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Via email from a 3rd ACR family member, a letter from the Mayor of Tall 'Afar, Iraq to the men and women of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and their families.
In the Name of God the Compassionate and MercifulMembers of the Regiment are now returning home to Ft Carson, Colorado.
To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.
To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.
To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.
Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.
I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.
The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom. Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.
God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.
Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.
NAJIM ABDULLAH ABID AL-JIBOURI
Mayor of Tall ‘Afar, Ninewa, Iraq
The above letter was forwarded to me by Scott Ott, perhaps best known on the internet for his site ScrappleFace. Those who are familiar with his work know he's one of the finest news satirists around. But recently he put up a rare non-satire post - a tribute to his grandmother, the woman who raised him. Her name was Jessica Rachel McMaster, and if you recognize that last name it's because it's the same as the commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Her husband is his uncle.
News such as the letter above moves rather quickly among (rightfully) proud family members. Scott and I have been friends for some time. He knew that letter contained a story that needed to be told, and I'm honored he chose to forward it on to me.
As he did this picture:
That's Col McMaster in Tall Afar with (from left to right) Mayor Najim, Col Khalid (Mosul Emergency Battalion) and BG Saba (Tall Afar Police Chief), among others.
I've had a few people ask if that's the same McMaster who led the attack in the Battle of 73 Easting and wrote the book Dereliction of Duty : Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.
The answer is yes.
A few other folks have questioned the authenticity of the letter. I suppose that's to be expected. All I can offer by way of response is this, sent to me today and independent of Scott's contribution
This letter is not a fake it was given to my husband the commander of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. This is the second letter written .The first was written to GWB and Gen Casey asking if the 3ACR could stay and finish what they started. Why is it so hard to believe that the American soldier could have done so much for Iraq and in turn the people of Iraq? The Iraqi general who served along side our great men and women also sent a letter:I'll close by adding that one person who didn't seek to publicize this in any way is Col McMaster. But such stories need to be told.
*****To the Troopers and families of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment:
Bravery, strength, determination, good intentions, flexibility, knowledge, and impartiality: these were the characteristics that you displayed through partnership with the 3d Iraqi Army Division during combat operations in Western Ninewa Province. Each and every day your wise operational and successful leadership was the decisive factor in us achieving victory. Again, we recognize clearly the main reason for victory was your leadership. These necessary qualities are the same for any person, army, or nation that is looking for victory, and they were the reason why the Brave Rifles and faith in their goal along with their principles, high morals, and focus on their mission, coupled with perfect logistics support, impartiality, and sincere leadership made them the right unit for this mission. The Regiment’s ability to plan, conduct excellent coordination, supervise and choose the right decisive actions along with their great leadership helped us to develop individual Soldier skills and increase the capability of the division. It is said that piles of construction materials alone cannot build a house and a group of people cannot be considered an army. The Regiment’s leadership and devotion to duty helped us form an army. Its actions have resulted in strong friendships that will last a lifetime. The Troopers’ behavior is an example of wise leadership, which is the tree and the reputation they will leave behind is the shadow of this tree. So I offer my heartfelt thanks, appreciation, and respect to you for your sacrifices. The troopers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment will disappear from our eyes but remain in our hearts. We send our greetings to you and wish you a well deserved reunion with your families.
MAJOR GEN. KHORSHEED SALEEM AL-DOSEKEY
3RD IA INFANTRY DIVISION COMMANDER
Now that the authenticity of the letter is less in doubt, the naysaying has taken on a different form - "Well, okay then, he was somehow forced to write it", or variations on that theme.
You can't reason anyone out of an opinon they were never reasoned into, (and if you're arguing that you know Iraq better than the people there then you are indeed without reason) but I suppose some background is in order. Here's a quick year-plus in review:
Fast forward one year, to September 2005.
Then check this video update from January of this year. Watch the Colonel in the video above and you'll see a guy who isn't seeking glory; he's forthright in acknowledging the contributions of many who made the events of the past year possible, from his troops to their Iraqi allies.
It's not surprising that the letter was written.
