Cigars in the Sand

Commentary, Notes and Pictures from my time in Iraq

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Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Farmer by genetics, Lawyer by training, currently "vacationing" in Iraq and advising the Iraqi government on border security issues. Before moving to Baghdad, I served in the White House as Deputy Counsel for the Homeland Security Council. I can be reached at opusxryanathotmaildotcom.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

I Should Have Stayed Home

Not me! That's the name of the blog of a few very close friends of mine that I've mentioned before. Here's a recent post:

"Every time we lock ourselves behind the concrete walls of the green zone, or push aside civilian traffic as we rush through the streets in armored cars, we distance ourselves from the Iraqi people and harm our long term goals. If it was up to me, the State Department guys would travel in regular cars and there wouldn't be a Green Zone. And yeah, more of our guys would be killed. That's not a cold-hearted statement, as BC and I would be just a much at risk as anyone else, and trust me we've seen plenty of guys go home medevac or bodybag. But in the long term, we'd be closer to the Iraqis, which would mean we'd be doing better. We seem to have forgotten that death is part of war. The insurgents know it, and that's why several thousand ill-trained terrorists are holding a country and 150,000 coalition forces virtual hostages. If you're not willing to do everything you can to win a war, you shouldn't start it to begin with.

Which leads me to my biggest pet hate. Because of all our force protection moves, what we end up doing is 'putting the Iraqis out front.' Now yes, I know it's their country, and of course they should be out front. But Iraqi police and soldiers are dying at twice the rate of US forces- and we're creating new paramilitaries left and right - good, effective units, but hardly a harbinger for democracy - because we came without sufficient commitment to risk our lives for a cause that (I believe) is right."

I agree. I am much more sympathetic to "force protection" than TJ, but I also think our current seige mentality is hurting us. We need more interaction, not less.