against Humanity
    http://fdd.typepad.com/fdd/2006/01/alert_saddams_c.html
    http://tinyurl.com/c636g

    **GRAPHIC VIDEO MATERIAL**

    ==

  55. Gunner Sgt Says:

    Uday: career of rape, torture and murder

    Suzanne Goldenberg
    Wednesday July 23, 2003
    The Guardian

    He was a monster even by the standards of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a sadist with a taste for cruelty so extreme that even his father was forced to acknowledge that his first-born son would not be a worthy heir.
    And yet for all that Uday Saddam Hussein symbolised the brutality of the Iraqi regime, his powers were severely circumscribed. Although he retained the privileges of the much-indulged son of a dictator, he was shunted from the real centres of power in the military and security services by his quieter, younger brother Qusay.

    Although Uday nominally had a role in politics - following his election to parliament with 99% of the vote in 1999 - he was studiously absent from Iraqi television during the dying days of the regime.

    It was clear controllers realised that showing too many pictures of the most hated man in Iraq was hardly going to spur resistance.

    It was not the life that Uday had intended. Of Saddam’s two sons, he was the flamboyant one - towering well over 6ft, with a penchant for fast cars and loud and drunken parties, expensive suits and flowing robes, as well as murder, rape and torture.

    His public duties ranged from the Iraqi Olympic Committee and the national football team, to Babel, supposedly an independent newspaper, and Shabab, or youth television, to the Iraqi Photographers’ Association. He also was in charge of the dreaded Saddam Fedayeen militia.

    For those unfortunate enough to have strayed across his path, Uday’s reasons for taking on such a public life were pathetic: he wanted to build a public profile in preparation for taking over from Saddam.

    The search for public approbation appears to have taken over in the mid-1980s when Uday first took a close interest in sport. Footballers say he never really understood or showed much interest in the game itself, but was desperate enough for a win that he would phone up the dressing room during half-time to threaten to cut off players’ legs and throw them to ravenous dogs.

    As football overseer, Uday kept a private torture scorecard, with written instructions on how many times each player should be beaten on the soles of his feet after a particularly poor showing.

    He also carried a grudge. “Once you came to Uday’s notice, he never left you alone. The only time I managed to get away from his eyes was when I went outside Iraq,” star performer Habib Jaffar told the Guardian last April.

    Uday’s excesses carried over in his private life where he had a reputation for ordering any girl or woman who caught his eye to be brought to his private pleasure dome.

    The palace, a bad taste Arabian nights fantasy, was decorated with indoor fountains and erotic murals and was in the grounds of his father’s presidential estate. A nearby chamber contained huge stashes of drugs as well as an HIV testing kit, according to US forces.

    He is also reported to have operated an even more private torture chamber on the banks of the Tigris.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1004174,00.html

  56. Gunner Sgt Says:

    Uday Hussein enjoyed raping little Iraqi girls from the ages of 10 to 14. That way he knew they were virgins and he wouldn’t catch a disease when he raped them and then took them home to their parents.

    ==========================================

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030602-454453,00.html

    “…He saw something he liked, recalls his former aide Adib Shabaan, who helped arrange the party. Uday tightened the focus on a pretty 14-year-old girl in a bright yellow dress sitting with her father, a former provincial governor, her mother and her younger brother and sister….”

    “Uday’s bodyguards picked up the signal and walked through the darkened room, flicking cigarette lighters as they approached the girl’s table. Uday, then 33, flipped on his too, confirming they had identified the right one.

    When the girl left the table for the powder room, Uday’s bodyguards approached her with a choice, says Shabaan, who was Uday’s business manager.

    She could ascend the platform now and congratulate Uday on his recovery, or she could call him on his private phone that night. Flustered, she apologized and said her parents would allow neither.

    One of the guards replied, “This is the chance of your life” and promised she would receive diamonds and a car. “All you have to do is go up there for 10 minutes,” he urged.