It's disappointing, but absolutely not surprising, that many folks can't believe it. Search for Tall Afar on the New York Time web page and you'll discover the following headlines are on the only stories there this past month that mention the town:
Iraq Probing Death Squad Claims
This Washington Post piece is a bit better. It's getting accolades from the blogosphere - but it's flawed. The story attempts a bit too hard to single out Col McMaster as the primary factor in the success in Tall 'Afar.
Even now, McMaster said, he understands that his success is "fragile." The city's mayor, Najim Abdullah Jabouri, is unhappy that McMaster and his unit are leaving Iraq this month. "A surgeon doesn't leave in the middle of the operation!" the mayor said intently to McMaster over a recent lunch of lamb kabobs and bread. He waved his finger under the colonel's nose. "The doctor should finish the job he started."No word of any letter, and we're left to ponder the bitter disappointment of the mayor betrayed.
McMaster and Hickey tried to calm him down. "There's another doctor coming," Hickey ventured. "He's very good."
The mayor wasn't mollified. He said he has seen other American units here before, and they didn't coordinate with Iraqi forces like McMaster's has. "When you leave, I will leave, too," the mayor threatened. "What you are doing is an experiment, and it isn't right to experiment on people."
But this will be the argument put forth in the same press that ignored the 3rd ACR this past year: They benefitted from an exceptional commander, their success can't be duplicated, or even maintained after their departure. I can save you the trouble of reading their reports in the upcoming year - they will assure us they were right.
Stop by here from time to time and you might hear different. Or not. Since we're the guys with the most to lose it behooves us to tell the truth. (Here's our latest week in review, if you're interested. And here's the latest daily roundup. And there's always something new on the front page.)
This story isn't about Col McMaster - but it's only right to give him the final word. From his January press briefing, to the reporters at the Pentagon:
MR. WHITMAN: Colonel, we've reached the end of our time, but I wanted to give you an opportunity to have the last word, if there's something you wanted to tell us.
COL. MCMASTER: I think it's pretty much the same since I told you before. I hope you tell our troopers' families how awesome they are. I mean, I hope in some way you can communicate that to them. I know it may not fit in on whatever you're covering at this point, but they ought to know the job that their soldiers are doing, and the wide range of responsibilities they've taken on. And they ought to understand, you know, their courage, you know, how tough they are in combat, but also how compassionate and how disciplined they are. I mean, there are people in the neighborhoods where we're living who are naming their children after our soldiers, you know? And I know people don't see that. And they ought to know that their soldiers are proud of what they're accomplishing every day. They're drawing strength from seeing that, and they're drawing strength as always on each other and the cohesive team and family they're part of.
So anyway, I just hope you can tell people how great their soldiers are. I know the American people are grateful for their service, and it is a tremendous privilege for me to serve alongside of them.
(Original post: 2006-02-13 21:49:57)
Absolutely outstanding....Thank you Sir, for your recognition. Should you ever decide to leave Iraq and want to enter politics here in the United States, there is a congressional seat in our Congress, from Pennsylvania that you could fill nicely.Posted by Don at February 13, 2006 11:10 PM
spread the word, the rest of the military deserves the morale boost as well.Posted by boose at February 13, 2006 11:16 PM
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
God bless our men and women.
Welcome home to the 3rd ACRPosted by kat-missouri at February 13, 2006 11:27 PM
I like helping out where there's grattitude to be had. Is there anything we can do to help Tall `Afar reestablish itself? This would be a fine city to adopt for aid and support. Sister city to the blogosphere, if you will.Posted by McGroarty at February 13, 2006 11:35 PM
This is so outstanding. This needs to get out into circulation but I'm sure the MSM will never do that. Bush ought to have it thoroughly vetted and assuming it passes muster read it word for word at his next speech. Jeez this is good.
Thank you.Posted by DaMav at February 14, 2006 12:13 AM
I’m not really on the gushy-end of the emotional spectrum, but I nearly teared-up when I read this beautifully written letter from the mayor. Unfortunately, most Americans will never hear of this letter, thanks to our unbiased friends in the Antique Media. My God (the Compassionate and Merciful), if this were 1944 this letter would be in every paper in the country.
