OVER THE WEEKEND, I had the pleasure of having a cup of coffee with these guys early one morning. They're Knoxville men in the 278th division of the Tennessee National Guard and are about to go mobe and deploy to Iraq on December 1. Most have been there before and will leave their families and full-time jobs again to serve our country another year.
Their particular unit is assigned to protect the American Embassy in Baghdad. After talking to them, I feel better already. Below the photos they kindly agreed I could take (Again, I do not tell anyone I meet that I'm a blogger), I would like to give a brief synopsis---later today---of some of the politically incorrect things they told me. Meanwhile, may God bless these men and soldiers who serve our country so well.
IRAQ 101 (none of this is new, but a fun review), IN A NUTSHELL, what they said:
Don't believe anything you read or hear in the news about Iraq, or Obama's War, cause they don't know what's really going on......There's been good progress in Iraq, but a lot more to do....not only more fighting, but rebuilding infra-structure and keeping things from going downhill.
All the other countries have pulled out, except us and the two-timing Saudis. We need to have a presence there for at least 10 more years so that some of the children who are now 9-10-11 can grow up with a sense of freedom and begin to take positions in the real world in business and government. These young people who've lived through the war and tasted freedom won't let it slide back again.
Basically, you've got the Sunnis who are like Old Testament pharisees going by the letter of the law of Islam and are really strict.
Then you have the Shi'ia who are more like New Testament people, not as strict and rigid as the Sunnis. The conflicts between the two sects of Islam in Iraq are ongoing.
Then you got the Kurds who just want their own land up north which is essentially a mountain range. (From the Wikipedia line above: As a major economic power in Iraq, Kurdistan has the lowest poverty rates and highest standard of living in Iraq. It is the most stable and secure region of Iraq where not a single coalition soldier or foreigner has been killed, wounded or kidnapped since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Maintaining its own foreign relations, Kurdistan hosts a number of consulates and representation offices of countries most notably those of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Israel and Russia.)
The Saudis act like they're helping us on one hand, but on the other, are sending radicals and terrorists into Iraq through Syria to destroy everything we're trying to do. Saudis know there are vast oil reserves in Iraq and they're very interested in them. It's more than the Saudis and Kuwaitis have together. There's a lot of money and oil money on the line in Iraq and that's the truth.
But we're going to make it a good year and progress will be made while we're there....
When I asked if any of them will return home to visit during the year away? they all said probably not except in emergencies. It was too upsetting and disrupting to their families to come and go again. But with cell phones and computers, they'll be in constant communications.