American Soldiers in Iraq

June 12, 2008

Government of Iraq

Filed under: Articles — frinqclass @ 12:20 pm

Operation Iraqi freedom goal was to overthrow the power of Suddam Hussein.  When this event occurred they planned on establishing a more solid government.  The bush administrative stated the goal that they were trying to maintain was, “to transform Iraq into a democracy that could be a model for the rest of the region and would prevent Iraq from becoming a safehaven for Islamic or other terrorists”. (Katzman)   President Bush talked about how he wanted to stay close with Iraq and lead them through the transition to there new government. In July of 2003 the Iraq governing council (IGC) was established and the members where announced. It included three women and then a mixture of the different major party branches of Iraq. Some of them included Shiites, Suni Arab, and Kurds where just a few. . In September of 2003 the Iraq Governing council decided upon doing a twenty five person cabinet.  Some thought of Iraq governing council as not successful in there practices of reclaiming some form of law. As for presidency changed monthly and one of the presidents Izzaddin Salim the president of May 2004 a Shiite was shot outside of the Iraq government Headquarters. Sovereignty was needed for Iraq.

 

The Iraq Government Council and the Coalition Provisional Authority made a draft by February of 2004 that sovereignty would be returned to Iraq by June of 2004.  For this process to have the constitution made up from each of the 18 provinces in Iraq a 15 member committee would have to be created. Then the next step in the process would be an assembly that chooses the high end positions and who would get them. Once sovereignty was handed over the U.S. officials no longer have final authority on non-security related issues. Voting and having an opinion is being allowed to the Iraq citizens with the help of the United States election assistance being given. United States have stayed in close ties with the government and are giving training to leaders to show them the ways there government can work effectively.  Officials of the U.S. are saying that Iraq is at its freest point ever. 

 

 

“The Bush Administration maintains that holding to the existing political and security transition plans, while working with foreign allies and pro-U.S. Iraqis, will lead to stability and democracy”(katzman 36).  The Iraq forces are being taught to be strong so one day they can control Iraq by themselves.   Units of the Iraq forces are fighting online battle lines with the United States Troup’s.  Iraq troop enforcers are paid; 60 dollars per month and receive 6 weeks of training.  Iraq has a National Guard that helps in combat and over 41,000 have the correct training to be part of the National Guard one has to not be affiliated as a colonial or higher position in the previous army of Iraq. 

 

There are two views of how the American Troops being in Iraq are negative because they fell that it is pointless because Iraq will not be able to stabilize; so the U.S. government should remove the troops.  Yet on the opposing side says that if the U.S. removes itself from Iraq then the Interim government banded together to create will be destroyed.

 

The Iraq government has been helped out by the United States with establishment of trying to create a democracy in Iraq.  Through funding and training the United States have been working one on one with helping to establish who is in power and when the power counts.  Of course the Iraq Government is going to be fighting on the sidelines with the United States Soldiers if funding is going to helping out the Iraq.  

 

Solution:

 

The American government is fully accepted by the Iraq government. Yet I only feel this way because seeing what control the USA government has had by implementing new rules because of the funding and restoration that the Bush Administrative has been dedicated at doing.  The government of Iraq is not its own government we have a power over it and are training in a way we wish to see it.  This does allow for American Troops and Iraq Troops to be working as one. I feel like having the American troops in Iraq is not good because the government of the United States is the one in control.            

 

Obstacles Facing American Forces In Iraq.

Filed under: Articles — frinqclass @ 6:28 am

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the United States of America has been known for its efforts in helping other nations and spreading democracy around the world. In the last half of the 20th century up until now, the United States has had a major interference in the Middle East. Starting with the support of the new Iranian government –at that time- in 1941 to the direct involvement of the American troops in Iraq in 2003 and to the military and politically support for Israel since its creation on 1948 until now. Through these years, the United States has been involved in almost in every single conflict in the Middle East either directly or indirectly. It supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran in 1980-1988 after the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979. Then, the United States stood against Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War in 1990-91 and his troops were force to leave Kuwait. After that, Both the United States and different Arab countries have made military ties in which the United States has established military bases in each of theses countries. All these changes in the United States’ policies and its carelessness of the Palestinian issue made it hard for those people who are affected by the results of these conflicts to trust or believe in the United States policies in the Middle East. There are defiantly many reasons which are pushing to instability in Iraq including its neighbors’ intentions of Iraq; however, the lack of trust in the United States policies on people’s level is one of the main problems that are facing the American forces in Iraq.