It goes to show you how truly important our mission in Iraq is.Posted by Joe at February 14, 2006 12:19 AM
It's so nice to hear... It's what we've been telling the rest of the world was happening all along. Thank you for reminding us, NAJIM ABDULLAH ABID AL-JIBOURI. Bless you and the people of Tall'Afar and Iraq.Posted by Some Soldier's Mom at February 14, 2006 12:20 AM
General Lynch read portions about 2 weeks ago at a press brieifing in Baghdad. It's for real.Posted by Soldier's Dad at February 14, 2006 12:24 AM
My lord this is so nice to see and read. We don't often see something of this caliber thanking US Troops from an Iraqi. Just brought tears to my eyes.Posted by toni at February 14, 2006 12:49 AM
Very nice. Sharing with many.Posted by RepJ at February 14, 2006 01:35 AM
According to the truth-seekers at the New York Times the letter is a phony. The NYT can spend resources to "prove" that the letter was written "under duress" but can't spend time to find and report any good stuff. What were we expecting?Posted by John Steele at February 14, 2006 02:05 AM
I too got tears reading this, but it also made me a little angry, because of course this will get no attention from the mainstream press. If the Mayor had written a letter damning the Americans for rapacious jackals, our loyal heralds would be screaming it from the headlines.
The press, may they rot, will continue to do their utmost to portray Iraq as a hopeless, doomed quagmire. And the American people, fed a steady diet of lies, will continue to increasingly believe them.Posted by Voice of Reason at February 14, 2006 02:36 AM
John Steele - do you have a link to the NYT article about this being a fake, or were you joking?Posted by Jezebel at February 14, 2006 02:37 AM
I absolutely agree that this letter should be Exhibit A in any presidential speech concerning the war for some time to come...IF...it is authentic and true to the Tall Afar mayor's thoughts. How can that be proved? Surely someone with a translator and a recorder could interview the mayor? Or maybe that's been done already? If not, why isn't this on VOA regularly..."on the eights", so to speak?
Is it propaganda? Maybe. But there's no more powerful propoganda than the truth. I'd love to hear this story recounted from GWB and others in government.
jpPosted by jerpod at February 14, 2006 02:58 AM
This made my day. Thank you so much. I'll print it off and show it to my friends who do not have a computer.Posted by Lucille at February 14, 2006 03:00 AM
Looks like the letter posted here at Mudville is either an exagerated version of the original letter, or the Mayor sent two letters. This site talks about one such letter, along with a PDF of it, click on the link at the top of the page:
My guess is that it is a 2nd letter specifically to the 3rd ACRPosted by Richard1 at February 14, 2006 03:17 AM
Fantastic! Cross-posted, with credit. Thank you.Posted by Leibowitz at February 14, 2006 03:18 AM
In the first letter, the mayor of TalAfar is asking General Casey to please extend the 3rd ACR's rotation.
In the second letter, the mayor is thanking the 3rd ACR.
I do believe another unit has replaced the 3rd ACR in TalAfar.
The Mayor of TalAfar is a Class Act. Ask General Casey for an extension, get told "no, but we will send another unit", then thank the unit, and their families.
American Mayors should take a lesson.
If it is a second letter addressed specifically to the 3rd ACR, can anyone dig up a PDF of it? Already one poster here has cast doubts on its authenticity (although I did a search at NYT and found nothing about the letter, contrary to the poster's assertion).Posted by Jezebel at February 14, 2006 03:29 AM
If there were a second letter, I would expect the MNF to post it. The version circulating is likely an unfortunate exaggeration, wholly unnecessary because the real letter is excellent.Posted by Tnow at February 14, 2006 03:34 AM
It wouldn't be an exageration of the original if it were addressed, as it is, to a completly different audience.
The reference to the NYTimes was suppose to be a joke. They have not commented on the letter to my knowledge.
Out. Freaking. Standing.Posted by hunterk2 at February 14, 2006 04:59 AM
Re authenticity the sentiments are indeed touching but the rhetoric is way over the top, even for Arabs. The equivalent in our culture would be a James Fenimore Cooper-style narrative studded with "thou"s and thee"s throughout. It undermines the spirit of the thing.
For example, it seems unlikely that a descendent of the saracens would be praising Christian "knights in a bygone era" - that wouldn't be the era of the Crusades, would it, when christian knights slaughtered thousands of jews (in Europe) and muslims (in the levant) on their way to Jerusalem?
Also, I'm not a theologian or an islamic scholar but do contemporary muslims believe in angels (let alone "avenging angels")?
