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November 11, 2004


A letter to the United States posted 11/10 signed by over 1,000 Iraqi's that will never find it's way to the mainstream press.



Probably because it opposes the ideas and
positions of the mainstream press. They
must and only can acknowledge the negative
while ignoring the positive. CBS and Dan Rather come to mind...


Yes, we can't actually show good things. That's just wrong.

No problem showing good things... but a little letter just pales compared to hundreds of people dying every week. I'm sure you understand why.


Well that's cool, I mean I have to trust the translator's version but I'm glad there are around 1000 Iraqis happy with what's going on. Just 23 million more to convert and our mission will truly be accomplished!


Amazing the attitude of negativity. Just fyi, the internet, was not even allowed in Iraq before we got there. It's not like everyone has a computer, let alone internet access at both work and home - or either, for that matter. And when there is truly a democracy there you will say, "it's not really a democracy because we forced it on them, blah blah blah...."

Jim, hundreds of people are dying every single week. I guess the fact that the iraqis can now download porn makes up for that.


Jim, that's simply not true. The internet was allowed in Iraq before the invasion. How do you think bloggers like Salam Pax were so widely read?


It's true there wasn't full access - partly due to the sanctions and yes, partly due to Saddam being an authoritarian bastard.

Filtering/blocking pages is common in many countries - though not openly admitted. These include Bush's great friend, Saudi Arabia. A Harvard study has proved that there is filtering of pages there - usually about health, education and religion. When will we be bringing freedom to the Saudis?


As soon as the Saudi's invade their neighbors and disregard 18 UN sanctions.

It took a Harvard study to prove the Saudi's blocked pages on the net? Now that was worthwhile. I wonder what senator put pork in the barrel for that research.


One blogger does not mean the country had ready access. Why did all these internet cafes sprout up AFTER the war.

Oh I keep forgetting that everything was sunshine and happiness before the war.

And you keep forgetting that 10,000 - 20,000, and perhaps many, many more were alive before the war. I think dead people would consider life sunny and happy compared to being in the grave. I also think that seriously wounded people, of which there are probably some multiple of those dead, would also consider life sunny and happy before the war.


Jim, I was just pointing out that your comment "the internet was not allowed in Iraq before we got there" wasn't accurate, and why.

More internet cafes with unrestricted access - a Good Thing, yeah, hurray. As Salam Pax points out, it's now $5 an hour to go online (used to be 25 cents before we got there) but should decrease over time. Why are they springing up? Cos there's shitloads of money to be made? Oh, no, sorry, it's because freedom is reigning.


You're right, Miriamg. Freedom is overrated. I guess, for those who have it anyway. Better to let those 25 million live in fear of saying the wrong thing or getting satellite tv (banned under Saddam, oh I mean they couldn't afford them then). Riiiiiight. Because Saddam encouraged information from the outside world.

I suppose life for those who died is overrated too.


Here's an question on the freedom topic:

Now that Arafat is dead, does anybody besides me see the hypocrisy in a Bush offering condolences and hope for a renewed peace bewteen the Palestineans and Isreal?

This from a country that has always supported Isreali terrorism against anyone that gets in the way of their freedom?

I'm a non religious Jew and yet I wonder hwo the US justfies providing Isreal with anything it needs to assure there will never be a Palestinean state? And this is not related just to Bush.

Jews and Palestineans have been fighting each other in the Holy Land for about 5,000 years. Odds are they continue for another 5,000. Somehow I see the Sunis continuing to fight the non-Sunis as opposed to accepting one big happy Democratic Iraq because the US ousted Saddam. But they're called "insurgents" because they don't want the future of their country decided by a country that could care less about their political rights or freedoms within a government.

Why don't we invade Turkey? None of the 2 million Kurds that live in the eastern part of the country consider themselves Turksish. Maybe we should send some troops to Putin to help control those pesky Checnians.

Um, because it's not the job of America to decide how and nations decide their own fate. Except of course if the vice president gets to allocate large oil contracts to his former company.


OMG. You don't see plenty of blame to go around on both sides of this conflict? And yet who gets the big blame for supporting one of them? America! Villain of the world.
The only answer is a two state solution. Let's see who introduced that idea? hmmmm... Anything else is useless. Arafat sure did not seem to be two keen on a two state solution. Maybe now someone will be in charge who is for it. And don;t think I'm saying the Israeli's are perfect. Sharon has tried, but in my estimation, not hard enough. There are too many righ wing Israeli's who won't leave their settlements, because "God chose for them to live there." Please stop the madness.


Umm Rodi,

"Now that Arafat is dead, does anybody besides me see the hypocrisy in a Bush offering condolences and hope for a renewed peace bewteen the Palestineans and Isreal?"

I guess that's no different than the Palestinian Leadership asking the US to assist them with their elections. Which they did yesterday.

Now where's the hypocrisy? But, since that
whole arguement is just another dead end wouldn't it, just by chance, be really great if Bush did help the Palestinian Leadership to hold elections, a strong leader wins, the Israelis and the Palestinians, with the help of the US, really sit down and come to a peace accord, the Palestinians setup their state, that region has peace, the Israelis and the Palestinians finally, at long last, have peace and live in peace with each other, AND I can return to Israel and, once again, see the places I lived and walked for 4 years once again.

Now wouldn't that be friggin awesome??


Hey Chrish, when were you last in Israel? I wanted to go in the beginning of 2002, but the violence was really coming on strong at that time, so I didn't dare go in. I will say that I appeared to be the only tourist in all of Jordan at the time. Even Petra was completely deserted... good for me, bad for Jordan. I also made it out to the Iraqi border from which appeared to come thousands of oil tankers one after another. It was surreal.