The lack of trust on the populist level in the U.S policies in the Middle East is caused by many different factors. First of all, in the Middle East there are major differences between the governments’ views and the people’s views. Most of the Arab countries in the Middle East are considered small countries comparing to the enormous resources they have which make them tend to either be allies or have strong ties with leading countries in the world such as the United States in order to protect their enormous resources. While these governments usually give total support to the US policies, most people tend to go the opposite way. This is mainly caused by the poor application of democracy among these countries. For example, main anti American movements in the region such as Hamas or Hezbollah are considered as terrorists organizations from western perspectives and most Middle Eastern governments, however these same organizations have huge support among some Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East and they are seen as heroes from these people’s perspectives. When Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, some leading countries and most Arab countries stopped their funds to the Palestinian government even though it was an elected government and the voice of Palestinian people. This and other examples make people in the Middle East tend to not trust or believe all what the United States says about democracy.

Another aspect that leads to people’s lack of trust in the United States policies in the Middle East is the image of the U.S that the media presents in the Middle East. Either what the media presents was correct or incorrect information, a lot of Middle Eastern media tend to focus on negative acts of the United States. This leads the audiences to start building a negative image or for some to prove what they already see as an image of the United States. For example, a report called “Iraq on The Record” made by The Special Investigations Division states that there were 237 misleading statements about Iraq made by five officials of the Bush administration (George Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice) before the beginning of military operations in Iraq. When this report was first published, it was heavily focused on by Middle Eastern media. From most Arab and Muslims perspectives in the Middle East, this report means that the United States has created or used “lies” to start its military operations in Iraq. This brought up a lot of questions in Middle East about the real intentions of the United States military operations in Iraq.

With no doubts, this has led to decreasing in the United States popularity and in a possible increasing in the Anti-American movements’ popularity in the region.

These reasons are affecting the American forces in Iraq negatively. Not only some Iraqi people are fighting in Iraq, but also people and groups from the surrounding countries. These people fight for different reasons; some claim that they are doing Jihad! Others believe that the U.S government did not come to the Middle East to spread democracy or to take down Saddam Hussein; they think that the U.S is there only for oil.

This is the kind of view many people there see.

Solution.

I think that if the U.S government wants to improve the situation in Iraq it will have to start with improving its own image in the area to a better image than what people there see and this will need a lot of work. The U.S should make it clear that they are in Iraq not for oil. They should make clear that there intention is not to stay in Iraq. I don’t think that it’s wise for the US to leave Iraq at the moment but it should show that the intention is to leave in the future. It should make clear that the future of Iraq is for the Iraqis to decide. Also, it should work out something with the surrounding countries, explaining that the US forces in Iraq is not going to affect them negatively and I think that the US should use a diplomatic voice instead of the aggressive voice with those countries specially Iran.

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Resources:

http://www.casi.org.uk/discuss/2002/msg01184.html

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=14792

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

http://oversight.house.gov/IraqOnTheRecord/pdf_admin_iraq_on_the_record_rep.pdf

Operation “Iraqi Freedom”: An American Soldiers Point of View

Filed under: Articles — frinqclass @ 4:48 am

As with any conflict there are many perspectives in which it may be viewed. Luckily for most of us we are merely analyzers using whatever resources we deem legitimate to seek and ascertain information from which a personal point of view may be obtained. A soldier has the most authentic source of information; the battle field.

Even among soldiers there are varying opinions as to the rational of the conflict. Some American veterans have even fled to Canada to seek asylum, while some genuinely want to return to Iraq. Due to the United States militaries lax rules for taking pictures and video during combat, and the modern age of technology it is more difficult than ever to keep the stories of individuals in the military and on the front line from surfacing. Videos, interviews, internet blogs and web sites, and even books are being written by soldiers and veterans. Through their first hand experience they all tell a compelling story and a sad complicated one at that.

