Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Listening and speaking bluntly

The American conservative firebrand talk-radio host, Rusty Humphries has been touring and doing his radio program from Iraq. His observations support quite a bit of what we have read before on this matter, but he has a way of keeping it straightforward and being amusing. Oddly enough, he does have a habit when he is on the air for a few hours of showing his exhaustion by sounding like the caricature of an old time preacha’ man in the way he pauses between phrases.

He put his venture into Fallujah this way:

«Before I get into what I did and saw in Fallujah, I must tell you about Saddam’s “Palace.” There are many more of these palaces than I thought. They are everywhere. Some are within blocks of each other.

I would think that (if it were real), Disney’s Haunted Mansion may have been a magnificent place a long time ago, that’s how the palace I stayed in was. The guy who had this place built had a lot of money and zero taste. Big ugly gold fixtures are everywhere, nice marble floors, a lot of rooms but the best word to describe it all is tacky!

[Fallujah is…] Dirty, dusty, with garbage in the streets, graffiti as far as the eye can see. As we drove through the streets in our convoy, the resident came out to give us the thumbs up. Lining the streets as if we were in a parade - men, women, and children, all showing their support for our troops, everywhere! It was so heartwarming and was much more prevalent than I had expected. Yes, there are those who don’t like us, but they aren’t showing their faces. The ones who have seen the promise of a new day are out in the open and plentiful.

One Iraqi I met is a young man who serves as Maj. Phelps’ interpreter, Musapha. He tells me, “These guys are my heroes. They have changed the lives of so many in my family and in my country. My dreams are becoming real now. Most Iraqis have been living without any faith. Trust me, this is the truth. Saddam not only killed many people, but tried to kill the souls of the rest of us. We are now coming back; Freedom is like air, and water. We need it to survive; the American’s have brought an abundance of it. I want to give thanks to the American people, thanks to everybody. You have given Iraq a chance to live and grow again.”

Reconstruction is evident and everywhere. It is a success story that we should all be proud of.»

It’s worth thinking about reports of this sort when all one hears is the endless characterization of every setback as an abject failure, and the lid put on any of the obvious progress.


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