    When she demurred again, the bodyguards pursued Uday’s backup plan. They maneuvered the girl in the direction of the parking lot, picked her up and carried her to the backseat of Uday’s car, covering her mouth to muffle her screams.

    After three days the girl was returned to her home, with a new dress, a new watch and a large sum of cash.

    Her parents had her tested for rape; the result was positive.

    According to Shabaan’s account, Uday heard she had been tested and sent aides to the clinic, where they warned doctors not to report a rape. Furious, the father demanded to see Saddam himself. Rebuffed, he kept complaining publicly about what Uday had done. After three months, the President’s son had had enough. He sent two guards to the man to insist that he drop the matter.

    Uday had another demand: that the ex-governor bring his daughter and her 12-year-old sister to his next party.

    “Your daughters will be my girlfriends, or I’ll wipe you off the face of the earth.” The man complied, surrendering both girls.

    It has long been known in Iraq and beyond that as venal and vicious as Saddam Hussein was, Uday was worse. Now that the regime has fallen, the quotidian details of the son’s outrages are beginning to emerge.

    With Iraqis free to speak more openly, it has become clear that the malignancy of Uday’s behavior actually exceeded that of his reputation….”

    ==================================

    Luckily Ausama was a little boy when Uday Hussein was raping little Iraqi girls. He didn’t have to worry about being taken away from his parents to be raped.

    Those poor little Iraqi girls…..Uday Hussein raped thousands of Iraqi girls who are scarred for life.

  57. bg Says:

    Iraqis Observe Moment of Silence
    to Mark “Mass Graves Day”
    http://tinyurl.com/2wxddw
    May 16, 2007

    excerpt:

    [Human rights organizations estimate that more than 300,000 people, mainly Kurds and Shiite Muslims, were killed and buried
    in mass graves before Saddam was overthrown by U.S. forces
    in 2003.

    "It is a lesson that we will never forget," Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said. "We want to build a civilized society in which humanity is respected."

    Cars and pedestrians stopped in place at noon, while policemen and Iraqi soldiers conducted a military salute.

    During a conference held to commemorate the somber day, al-Maliki described the graves as one of "the ugly crimes" of Saddam's regime and drew a parallel with the current daily attacks against Iraqis.

    "The criminals are the same. In the past, they created the mass graves. Today, they explode, kill and behead innocent people,"
    he said.]

    it’s still so hard for me to comprehend the deliberate
    senseless mass slaughtering of innocent people.. :(

    ==

  58. bg Says:

    Gunner Sgt Says:
    May 14th, 2007 at 11:42 am

    some info & more pix of the Marshlands.. :)

    Iraqi Marshlands Observation System
    http://imos.grid.unep.ch/
    http://tinyurl.com/3dppkz

    [Since May 2003, rapid and significant changes have been occurring in the Iraqi Marshlands. After over a decade of desiccation and decline, almost 58% of the original marshlands has now been inundated. This re-flooding process continues unabated.]

    Canada Iraqi Marshland Initiative
    http://www.cimiwetlands.net/gallery.htm
    http://tinyurl.com/2vscul

    ==

  59. lelly Says:

    Gunner Sgt and bg.
    With respect, yes I do. In no way am I supporting Saddam or wishing for those days. Neither am I supporting America and Britain in this agressive action.

    bg, What I meant when I said that you could be ok if you werent those things ,is just that. Again, I was not supporting it or arguing, merely stating a fact.End of.

    Both of you seem to think I have to be on one side or another, or if I say something not entirely negative about those days then I am condoning it or being naive and thoughtless.

    GunnerSGT, no way am I going to read through all that shit. I know what torture is, and I know it happened. Hell, it still happens.
    I dont need to read you copy-and-paste to understand and know what they do.
    You think there is no torture in Iraq? There is. Fact of life. Police do it, militia do it,troops do it.Intelligence does it.
    Past and present tense. Whats your point in relaying all these joyful details to this website?
    I dont need proof, personally. I know how Saddam gassed people and ravaged marshland and tortured and raped.
    But youre forgetting one thing.
    AMERICA PUT HIM THERE, IN CHARGE.
    The CIA.
    They gave him the gas. They killed those people. They handed and raving murderer a gun and power.