The following is part of an interview with an Iraqi Freedom veteran named Colby Buzzell. “On way out of my building two weeks ago, I checked my mailbox and found a letter from the Department of the Army with “Important Document” printed in all caps on the middle. I immediately felt sick, so I went back to my room, locked the door, grabbed a beer from the fridge and stared out my window for a while. People outside were all wearing sunglasses and walking about enjoying the sun. I took a picture… I got out of the Army three long years ago, and since then I’ve never really talked ill of the military, the people in it, or expressed any regrets at all about enlisting. If I had to do it all over again, I honestly would have. Granted, I got lucky and made it back with all my body parts intact. If I hadn’t, my answer might be a little bit different than what it is now… As terrible as this might sound, whenever someone asks me about enlisting, I’m tempted to encourage them. I figure that the more people who enlist, the slimmer the chances that I’ll get called back up. But of course this is ridiculous: No one in their right mind would enlist now, whereas I’ve already signed the papers. I’m now going back to Iraq for a second time because people like me – existing service members – are the only people at the Army’s disposal… Many people believe that the draft ended the Vietnam War. I’m convinced that reinstating the draft would definitely end this war. Rich, connected people will always find a way to evade mandatory service, but what about the rest of America? The middle class – people with good jobs and nice lives – would perhaps riot if the government even suggested that it expected from them what the Army expects from veterans.

Almost every soldier in Iraq possesses a digital camera and laptop to send video and pictures via the internet to friends and family back home. The average soldier in Iraq works an 8-12 hour shift. After their shift is over they are free to “recreate” until their next shift begins. Many soldiers use their free time to create and edit digital videos and post them on the internet or send them home. These videos are thousands of stories of war. Most videos are made for the soldier’s family to keep in contact and give them an idea of what their daily life is like. Soldiers can be seen joking with each other in their barracks and enjoying themselves in their free time or send a message via video to whoever wishes to see. Not all videos are constructed in this manner. Soldiers also take their cameras with them when they are on duty. Personal cameras are worn by soldiers, mounted on their vehicles, and even expensive helmet cams are used. When gun fire erupts they simply press record and an eyewitness report is then captured. Through viewing many of these videos it is my personal opinion that they give the true story of the conflict in Iraq. The fact that they do not all agree with each other I think it makes them even more legitimate.

The following is part of an interview with Sergeant Adam Lingo who has made numerous films from footage while serving in Iraq. “There’s a lot of guys that do miss Iraq. There’s guys over there and you want to be part of the team. But once you come back you kind of want to share your experience with somebody. In a way I guess [it’s] therapeutic. Everyone always thinks you’re going to go to Iraq and come back and you are just going to get on with your life and everything will be normal, and it just doesn’t work out that way. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Iraq… Making some of these videos and stuff has been one of the ways I can somehow show them. If a picture is worth a thousand words … how much is a video worth, you know?”

For many returning veterans these videos have become an obsession. Many returning vets are continually looking at new videos posted on the web or watching their own to recall their experiences.

There are thousands of links for Iraq war clips, here are some of them.

http://shock.military.com/Shock/home.do

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1536780/20060720/index.jhtml

http://www.spike.com/collection/2585/channel/warzone

http://youtube.com/results?search_query=iraq+war+videos&search_type=&aq=2&oq=iraq

http://www.liveleak.com/?ogr=1

http://www.mtv.com/overdrive/?id=1536801&vid=97560

June 3, 2008

US Government Perspective on War

Filed under: Articles — frinqclass @ 7:38 pm

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Most in this country seem to be against the war. They want the soldiers brought home safely and for the war to end right away. How does our government feel about the war? They are the ones that declared war, but do they all believe in the war that they started? How do they feel about sending our troops over to fight in something they may or may not still believe in? When do they think the war will end and how are they going to go about ending it?