And "their sacrifice was not in vain" sounds like it was lifted from Lincoln. This is a very western trope that IIUC does not resonate in islamic thought or behavior: remember, muslims celebrate valiant, ineffectual acts (eg suicide bombings against Israelis who then respond with overwhelming force) *precisely because they're in vain*! It's the valor that matters, not the utility. This line, especially, seems bogus.
Which would be a great shame, because of this is bogus it will only undermine the credibility of the Pentagon and give comfort to the enemy's supporters in the west. Best to take the high road, folks, and avoid bluster, exaggeration, and baloney.Posted by thibaud at February 14, 2006 05:24 AM
"It wouldn't be an exageration of the original if it were addressed, as it is, to a completly different audience"
It's way over the top even for an American audience. The rhetoric sounds phony and banal. It cheapens the sacrifice and heroism of our soldiers.Posted by thibaud at February 14, 2006 05:28 AM
Besides, this letter is written left to right, in a very western looking alphabet, from what little arabic i've seen, I think they write right to left.
But seriously, can it be that someone writing in english would have actually learned english? Doesn't someone who learns english learn the big words, too? Can't that person have learned phrases like "sacrifices in vain" or "knights of a bygone era?"
previous poster seems to be saying, and I mean no offence: Letter is written to western audience, therefore not authentic. Previous poster's ignorance (no judgement here) of angels in islamic tradition is evidence of armchair academic-a-tatin'Posted by phaedrus at February 14, 2006 06:13 AM
Banality is a function of learning a second language. In German II we learned German drinking songs.Posted by phaedrus at February 14, 2006 06:17 AM
The rhetoric is consistant with the one we have a PDF picture of.
Uhh, I can't speak directly to the authenticity of this piece, but is there really anybody who doesn't know that Arab discourse is far more ornate and hyperbolic than English? Anybody who doesn't remember the ranting contests between Iraq and Iran during their little unpleasantness? "The Mother of All Battles?"
Posted by Kirk Parker at February 14, 2006 07:57 AM
It's good news, so it must be false, right? Idiocy knows no bounds with some people. Keep drinking the kool-aid...
God bless all my fellow troopers. Have a safe trip back to Ft. Carson.
Brave Rifles, veterans – you have been baptized in fire and blood and come out
steel. Where bloody work was to be done, “the Rifles” was the cry, and there they
were. All speak of them in terms of praise and admiration. What can I say?
What shall I say? Language cannot express my feelings of gratitude for your gallant
conduct in the terrible conflict of yesterday and this morning. But, my brave
boys, in the course of one hour more you will be engaged in a more sanguinary
engagement than the one you have just passed through, and I hope and trust that
you will take the same noble stand you did yesterday and this morning. And
now, men of the Rifle Regiment, you may rest assured that a grateful country will
reward you for your gallant deeds through this campaign. Goodbye for the present,
and God bless you all.
-General Scott at Contreras, August 1847Posted by LJD at February 14, 2006 01:07 PM
It sounds great!
But aren't the crusader references a bit much? Isn't this over the top?
"the confidence and character of knights"
Perhaps these are common literary flourishes?
In any case - good show to the brave men and women of 3rd ACR - and all other coalition soldiers in Iraq!Posted by Charles at February 14, 2006 01:26 PM
Kirk, I've seen that flowery speech in publications while I was in Nigeria, too.
God bless the 3rd ACR (and this mayor)!Posted by Kurt Wayne at February 14, 2006 02:57 PM
Re: NYT Letter a Phony
Mea Culpa. I read this on another source and did not realize the writer war parodying the press. The sad thing is that the NYT spending resources to knock this down is simply so believable and all I can do is say that the press has conditioned us to their dislike of our forces that someone's parody is believable.
My congratulations to the men and women of the 3rd ACR "Brave Rifles"Posted by John Steele at February 14, 2006 03:14 PM
I understand your concerns, better to be suspicious of anything that seems overly positive, however, the images used are not Crusader.
Lion-heart is a historical term of courage used by Arabs as well as Europeans.
Muslims believe in Angels, which play a strong part in their theology. The Angel Gabriel supposedly delivered the Q'uran.