    I dont understand you, but I feel sorry for you and the world.
    Peace and Love

  60. Iza Says:

    lelly,

    i am not sure if it is the truth, but even if the CIA or america for that matter put Saddam in charge of Iraq in which he was the cause of many incidents of torture for all Iraqi’s the fact of the matter is that he did this by choice. i feel sorry for my world as well, and i agree that gunner sgt copy/pastes way too many articles, but my assumption is that he is only doing so to prove his point. perhaps not just to you, but to anyone else who is reading the comments.

    i really think at this point, we should all get past the atrocities of saddam them and stop comparing to what goes on now. it’s a simple fact that then and/or now, iraqis shouldn’t be living like this. no one should.

  61. bg Says:

    Iza Says:
    May 17th, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    hello Iza.. i agree, bury the past & get on with building a future!! :+:

    however and albeit the US supported Saddam in the past, he garnered much more support form France, & Germany & Russia just for instance.. ie: France helped build Osirak the nuclear facitlity amongst supplying arms, etc..

    btw.. we, the American public at least, didn’t know what was going on in Saddam’s hell hole before the war.. and in no small thanks to CNN et al.. and where was Amnesty International et al, not to mention the UN Oil for Blood Scandal.. apparently corruption was the status quo before GWB came down the pike..

    CNN’s Iraqi Cover-Up
    http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/critiques/CNNs_Iraqi_Cover-Up.asp
    http://tinyurl.com/k6b9m

    excerpt:

    [In a shocking New York Times opinion piece, CNN's chief news executive Eason Jordan has admitted that for the past decade the network has systematically covered up stories of Iraqi atrocities. Reports of murder, torture, and planned assassinations were suppressed in order to maintain CNN's Baghdad bureau.]

    go figure..

    ==

  62. bg Says:

    lelly Says:
    May 17th, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    bg, What I meant when I said that you could be ok if you werent those things ,is just that. Again, I was not supporting it or arguing, merely stating a fact. End of.

    and i was pointing out the implicit consequences of the stated fact, of which w/o, the fact would not exist in the first place, as you cannot have one w/o the other..

    ==

  63. bg Says:

    lelly Says:
    May 17th, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    AMERICA PUT HIM THERE, IN CHARGE.

    Saddam Hussein
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein
    http://tinyurl.com/2mcvc

    ==

  64. bg Says:

    has Gunner Sgt been banned?? :(

    he emailed me this and asked if i would please post it for him, as he cannot for whatever the reason, thanks..

    lelly Says:
    May 17th, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    SIPRI list of Weapons Sales to Iraq.

    In Saddam Hussein’s 1998 Declaration to the U.N. they listed 16 private companies as “dual-use” chemical suppliers and the vast majority of chemicals came from EUROPEAN companies.

    Iraq turned “dual-use” chemicals into chemical weapons. The United States Goverment did not sell chemical weapons to Iraq and 2 private companies did sell “dual use” chemicals that could be used for Agriculture fertilizer.

    Saddam Hussein chose to turn those “dual use” chemicals into Chemical Weapons on his own.

    On top of that Iraq’s own U.N. Declaration states the vast majority of chemical suppliers were from European countries, not the U.S. Germany was the by far the #1 supplier of chemicals.

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/01/17/iraq.chemical.suit/index.html
    http://tinyurl.com/4lw6

    [quote:

    The supplier list, shown to CNN, is included in Iraq's 1998 weapons declaration to the United Nations, parts of which were resubmitted to weapons inspectors last month. Sources tell CNN the list is an authentic document

    The Iraqi list names 56 suppliers of chemicals and equipment to process them. A majority are based in Europe.

    Germany - 14 companies
    Netherlands - 3 companies
    Switzerland - 3 companies
    France - 2 companies
    United States - 2 companies
    Austria - 2 companies]

    Germany was by far the largest chemical supplier to Iraq.

