This morning at Rotary I met a fine young Iraqi man who is living here seeking to help the U.S. Military correctly identify its targets in Iraq. I thanked him and welcomed him. We need more like him.
I can understand why there are Iraqis who do not want us to be in their country. Since the invasion the U.S. has lost 4349 service men and women according to icasualties.org. If you add the rest of the coalition forces it brings the total up to 4667. Add to that the 2993 who died in the attacks on 9/11/01 and you have a total of 7660. A recent report in the Killeen Daily Herald released the figure of 85,694 Iraqis who have died betwen January of 2004 and October of 2008. That does not include those who died in the initial invasion, because there was no functioning Iraqi government to keep records. It does not count the ones who have perished since Halloween last year. Comparing the two figures, our own losses counted to the max compared to this figure which is clearly limited you still have to admit that for every American loss more than 11 Iraqis have perished. We have lost just under 1% of what they have. For us to suffer equally would mean having 900,000 people die, someone from virtually every family in the country.
I can understand why some Iraqis don't want us in their country. Some, undoubtedly, do not want us to interfere with their extremist agendas, but I would guess that is an infintessimally small number. Some so strongly believe in their own sovreignty that, intending no harm at all to us, they still just want to be able to play house by their own rules. I would suspect that most resistance to our presence would fall into that favorite of sinful human exercises of blaming whoever is closest or most obvious for what hurts. The Americans come, masses of people die, it must be their fault.
On that one none of us can claim the higher ground. The headline article in the same issue of the KDH talked about a young man who has been indicted for first degree murder. The details of the case are not public knowledge yet, but I would bet a whole hill of beans on it going something like this: Someone wants something, someone else stands in the way of getting it. Instead of being content without it someone gets violent in order to get it. Life hurts and we don't want it to, so we find someone to blame.
Remember when it used to happen at home? Usually my mother could see through the situation immediately. We always got whatever was coming to us for what we did wrong, but there was always more. She would hold us and let us cry it out. In the end we felt kinda foolish for what we'd done, safe to be that way in the loving care of our mother.
Perhaps what we need along with all the military stuff is a place to "cry it out." Perhaps that place is already available to us...go find your clergy and say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done. In the Bible it's called metanoia, otherwise known as repentance.