The reference to "knight" does not mean a Crusader. Arabs also had knights, the Arab world for knight being "Faris". As in many cultures, this means, "Noble horse-warrior", just like the word "Cavalier" which morphed into, in Spanish, Caballero, and in English, Cavalry. The image is the same in each language. Ironically Saddam reffered to himself as a knight- but the soldiers of 3ACR, being Cavalrymen, have a more logical claim to the word.Posted by Ben at February 14, 2006 03:45 PM
The troopers of the Mounted Rifles once again have shown themselves to be an outstanding bunch!
Brave Rifles!Posted by David M at February 14, 2006 04:18 PM
Ben, greatly informative - thanks for that!
Outstanding, 3rd AC! Thank you for so solidly proving to the Iraqis what WE already know - that the honor, compassion, and goodness of our American soldiers will never be eclipsed!Posted by Redhead Infidel at February 14, 2006 04:47 PM
I once read a quote from (I beleive) John Adams, possibly from a letter to his wife, during the opening days of the War for Independence, in which he wondered where they (the colonists) would find men of the caliber needed to deal with such a challenge. This from a man who personally knew Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Payne, and Washington!
I'm ashamed to say that I found myself wondering the same thing on 9/11. It never ocurred to me to look in the most likely place, our armed forces.
Before 9/11, we valued heroes because we thought they were so very rare. Since then, we've learned to value our heroes because they are so very common.Posted by next93 at February 14, 2006 05:57 PM
Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this.
God Bless the 3rd ACR and the Mayor.Posted by Wild Thing at February 14, 2006 07:14 PM
Folks, I read this letter cross-posted by Ala on Blonde Sagacity, and I, too, wondered if the "flourish" was perhaps "embellishment." But, true to form, some good discussion, honest airing of questions and solid research cleared up the matter to my satisfaction. I will mention this on Ala's site as she does draw the ire of the moonbats.
BTW, I have carefully avoided any remark about "feris" and a day off.Posted by Rickvid in Seattle at February 15, 2006 12:46 AM
Folks, I err, it was on Kit's and Hiedi's http://euphoria.jarkolicious.com/
Having lived in the Middle East for about half of my adult life (domiciled in Iraq and the UAE, with visits to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi, Kuwait, Pakistan and Afghanistan...hello to everyone in the NSA that just joined us as a result of that last sentence - keep up the good work!), I can testify that there is a LOT of what both Arabs and Persians write that sounds exactly like this when translated into English. Their styles of writing are VERY much into "flourishes" of the sort noted in this letter.
As for an Iraqi actually writing in English, well...once upon a time, Iraq had probably the most westernized, best-educated population in the Arab world. The Brits did have run of the place for quite some time, after all...if you go to Syria and/or the Lebanon, as a result of the old French mandate there, there are still people that are as comfortable speaking/writing in French as they are in Arabic.
So...basic point is that both the tone and format of the letter strike me as completely in line with what I would expect from a Middle Eastern politician putting forth his praises in English. To our (ie, American) ears, it can really sound over-the-top.Posted by Stoli at February 15, 2006 02:11 AM
Yes, the lion hearts. Well done and you earned your pay, gentlemen. Let there be rejoicing and happiness and hope that this spreads to ALL of Iraq.Posted by Cricket at February 15, 2006 02:38 AM
Ai-ee-yah! Good job Troopers!Posted by armynurseboy at February 15, 2006 03:11 AM
The letter is a fake.Posted by Melvin at February 15, 2006 12:39 PM
Thank you for your bravery,
This needs to be sent to the main stream media. Think they'll print it?Posted by AirborneVet at February 15, 2006 08:03 PM
To people who say this is a fake:
There are people in my hometown who say anything positive coming from Iraq must be fake, even when letters similiar to this one were put directly in my hands by the person who wrote it. I tell you, these are not fake- you simply refuse to believe anything good can come from our presence there.
I challenge you, then, to go and see for yourself what the truth is.
