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July 08, 2007
Changing Attitudes

Posted by Bill

A must-read from Micheal Yon:

I've seen this kind of progression in Mosul, out in Anbar and other places, and when I ask our military leaders if they have sensed any shift, many have said, yes, they too sense that Iraqis view us differently. In the context of sectarian and tribal strife, we are the tribe that people can - more or less and with giant caveats - rely on.

Most Iraqis I talk with acknowledge that if it was ever about the oil, it's not now. Not mostly anyway. It clearly would have been cheaper just to buy the oil or invade somewhere easier that has more. Similarly, most Iraqis seem now to realize that we really don't want to stay here, and that many of us can't wait to get back home. They realize that we are not resolved to stay, but are impatient but to drive down to Kuwait and sail away. And when they consider the Americans who actually deal with Iraqis every day, the Iraqis can no longer deny that we really do want them to succeed. But we want them to succeed without us. We want to see their streets are clean and safe, their grass is green, and their birds are singing. We want to see that on television. Not in person. We don't want to be here. We tell them that every day. It finally has settled in that we are telling the truth.

I can back up his observation with my own experience. In January I interviewed a "Fallujan civil servant" who had to remain anonymous because of security and legal concerns. One detail I can now comfortably add is that this man was a former insurgent with the 1920 Revolution Brigades. But now ...

He then said that he'd like to tell me two things, but warned me that one may anger Americans, and he hoped they didn't get upset.

Yusef: "Through my [experience as an enemy], the way I look at Americans, I look at them and feel like they are occupiers, occupying my country when the invasion happened. But when other parties showed up - especially the radicals and the Iranian militias, both who are not Iraqis - now I prefer the Americans. I've met [various Americans working for Fallujah]. It is my feeling that [they are] working hard, and (before I knew) you (Americans) I had a different image. Now that I know the Americans, I have a different impression. Now I deal honestly with them and feel they are really working for the benefit of my side."

"I think the Americans are more for Iraq than the Iraqis themselves."

While this ideological shift doesn't apply to all Iraqis by any means, better late than never.

But perhaps too late.

Posted by Bill at July 8, 2007 09:50 PM | TrackBack (0)

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