Jim, you talk about blame America, but don't we support one side? If we don't, I can hardly find something that we're doing on behalf of the Palestinians, even if Arafat was an untrustworthy lying weasel. From the stories I heard while I was in Jordan, he rejected the two state thing because the deal with Barak included none of the Palestinian holy sites.

Here's the thing though, no matter what the truth, U.S. opinion sucks. This was way before the war, but everyone in the refugee camp saw the heavy hand of America propping up the only non-Islamic country in the middle east with weapons. Can't blame them... that's the obvious conclusion and if we want to change that, we ought to do something.

Most also saw the heavy hand of America getting King Hussein to change his heir while he was in the U.S. for medical treatment, which obviously looks incredibly suspicious. Again here is another place where I doubt Bush has any chance of posing as a fair or honest broker... another reason why it's not good policy to elect a negotiator who has a terrible reputation.

Chrish, I did post a response to your request in the Red vs. Blue thread... just so you know. I really do want to hear what you think about Iraq on the Record.




Thanks for responding to Chrish regarding America's reputation regarding Palestinean peace. Interesting commentary based on a first hand view

I'd love to see Bush broker peace bewteen Isreal and Palestine. But as I've said before, it's not America's job to negotiate. Jews and Palestineans have been fighting since the dawn of religion. If there ever is a long lasting peace in the region, one would think the US policy on supporting the only non Muslim country in the middle east would need to change.

And FYI, I do not support Isreal's pro-terrorist polices and I'm a Jew. I'm a big fan of travel journalism and I've read many times that you'll find a lot of Isreal's youth in other countries denouncing their government. They are taught from an early age that the whole world hates Jews and they are forced into 3 years of mandatory military service to "defend" against those who would choose to destroy Isreal. (women have to serve 18 months) If the Isrealis would amke an honest effort to share their country with the Muslim world, perhaps peace would be easier to broker.


I just hope one day we can all walk through the streets of Jerusulem, Bagdhad, Tehran, etc. I guess I'm one of the 20% who think it's possible. It won't be easy, but it is possible.


With all due respect to anyone who is actually Iranian, Jordanian, or Iraqui, I don't think too many Americans have these countries on their top tourist spots anyway

But here's to eternal optimism


Jim, I'm sure everyone can agree with your sentiments, 100%. What we don't agree with is how it's being accomplished and the lives that it is costing. Quite honestly, the results don't show much. A couple hundred lives for Saddam's head? No problem, I'm sure. But 20,000+ lives and counting in a situation where there's no end in sight, with us going bankrupt, with America's credibility in the crapper, to that I say no. Not without some WMD or a real connection to al-Qaeda (not just your, I'm sure there was one terrorist in Iraq business).

You speak of Iran, well as I mentioned long ago, I am middle eastern... Persian actually. My family actually knows some people who were killed by Saddam, so of course we want that butcher to be strung by his ankles to die a slow painful death. But Bush lies and occupation are not the way to fix this, in fact it's painfully obvious from the Palestinian issue. What has Israel accomplished except for putting its citizens in more harm's way?

It was New York and New Jersey that were attacked on 9/11, so they've obviously spent the most time thinking about terrorism. Why did they not choose Bush? The same goes for any other big city...



Thanks for the repost. I was in Israel
from 78 - 84, Northern Israel in the city
of Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Gallilee. During that time I used the bus services, walked, and backpacked from a few miles South of Lebanon to a little South of
Jerusalem during my free time.

I met and had friends among the Israelis, the Palestininans, and the Beaudin
people. I was introduced to both sides of the issues; the Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints. From my perspective both sides
are wrong and both sides need to come to that realization. The Israelis for their part in aggravating the problem with their incessant expanding of settlements in Palestininan territory and the Palestinian's
for their terrorist attacks. I realize that
it goes much deeper than that which could be
viewed as more a state of mind in that the
land itself has a very deep meaning for both sides. The Israelis, the historical and spiritual meaning, the Palestinians it's
the land of their father's, father's, father
going back how ever many generations. From
a Westerner's perspective which sees a plot of land as a place to build more houses, buildings, or parking lots the sentiment is
hard to grasp.

The many Israeli's and Palestinians I had the opportunity to just sit and talk with had a hard time understanding why American's spoke badly of their own country.
They could not understand that. They understood themselves speaking badly but,
not Americans speaking badly of their own country. To them it was not understandable and with some disagreeable. I'm sure these days they now understand or really don't care one way or the other but, back then it was an ungraspable, if there is such a word, concept.

As with most issues it seems its always the hard core extremists that cause the majority of the problems. The hard core extremist Zionists vs the hard core extremist Islamic fundamentalists. Both sides say what? Israel for Israel only Palestine for Palestinians only. Absolutely no room for compromise; no retreat no surrender.

In the early days of Israel many of their famous leaders were "militants" committing "terrorist" attacks; Moeshe Dyan, Manchem Begin, to name a couple, were wanted terrorists by the British. Now it's Arafat and other terrorist groups. Neither side can possibly win and neither side seems willing to yield. Which one is arrogant, prideful, and stubborn? Both sides, of course.

Yes Rodi, you are correct about military service in Israel. I can't tell you how many buses I rode where there wasn't at least one Israeli soldier carrying a weapon
on the bus. They weren't riding as security guards or anything like that they
were just traveling from one assignment to the next or just going home or coming home.
It was weird sitting in a seat with a soldier standing up and the barrel of their
gun pointing at you. Not threating, mind you, it was just as if they were carrying an umbrella or something. Odd experience.

Whatever the discussion, whatever the argument, whatever the position extremists
cause the majority of the problems. Get them out of the way and things can get done
to the betterment of everyone. That's my thought.

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