Last month I picked HR McMaster as a future Chief of Staff of the Army. The warrior in him showed at 73 Easting, his ability to think and reason showed in "Dereliction of Duty," and his future has been assured by what he is accomplishing with the 3rd ACR. Warrior, leader, thinker, it is something that sometimes there seem to be too few of in the green machine.Posted by NOTR at February 16, 2006 12:05 AM
Praise God to whom all blessings flow! God's blessings upon all of our brave men and women in the Services of the United States. Forget what the Mainstream Media keeps reporting. Future historians will write that THIS Generation will be known as the Greatest Generation of the 21st Century!Posted by William (Civilian) at February 16, 2006 04:10 AM
Isn't anyone in here just the least bit skeptical? The DOD has publicly admitted that they paid of Iraqi journalists to write "good news" Why is this any different? And there is no way to confirm the authenticity of this letter. I'm sure the "mayor" of Tall'Afar wasn't elected, but merely installed by the US Army. That makes me question this even more. Even if this is true, just because one "mayor" in one town in a country of 25 million people does not mean that things are going well in Iraq. The situation over there is still terrible, and we need to stop using these questionable "letters" from US installed mayors to blind us to the factsPosted by Ricki at February 16, 2006 04:11 PM
Just because you pay someone to write 'good news' doesn't mean automatically mean that the good news is fake.Posted by armynurseboy at February 16, 2006 06:17 PM
It's simply not ethical to pay journalists to write stories that conform to your interests and not be transparent about that.Posted by Ricki at February 16, 2006 06:58 PM
I hope the letter of the mayor is genuine, and I hope the letter of the general is genuine also. The reason one might doubt the letters' authenticity is that the letters must be a translations. One in a thousand college graduates could write a letter in English like one of those (I've taught writing in colleges for many years).Posted by mark at February 16, 2006 08:04 PM
I wouldn't be so sure those are translations. And even in Iraq it's the "one in a thousand" who get to be mayors and police chiefs, etc.
This isn't an isolated incident. Iraq is a war zone, tragic stories occur daily. Amidst all that there is hope. We offer a balanced view of things from folks who have been there, or still are. I'm one of the first group, and I stand a good chance of going back. I gain nothing from pushing false news. I've said this before: when the war is lost the milbloggers will be the first to let you know.
Well said Greyhawk. I too am a vet (Army doc), and saw a lot of tragedy during OIF 2. I wasn't accusing you of publishing false news, but I was just pointing out that while anecdotal stories are valid, I think they sometimes are overemphasized. I think an honest discussion of the Iraq War should focus on the larger picture. ThanksPosted by Ricki at February 17, 2006 03:17 AM
I met with my nephew last week for the first time since his admission to the Denver V.A. After 3 weeks on 7 East (Psych Ward) he is moving beyond the semi-catatonic state he was in. Seems he was at a checkpoint 5 klicks from the Green Zone. They opened fire on a car that didn't seem to slow down fast enough. A family of 6 with four children under 10 were killed. He removed a girl and boy under three from the back seat. Their faces were not frozen in a smile. His 20th birthday was January 15th. We cannot heal and kill at the same time. R. Drew Edmondson USN Medical Retirement Honorable 6/12/1972Posted by Drew Edmondson at February 17, 2006 03:17 AM
Bud - 70% unemployment? What planet are you from? Last I checked unemployment in Iraq was running 20-25%.
As for the destroyed petroleum industry, lack of electricity, water and food and violence everywhere (which you are exaggerating - I doubt many Iraqis are starving right now, although it's not exactly a paradise) you can thank years of neglect by Saddam, his brutal dictatorship and the bunch of whackos running around destroying the poor Iraqis' infrastructure, as the coalition are trying to rebuild them.
Let's see. US/UK/Poland/Australia etc. are trying to make their lives better. Islamofascist whackos and dead-endesr are trying to make them worse. Whom do you blame? I think that says a lot about you.
Funny, last time I checked very few Iraqis wished they were back in the bad old days under Saddam. Perhaps you wish they were, though? That's rather cold, don't you think?
Brainwashed liberal fools!
You know more than the soldiers who were there, sitting at home in your hemp jammies, typing out your made-up crap about ways of the world?
How many times have you seen mass graves, murders, beheadings? What have you done to stop such atrocities? Get a Starbucks and go hold a sign on the street corner?
Be very careful what you accuse our heroes of doing. Keep knocking them down and you may get what you want- they may not be there to save your necks from the sword...Posted by LJD at February 17, 2006 12:58 PM
No one is knocking the soldiers....I'm one myself! And you don't have to be a "liberal" to be against this war. I served in OIF 2 as an Army physician, and I will tell you, when you see young boys and girls coming in with their arms/legs and faces blown off, maybe you wouldn't be so gung ho.
