Bye-Bye Baghdad

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BY “ANONYMOUS” | Topical research associate: Auveline Robinson
As published on 8.17.07 by fraternal site, Truthdig

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Bloodbath is not a metaphor in Iraq, thanks to the Cheney/Bush war.

Editor’s Note: The author of this article is a contractor who has lived and worked in Baghdad. His identity is known to Truthdig’s editors, but he has written anonymously in order to offer an uncensored account.

I have been living and working in Baghdad for the past 16 months and will be leaving next week for good. I am one of those overpaid Department of Defense contractors, or, as some would call me, a “war profiteer.” Yes, I have profited. I am out of debt and have money saved. But it has cost me. I am a changed man. I have become hardened. I almost feel like a zombie.

Although I work in Baghdad, I have no idea what Baghdad looks like. I have been told by soldiers that it is “like one of those Mexican border towns.” I don’t live in the “heavily fortified” Green Zone, which, although heavily fortified, has been getting hit with mortars on a daily basis. No, I live on an Army base. I live in a trailer with four other men. We each have our own space and I am lucky to have quiet roommates. There is a common latrine and shower.

I have had a lot of experiences over these 16 months, and the situation has not changed one bit. I feel like I am leaving a sinking ship. The only thing that has changed is that more trailers have had to be added for the “surge” of troops that have come in. Oh, and our laundry now takes 72 hours to get done.

The majority of my co-workers are Iraqi, and every single one has been deeply affected by the war. Everyone knows someone who has been killed or kidnapped, whether a family member or a friend. It’s a daily occurrence, and they feel helpless, frustrated and, of course, very sad. Those that had the means have gone to either Jordan or Syria. The others are trapped. No country wants them.

Every day, the Iraqis risk their lives to come to work because they have no choice. The average salary is $300 a month, and many of them are supporting large families. Some of the Iraqis I work with just live in the building we work in rather than risk going home every day. Also, the building usually has electricity, which means there is air conditioning. In Baghdad there is usually one hour of electricity a day and hardly any water. People pitch in and buy a generator and get just enough electricity out of it to have the ceiling fan and refrigerator run.

Most Iraqis come to work by bus since there is a shortage of gasoline in Baghdad. People have to wait in line overnight in order to get gas for their cars. I wonder how we in America would react if we had even one hour without electricity or water and had to wait in a line to fuel our gas-guzzling SUVs. For us on the base, getting gas is a breeze. We just drive up to one of the many gas depots and fill our cars up. I can’t figure out how we have such easy access to gasoline and the Iraqis have none.

I was recently on vacation in the States when the bridge collapsed in Minneapolis. Yes, it was a terrible tragedy, but to the Iraqis that is nothing. Our media spent hours talking about how the bridge collapsed and how people were coping with the grief. The authorities immediately brought in grief counselors. There aren’t enough grief counselors in the world to come to Baghdad and ask the Iraqis how they are coping. But coping they are, and every day is a crapshoot.

Will I get killed or kidnapped or suffer some other horrible tragedy? Most Iraqis feel that they will indeed be killed, whether by the Sunni militia, the Shiite militia, the American Army or a car bomb. They live in constant fear. Could you imagine having to live like that? And why are they suffering so terribly? Because we are giving them freedom. Freedom is something that I fear the Iraqis will not have any time in the near future.

It is with a heavy heart that I leave behind my Iraqi friends. Their lives are absolutely horrible, but they have to keep moving every day to survive. Every day, as they leave for home, I always wonder if it will be the last time I see them.

We have made a mess of Iraq, and the Iraqis, who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, are the ones that are paying the price.

Our troops are losing morale. They know they are fighting a war that will never end, and I feel sorry for them. I feel that the ship will eventually sink and we will have caused the most terrible suffering for a people that just want a day when they can leave their house without the fear of being kidnapped or killed. For the Iraqis, freedom certainly isn’t free: They are paying a heavy price for it.

—FINIS—

12 comments on “Bye-Bye Baghdad
  1. We send this man our thanks for his honesty and humanity, wish him well, and a quick and safe return home. And to all Iraqis, peace and justice, as soon as possible. Let the insanity stop, at least our part in it.

