Positive Steps in Iraq

We sure hear a lot about what’s not gone well in Iraq. Finally, we’re starting to hear a bit about what has gone well.


By Doug Struck, Washington Post Foreign Service

BAGHDAD, Feb. 6 – With a hero who gave his life for the elections, a revived national anthem blaring from car stereos and a greater willingness to help police, the public mood appears to be moving more clearly against the insurgency in Iraq (news - web sites), political and security officials said. In the week since national elections, police officers and Iraqi National Guardsmen said they have received more tips from the public, resulting in more arrests and greater effectiveness in their efforts to weaken the violent insurgency rocking the country…

…“They saw what we did for them in the election by providing safety, and now they understand this is their army and their sons,” said Sgt. Haider Abudl Heidi, a National Guardsman wearing a flak jacket at a checkpoint in Baghdad…

…“I feel very optimistic that things will change for the better because of the strong turnout in the elections. That reinforced our faith and gave us a sense of change for the better,” said Ali Jassem, 32, the manager of a bakery in Baghdad.

“You can feel the situation has changed,” said Haider Abdul Hussein, 30, a pharmacy owner. "People seem to linger on the street longer. You can feel the momentum, the sense of optimism."

Part of that mood change is credited to Abdul Amir, Iraq’s newest national hero. On election day, Amir, 30, a policeman in Baghdad, noticed a man walking toward a polling station who appeared to be carrying something heavy under his coat. Amir wrapped his arms around the man and dragged him away from the crowd. A belt of explosives wrapped around the man blew both men to shreds.

Members of Iraq’s interim cabinet have touted Amir as a symbol of national pride. Newspapers have been filled with stories about him. A statue is being planned, and the elementary school that served as the polling station where he died may change its name to honor him…

Read The Article

Indeed the elections were good in principle but it looks like we’ve helped setup another fundamentalist Islamic government to me? I don’t think Bush et al. wanted it to turn out this way.

I heard a report on NPR this morning about some concerns the Kurds have with territory of some oil rich regions.

I’m concerned about civil war quite frankly.

Mr Soul

Quote (Mr Soul @ Feb. 07 2005,12:27)
I don't think Bush et al. wanted it to turn out this way.

Doesnt' really matter as long as the people want it that way, no?

Wasn't that the point?

Hi Teej, nice to see you again. :)


Doesnt’ really matter as long as the people want it that way, no?

Wasn’t that the point?

No, the point was WDM’s.

(Why couldn’t they just use ASIO and be done with it? :( )

Or was the point, "That Saddam tried to kill my daddy!"

Or was it revenge for 9/11?

Or was it really about maintaining a solid foothold in the oil producing states?

Sorry, what was the point again? :D

Ach well, if it all works out, we can all say; “See, I told you so”,

whereas if it all goes tits up, we can all say; See! I told you so!"


Anyway, let’s just hope it all does work out, for the sake of everyone.


ah, no. I meant the point of the election…


Quote (Mr Soul @ Feb. 07 2005,12:27)
Indeed the elections were good in principle but it looks like we've helped setup another fundamentalist Islamic government to me? I don't think Bush et al. wanted it to turn out this way.

How else could it turn out? The region over there IS fundamentally Islamic! Did you think they were going to vote the Pope into office?

ah, no. I meant the point of the election...


Sorry Clark. As usual, my fingers were in top gear whilst my brain was still in neutral. :(

Did you think they were going to vote the Pope into office?

He was standing?

And they've telling us he's in hospital with the flu, whereas he's really been campaigning in Baghdad! LOL

Now, wouldn't that be an interesting idea, Primate exchange?

The pope and the ayatollah swap jobs for six months,
the Archbishop of Canterbury swaps with the high priest of Kali,
and GWBush swaps with the Dali Lama! :D


You gotta watch the Pope. He’s a crafty old bugger… :D :D


EDIT** Saw your addendum Ali…that is not a bad idea! Give 'em all a taste of how the other guy lives…hmmm… Can’t you just see Laura Bush being chased around by the Dali! Man what a riot!

Quote (gtr4him @ Feb. 07 2005,16:04)
Can't you just see Laura Bush being chased around by the Dali! Man what a riot!


Sorry, what’s a “Laura Bush”? ???

I know the name of your president, but not the intricacies of his harem!

Ali :D

Ali, you perv. Laura is Dubyah’s main squeeze! Possibly the Dali Lama’s if we set this thing up!


A Laura’s Bush, oops, Laura Bush, George’s wifey poo

Doesnt' really matter as long as the people want it that way, no?
Clark - you really don't get it do you? It matters alot if a civil war breaks out in Iraq.

Mr Soul

nope, I am fucking clueless. Enlighten me sweetheart.

Civil war is bad? wow. I never knew.

One, less than positive result of the war, (not the election).


Updated: 07:43 AM EST
Back From Iraq – and Out on the Streets

By Alexandra Marks, The Christian Science Monitor

NEW YORK - Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are now showing up in the nation’s homeless shelters.

While the numbers are still small, they’re steadily rising, and raising alarms in both the homeless and veterans’ communities. The concern is that these returning veterans - some of whom can’t find jobs after leaving the military, others of whom are still struggling psychologically with the war - may be just the beginning of an influx of new veterans in need. Currently, there are 150,000 troops in Iraq and 16,000 in Afghanistan. More than 130,000 have already served and returned home.

So far, dozens of them, like Herold Noel, a married father of three, have found themselves sleeping on the streets, on friends’ couches, or in their cars within weeks of returning home. Two years ago, Black Veterans for Social Justice (BVSJ) in the borough of Brooklyn, saw only a handful of recent returnees. Now the group is aiding more than 100 Iraq veterans, 30 of whom are homeless.

“It’s horrible to put your life on the line and then come back home to nothing, that’s what I came home to: nothing. I didn’t know where to go or where to turn,” says Mr. Noel. "I thought I was alone, but I found out there are a whole lot of other soldiers in the same situation. Now I want people to know what’s really going on."

After the Vietnam War, tens of thousands of veterans came home to a hostile culture that offered little gratitude and inadequate services, particularly to deal with the stresses of war. As a result, tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans still struggle with homelessness and drug addiction.

Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are coming home to a very different America. While the Iraq war remains controversial, there is almost unanimous support for the soldiers overseas. And in the years since Vietnam, more than 250 nonprofit veterans’ service organizations have sprouted up, many of them created by people like Peter Cameron, a Vietnam veteran who is determined that what happened to his fellow soldiers will not happen again.

But he and dozens of other veterans’ service providers are concerned by the increasing numbers of new veterans ending up on streets and in shelters.

Part of the reason for these new veterans’ struggles is that housing costs have skyrocketed at the same time real wages have remained relatively stable, often putting rental prices out of reach. And for many, there is a gap of months, sometimes years, between when military benefits end and veterans benefits begin.

“We are very much committed to helping veterans coming back from this war,” says Mr. Cameron, executive director of Vietnam Veterans of California. "But the [Department of Veterans Affairs] already has needs it can’t meet and there’s a lot of fear out there that programs are going to be cut even further."

Whether we believe in the war or not, this is just plain wrong.

And it’s not just the USA, but the UK too.

Lots of celebration and flag waving when they sail off to war, but when the crippled come back, they are ignored.


yep, reality of war hits home. Ain’t purty is it.

Hey teej!

Nope, it’s not all bad news, the election went off very well, great security, it is unfortunately impossible to keep that up, let’s hope things keep moving forward.