            On March 19th, 2003 our government sent its first attack on Iraq which they called the “decapitation attack”. It was an air strike on the war targets, Saddam Hussein and other leaders in Baghdad. It gave us unclear results. The following day they sent another air strike and the first set of ground troops. And from there we continue to attack by air and by ground. In October of 2002 “Congress adopts a joint resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq and gives the president authority to take preemptive, unilateral military action against Iraq, when and how he deems necessary. The bill is opposed by 133 representatives and 23 senators” (http://www.afsc.org). Congress gave the president rule over the military actions while a huge chunk of the government was against that decision.

            There are many reasons that are said to be the reasons behind this war one of the main ones is the fight against terrorism. After our country was attacked on September 11th 2002 we felt the need to defend our country. We weren’t about to just let the terrorist come and attack our country and just leave it at that. When attacked everyone feels the need to defend themselves, but it then turned into “the war on terror.” The “USA believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which it feared would fall in the hands of terrorist…The US Congress states that the war was a carried out to help “prosecute the war on terrorism”. The main cause, motive as well as the consequences of the war till date remain controversial” (http://www.blurtit.com).

            The reasons for the war are controversial and some believe that the main reason for the war is for oil. “Commentators the world over had said all along that talk about going into Iraq because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and because he had killed thousands of his own people was just to win international approval for launching the attack on his regime” (http://www.nationnews.com). “It’s no wonder, with statements like these, that 65% of Americans in 2003 thought Saddam was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks. What is striking is that, with such widespread misperception, the Bush Administration has made virtually no attempt to straighten the record. And in fact seems intent on keeping the misconception alive” (http://www.newwaveinstruments.com). The government was willing to use whatever they could to keep themselves in Iraq for oil. “President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country’s vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists” (http://www.boston.com). That statement was made in 2005, in that statement he tries to defend both protecting oil and fighting to control terrorists. The government doesn’t seem very sure on why we are fighting this war, and in trying to figure the reasons out they are telling us combinations of them all.

            Not only are there all of those previously stated reasons being thrown out there but don’t forget the idea that we are bringing democracy to Iraq. The media plays a huge role in what we hear as the reasons for this war, but this is by far one of the most stated reasons from the media. We are told daily that we are making progress in bringing democracy in Iraq. “While President Bush vows to transform Iraq into a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, his administration has been scaling back funding for the main organizations trying to carry out his vision by building democratic institutions such as political parties and civil society groups” (http://www.washingtonpost.com). In my opinion the government is no where near clear as to why we are still in Iraq. The President is doing one thing while his administration is another.

            With all of this controversy Americans just aren’t sure what to think of the country. According to a poll done by CBS news showed that “With U.S. troops continuing to take casualties in Iraq, less than half of Americans now believe the U.S. is in control of the situation there — a dramatic decline from April, when 71 percent thought it was. Less than half now say Iraq was a threat that required immediate action. And while 54 percent still believe that removing Saddam Hussein from power was worth the costs of war, that figure, too, has declined from 65 percent in May. Americans are also less positive now in their assessment of the U.S. effort in Iraq. Today, six in ten say U.S. efforts are going at least somewhat well (only 6% describe them as going very well) and over one-third of Americans say the U.S. efforts are going badly, up from less than one in four who thought so in May” (this poll was taken in July of 2003). The following are the graphs from this poll.

IS THE U.S. IN CONTROL OF THE SITUATION IN IRAQ?

Yes
Now
——————-45%
4/03
————————–71%

No
Now
—————–41%
4/03
———–20%

U.S. EFFORTS TO BRING STABILITY TO IRAQ ARE…

Going very well
Now
—-6%
5/03
——11%

Going somewhat well
Now
——————-54%
5/03
———————61%

Going somewhat badly
Now
————-25%
5/03
———-19%

Going very badly
Now
——-11%
5/03
—5%

            Those graphs are just a few on www.cbsnews.com. With all that goes on behind this war there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what the reasons behind this war are. Is what we hear from the media the true reasons or are they just what our government wants us to believe. How are we supposed to get ourselves out of a war when we really aren’t clear on why we are there in the first place? The government has many views on the war as do the American people. Maybe once the war is over we will find out the true reasons behind the war.

Ryann Henninger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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