Your views are clear from your posts. Wearing a uniform doesn't give you the right to attempt to discredit the job the 3d ACR is doing in Iraq.
There is progress being made. I know that doesn't fit your ideology, but save your crap for the rallies. These troopers deserve every bit of praise the letters provide.Posted by LJD at February 20, 2006 02:40 PM
BTW, You're welcome for the medical education you received.Posted by LJD at February 20, 2006 02:41 PM
My nephew is part of the 3rd acr and I couldn't be more proud of him and his fellow soldiers. It is great to hear how much our troops have ment to the people of Iraq. Thank you to all our men and woman serving, and to their families. This letter should be read by every american.Posted by wendy at February 21, 2006 07:04 PM
Let me get this straight...just because the army paid for my medical education, I should just shut up and refrain from expressing my point of view? That my friend, is un-American...here you are defending the rights of Iraqis to democracy, but you don't like it when people actually exercise their freedom of speech here in the US. Jabs at liberals in hemp-jammies and drinking starbucks are basically crude stereotypes that you use instead of real arguments. Shame on you.
I posted a link to this (I didn't see a way to do a trackback) at my blog. You can read it by clicking here.
This is nice to see. Thank you for posting it. These soldiers are doing great things.
Regarding the anger that is spilling into this thread: Some people blame the media for failing to report the good news, some blame the administration for failing to recognize the bad. Seems to me that every major historical event has both. The question I have is where is it all leading. I can't tell from this one post or one negative article in some paper. What nobody seems to be showing, and I blame both sides for this, is how things are changing over time. In WW2 there were maps drawn showing the front in Europe. There is no front in Iraq, but that doesn't mean there isn't a way to measure progress. Falujah, Kirkuk, Afar, Karbala, Najaf, Basrah. What's happening in these places? Is violence subsiding? Are U.S. forces handing over responsibility to a wider area? Which cities are controled by insurgents? I'd like to see a map that shows how things are changing over time. Concise, and to the point could speak volumes about how this war is going. I have no idea why the Bush administration does not generate something like this. I suspect things are improving but I really have little to go on. And if everyone else has the same problems then reading the information is like looking at an ink blot test; you'll read whatever you want out of it.Posted by Matt at March 1, 2006 06:16 PM
Very interesting site, beautiful design, thank.Posted by Neo at March 5, 2006 05:51 PM
It is absolutely amazing to me that people are so ready to believe anything and everything negative from the mouths of our liberal press. But God forbid there is actually good, heartening news! Whatever we believe, we NEED to support our troops and this letter (and this site for that matter!) certainly do that! Sure, mistakes are being made, but so is progress. This was a country that was being run by someone who made no qualms about destroying a town simply because it was Kurdish. Now, we have free elections and Iraqi troops that are trained and actually doing a good job - case in point: It was Iraqi troops on the ground immediately after the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. But again, God forbid CNN or The Washington Post make ANY news of that - why that would be just downright good news...and where is the news in that?Posted by Luv2 at March 8, 2006 02:40 AM
The only thing sad about this letter is the lack of attention the mainstream media will give it. It's apparently more "fulfilling" to their agenda to simply call it a fake and return to their position that the work of U.S. soldiers and coalition forces is simply a waste of time and nothing positive is coming as a result.
Thank you Greyhawk for keeping this letter alive and proving its authenticity.
Lastly, I hope folks don't read this and think this is the only city we're making a difference in. This is just one example of the bravery and awesome change our troops are displaying on a daily basis. Removing radical despots and allowing the citizens of Iraq to choose their own path, return to their schools, open their businesses and get to know the word 'freedom.'Posted by George at March 8, 2006 04:10 AM
I teared up when I read this letter.Posted by Jason at March 8, 2006 03:34 PM
To all New York time readers,
regarding the letter of Tal-Afar's mayor,mayor Najin Abdullah AL-Jabori, it is real i was there in his office when he wrote it, the NYT doesn't have to spend resources to " PROVE " that the letter was written "under duress" i worked with 3rd ACR with LTC.Hickey also with COL. McMaster from march,6th,2005 to Feb,11th,2006 and i am still here working with the new unit2/37,my unit 3rd ACR did an outstanding job by securing Tal_Afar and securing the life of too many people in Tal-Afar,the mayor still talks to my ney commander about 3rd ACR and how much he misses them so please belive it, the mayor did write this letter and it's not PHONY like some readers are thinking, i am still working here in Tal-Afar if you have any questions please email me, my best wishes to our troops and their families, may God bless them all, also may God bless our president and God bless America.