  2. I am so glad that you published this man’s story.
    I see that his account of the trials of the Iraqis and his own touched you as much as it did me.
    I read every day of the horrific situation our own soldiers endure and the conditions under which the Iraqis live with no food, no water, no homes and deadly fighting all around them; and yet Cheney now wants to include Iran in his greed for power and control of the Middle East. Of course, he has help in the Israelis who are exterminating the Palestinians and now want to do the same to the Iranians.

  3. Were the Iraqi people in fear of kidnapping, murder, torture or genocide before the US invasion? How many died in the war with Iran, and due to the Iraqi government before 2003?

  4. So according to Armie Schmatz its all good in the hood? Man if you says its ok then I’ll just ignore the fact that we can’t win a war when the indiginous population doesn’t support our efforts and sees us as an occupying force.

    If Armie sez its cool, no worries right? Hey Armie Schmatz, you been to Bagdad? Your kids been there? If not, you should all go since its a good thing were there.

  5. By all appearances, this story is posted by an “ANONYMOUS” person because it is in fact FAKE.

    Whatever point this person is trying to make by literally putting out what is known as “PROPAGANDA” is lost on me because I do not like being lied to and misled. If the war was a huge mistake…if there is a bloodbath…if Bush and Cheney are bad people!!! It doesn’t matter in this instance because the person who posts this stuff is a fraud and is deceiving you.

    There is plenty of original, legitimate dissenters, scholars, and investigators out right now discrediting this war and discovering ineptitude and illegality. The people who create and then spread this kind of deceptive propaganda are surely no better than “BuchCo”, though, and it only serves to discredit the real people who stand against the war.

    This is LIES. Get your news and views elsewhere.

  6. adamThegr8t

    You are wrong in your assertion that the Iraqi civilians do not want the US to stay. It is exceedingly clear that the educated, moderate Iraqis (which is about 70% of them) are afraid of what will happen if and when the US leaves too soon. At least get your facts straight. If these are the facts which form the basis of your anti-war belief, then you need to get a fucking fact-checker, pal.

  7. Well said adamthegr8t. Oh and Armie I can see where your coming from that they have lived in fear but now their is car bombs going off at their door-step before people were kidnapped for speaking out against the government the average Joe Bloggs had nothing to fear so long as they kept their mouth shut and head down. Now a car bomb may just go off beside them when they are coming home from work.
    “Every day, as they leave for home, I always wonder if it will be the last time I see them.”

    Sums it up nicely I think.

  8. Maybe you should enlist QUICKROB. We need more troops, there is no doubt or argument there. The average american hasn’t contributed to the war effort. I spent 9 months there, maybe you should too pal.

  9. quickckrob: wow, if ignorance has a face, look in the mirror. IF the war is a bloodbath? IF? Besides Fox ‘News’ where do you see peace and harmony in Iraq? Can you find it on a map? Did you read the same story we did? Propaganda? From whom? Bush Co. does not want people to know there is dissent in the ranks, that troops are scared, tired and angry to be fighting a war with no end.

  10. QUIKCKROB, adamThegr8t – propoganda? Look at the photo,. is that a ‘fake’ as well,. what is so hard to belive about the story? You think you can spread ‘democracy’ at the end of a gun? As if that is what USA is doing,. you are pathetic. wake up,. war is for the profit$ of a few,. there are no ‘winners’ those killed remain dead,. and their families loose,. those that kill permanently loose a part of their soul,. sad. and pathetic. If you know nothing of history and all wars have been that same,. profits for the bankers and the corpo-fascists,. the war machine,. and death for the people and mental illness for the ‘troops’, then you should pick up a book, .ever hear of those,. read some history or some commentary on current events,. you proove your ignorange with your comments. good day sir.

  11. Oooops. I think we screwed up your country. Sorry about that. Seeya!

    Perhaps not the best solution, but there are times when the people who live in a place are the only ones who can solve their problems. Monetary, material, and expert assistance, obviously should be provided, but political control and occupation seems to be a lost cause at this point. A lot of people are going to be suffering due to our Empire of consumption, but we need to take a hard look at what we can do ourselves before we expect the rest of the world to support our childish behaviors.

    Dear Libertarians:
    “You can’t govern if you don’t believe in government.”
    Dear Iraqis:
    “You can’t be governed if you don’t believe in government.”
    Dear America:
    “Your government lies to you. Stop believing it.”
    Dear Corporate American CEO’s and Board Members and Civil Service Department Heads:
    “Think about your customers (government and civilian); It’s time to lead them, not bleed them.”

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