Do the Iraqis want us there? A Marine explains.
A school friend of mine told me that his history teacher explained to her class that the Iraqis didn’t really want us to be there (she also said that the US has killed more Iraqis than Saddam did). The second claim is so ridiculous that it’s not worth discussion, the former claim, however, is worth a few lines.
Former USMC First Lieutenant Karl Blanke was recently interviewed on Fox News. He told a number of interesting stories, starting with the time of America’s initial push into Baghdad. As they engaged Saddam‘s loyalist forces, Iraqis would line the street to cheer for the US.
“Their response was incredible…they just had complete trust that we would not target them, would not harm them in any way. And they literally were out there with their children watching and were so excited to see the special Republican Guard and Baathist units be destroyed by U.S. forces.”
The Iraqis’ positive response was not limited to the first days of the war. Blanke says that he interacted with Iraqis on a daily basis who were “extremely appreciative of everything we had done.” Blanke gives a “great example” from the period after the Abu Grahib controversy: One night in when he was on patrol Fallujah, two Iraqis stopped their car. “And they came up to me and said thank you, thank you, thank you. That’s all they could say. What they did was then they showed me, they pulled up their shirts, pulled up their trouser legs, and showed me all the scars where they’ve been tortured by Uday and Qusay and went on to quite an extensive length about the horrors that they had faced. And that, you know, that’s not one isolated incident. We had a whole series of those types of incidents.”
Interviewer Jim Angle went on to ask Blanke if the absence of WMD had soured the mission for him. Blank answered, “I think for us, as we interacted with the Iraqi people and they started to tell us about the atrocities…the mass graves that have been found, literally thousands of people, some of whom were buried alive. Things like that made it very clear to us that there was a human rights dilemma. And for example…we found a prison of nothing but children, all 10, 12, 14-year-old children that were in prison as a way of manipulating their parents for political goals of Saddam.” In other words, he’s proud of what we’re doing.
Lt. Blanke ends on a positive note, pointing out that it will take time for the Iraqis to recover from 30 years of slavery but saying nonetheless that things look good. (Despite the fact that this “flies in the face of everything we see in the media today.”)
While some people may not accept the above evidence as conclusive, I think that Lt. Blanke may in fact know even more about what’s going on in Iraq than my friend’s history teacher.