    And the top weapons suppliers to Iraq were Russia, China, and France. They sold Saddam weapons and the U.S. sold Saddam helicopters and radar equipment.

    Top Weapons Suppliers to Saddam Hussein 1979 to 1988($m).

    http://www.sipri.org/contents/armstrad/TIV_imp_IRQ_70-04.pdf
    http://tinyurl.com/2c59fh

    #1. RUSSIA 26,102
    #2. CHINA 5,736
    #3. FRANCE 5,111
    #4. CZECHOSLOVAKIA 2,095
    #5. POLAND 640
    #6. BRAZIL 617
    #7. EGYPT 350
    #8. DENMARK 351
    #9. AUSTRIA 190
    #10. ROMANIA 186
    #11. U.S. 75
    #12. GERMANY 52

    After the 1988 gassing of the Kurds the United States and British ceased all relations with Iraq, but France, Russia, China, Germany, etc all continued to sell Saddam weapons.

    Top weapons suppliers to Iraq, after 1988 gassing of Kurds ($m.): 1988 to 1990

    #1: RUSSIA 1,570
    #2: France 363
    #3: Poland 218
    #4: Egypt 47
    #5: Czechoslovakia 45
    #6: Germany 31
    #7: Brazil 25
    #8: China 23
    #9: Switzerland 8
    #10: Spain 2

    After the 1988 gassing of the Kurds Russia, France, Germany, Poland, Egypt and others continued to sell Iraq weapons.

    I wonder why the top 2 countries who sold Iraq the most weapons and were owed the most money were against Diplomacy and U.N. Resolutions?

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/03/10/sprj.irq.russia.vote/index.html
    http://tinyurl.com/2ehn6u

    thanks again.. :)

    ==

  65. Samara Says:

    I find it amazing that gunner and bg are informing us (may be lecturing…. err… sermonizing) about the torture and death of Iraqis under Saddam Hussein. Do you really think that we don’t know? Every Iraqi knows somebody( be it a family member, a friend, a neighbour or even the guy who sells the tomatoes at the market) who disappeared suddenly without trace. Do you think we don’t know about Uday? Every Iraqi knew about them, the sad thing is that human beings learn to live with all kinds of atrocities. They were scared, and boys you don’t know what scared means until you’ve lived in Iraq. I still remember my father being driven by my brother to the secret police building, watching him walk away, and knowing that it could have been the last time I saw him. That feeling of dread and helplessness never leaves you. Never. We know about Saddam guys, but we have a choice here, learn from the past and put it behind us, or keep hatred and revenge in our heart.

  66. Gunner Sgt Says:

    Samara,

    I am sorry you feel that I am “lecturing” Iraqis, because my responses were for lelly.

    lelly said, “if you didnt oppose Saddam or have the misfortune to be born the wrong minority, you were OK.”

    Which, as you know, is completely FALSE, inaccurate, and is moral relativism.

    “The misfortune of being born the wrong minority”. The “wrong minority” is 76% of Iraq either Kurd(21%) or Shia(55%)!!!!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Iraq_demography.jpg

    So as long as you were 24% of Iraqi Sunni Arabs you were “ok” in lelly’s irrational thought process!!!

    .
    .

    What did the babies’ say against Saddam Hussein to deserve bullets to the brain?

    What did young Iraqi girls ages 10 to 14 deserve to be raped by Uday Hussein?

    What did Olympic Athletes do to deserved death or torture for not performing up to Uday’s standards?

    I am asking for intellectual HONESTY and context from everyone.

    I am very very sorry that Iraq is very violent and that that Bush did not have a good plan for Post-Saddam security, while the new Iraqi Army and Police were being trained.

    I’m sorry for that, but does that mean Saddam Hussein did not deserve to be removed.

    Don’t you believe that if the 1991 Shia Uprising had been successful Iraq would have been 1,000 times worse and Genocide would have occurred then?