Shamiran B. David
Both of the letters from the Tall Afar mayor are beautiful. They describe the committment, dedication and skill of the U.S. Troops that has not previously been publicized. I know that this town is not the only one that has been trained well and changed enormously by the efforts of our troops. It is so sad that we never hear that from our media. The Washington Post article, though it does describe the Iraqi's need for our prescence, does not accurately depict what Mayor Jabouri has to say in these letters. I'm not sure what the media is so scared of when it comes to letting the American people know the whole story about what is going on in Iraq, but it is obvious that something is obstructing the flow of accurate and complete information. Thank you for posting these letters and for working so hard on giving us the background and details of the story.Posted by Abi at March 9, 2006 11:46 AM
"It's disappointing, but absolutely not surprising, that many folks can't believe it"
I actually was surprised to hear people were doubting the authenticity of this letter from the mayor of Tall 'Afar. I guess that shows my naivety in believing all people want to hear this type of news. I don't see it as unbelievable, especially after hearing stories from friends who have served (or still serve) in Iraq. And I agree with George - this is not the only town where things like this are happening. I hope everyone notices the look of happiness on the children's faces in the posted picture. These are the children who will ensure a democracy remains in Iraq and continue to develop their nation. These are the type of things that should encourage us, as Americans, to continue to support these troops and their mission. This letter and the smiles on those chidren's faces are a small picture of the good we're doing over there.Posted by AnnaB at March 9, 2006 02:31 PM
a friend of mine told me this letter was here, and it's great to see it. I served with the CAV during OIF 1, and had heard they were doing great during this last rotation - this letter doesn't surprise me at all, but makes me glad they've gotten credit for doing a great job. I think it really puts the whole thing in perspective - Iraqis like the US a whole lot more then the terrorists, and feel grateful when we take some terrorists out. Kudos to the 3 Cav, and welcome home!Posted by formercav at March 10, 2006 06:06 PM
My son is a member of the 3rd ACR and we received the mayor's letter a week before he returned. Accept it for what it is and stop trying to make something bad out of everything that involves Iraq. Our son will be the first to tell you that not enough information is being communicated by the media to the American public regarding the good things that are happening over there and believe me they are!
We support all of our troops and thank each and every one of them and their families for their sacrifice and commitment!
God Bless the USA!Posted by A Mom at March 13, 2006 07:04 PM
To whom it may concern,
I worked with the 3rd ACR for eight months, and will be here in Tall'afar another four after they have left. One thing that the letter does not state, is the fact that a lot of the success of the 3rd ACR was accomplished on the shoulders of their support elements, such as THT, EOD, TPT, and MIT teams, just to name but a few. These teams often worked round the clock, staying out in the city and taking chances that most would consider ludicrous, to get the job done. Nothing against the Mayor and His letter, but the soldiers of these teams were never identified, even though the 3RD ACR drove many of them into the ground to get the specific support they needed for the successes they now glory in, all alone.
From a voice for all of those who shed blood, left pre-maturely due to wounds, and for some who gave the ultimate sacrfice. The 3rd ACR and the Mayor may have overlooked you, but the individual soldiers of the 3rd ACR, your family and friends have not.God Bless you.Posted by Kanenas at March 15, 2006 05:58 PM
I would also add to the comments posted by kanenas, that they also received support in many ways from "Civil Affairs," "ODA," elements of the "Air Foce," "Navy" and "DOD Contractors."
Left to themselves, the 3rd ACR would take credit for a lot of things they could never have accomplished on their own becuase they possesed neither the skills and training or equipment necessary to do the job required. In Fact, it is impossible for any one unit to do. But the units mentioned here, and in post 77, did more than anyone will ever know, or the 3rd ACR would give credit to. I know, because I also served with them, till the very end.