    Security is improving, but I have asked Iraqis
    “even though Iraq is very violent don’t you think it will be worse if American Soldiers leave too soon?”

    Should American Soldiers pull out and let the Shia and Sunni go to all out Civil War?

    The Sunni Tribal Shieks have formed an alliance with American Military and Iraqi Government.

    The Sunni Tribes have turned on al-Qaeda in Anbar Province. Iraq is winning, but we have a long way to go.

    http://www.mudvillegazette.com/

    The video is down a little ways and titled:

    “CNN: al-Qaeda on the verge of collapse in al-Anbar”

    Do you think this is a good sign?

    Iraq’s success will be good for the entire Middle East and the rest of the world.

    I am praying for Iraq’s success and chance at a future.

  67. lelly Says:

    OK, Gunner sgt.
    I dont pretend to be an expert. My comment on minorites was sarcasm/irony.Of course I dont think it was OK.
    You can argue facts and intellect till the sun goes down. They have their place, but I care about people and humanity first and foremost. All I want is for killing to stop.
    I dont want to fling personal insults around.
    Peace and love

  68. Gunner Sgt Says:

    I believe your heart is in a good place lelly.

    Peace…..

  69. lelly Says:

    You too Gunner.

    Love….

  70. humberto cordova Says:

    I CAN HONESTLY UNDERSTAND, WHAT THE AMERICA GOVERMENT DOES, IM FROM PERU AND EVER SINCE I CAN REMEMBER THE US GOVERMENT HAS DONE WHAT EVER THEY HAVE IN ORDER TO GET WHATEVER THEY NEED, IT IS NOTHING NEW, THAT IS THE WAY OF THE STRONGEST SURVIVES AND LIVES OF THE NOT SO STRONG, I AGREE WITH OUR GENERAL VALASCO ALVARADO,(AT THAT TIME) AGAINST THE IMPERIALIST GOVERMENT OF THE US.AND I WAS READY TO FIGTH FOR IT (I WAS ONLY 16)BUT THEN I MOVED TO THE US AND GOT TO SEE WERE ALL THE IDEAS WERE COMING FROM AND WHY WERE THEY DOING WHAT THEY WERE DOING, IS ALL BUSINESS, AND IM SURE THEY WILL BE READING THIS AND THINKING IM A POTENCIAL TERRORIST, BUT NO,, EVEN THOUGH I GOT DEPORTED AND LIVE RIGTH NOW IN THE WORST CONDITION IN MY COUNTRY(AFTER SPENDING 24 YEARS IN THE US)I HAVE TO SAY THAT I STILL LOVE AMERICA ALL OF IT, AND IF I HAVE TO BE UNGRY AT THE GOVERMENT FOR NOT BEING WITH MY FAMILY, NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE MY SON GROW OR MY PARENT DIE, STILL I CAN NOT NOT EVEN CONSIDERET ON DOING ANYTHING WRONG AGAINST ANY AMERICAN CITIZEN, MY GOD I CRY MY SO HARD WHEN I SAW THE TOWERS GO DOWN, I WAS THERE ONES IT COULD IT BEING ME, IF I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE GOVERMENT I WILL TAKE IT WITH THEM, YES YOUR KIDS DIE AND SO DID OURS, NOBODY WINS, IT IS IN ANY RELIGEOUS BIBLE FROM ANY RELIGEOUS GROUP, STILL I CAN NO SEE ME HARMING ANYONE TO MAKE A POINT AND BELIVE THERE ARE OTHER VERY EFFECTIVE WAY ON DOING SO, UES THEY TAKE TIME, BUT COME ON ARE WE AS SMART AS THE AMERICAN GOVERMENT TO FIGTH CLEAN, IF NOT SO THEN WHY EVEN TRY.

  71. DxSEO Says:

    DxSEO …

    [...]just below, are some totally unrelated sites to ours, however, they are definitely worth checking out[...]…

  72. DxSEO Says:

    DxSEO…

    [...]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[...]…

Leave a Reply