Open Letter from a Soldier in Iraq - U2 Feedback

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Old 09-25-2003, 02:40 PM   #1
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Open Letter from a Soldier in Iraq

Got this in an e-mail today...what do you all think?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

REAL News from Iraq
Subject: OPEN LETTER TO FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH OF RICHMOND BEACH.

It has been a while since I have written to my friends at First Lutheran Church about what's really going on here in Iraq. The news you watch on TV is exaggerated, sensationalized and selective. Good news doesn't sell well.

The stuff you don't hear about? Let's start with Electrical Power production in Iraq. The day after the war was declared over, there was nearly 0 power being generated in Iraq. 45 days later, in a partnership between the Army, the Iraqi people and some private companies, there are now 3200 megawatts (Mw) of power being produced daily, 1/3 of the total national potential of 8000 Mw. Downed power lines ((big stuff, 400 Kilovolt (Kv) and 132 (Kv)) are being repaired and are about 70% complete.

Then there is water purification. In central Iraq between Baghdad and Mosul, home of the 4th Infantry Division, Water treatment was spotty at best. The facilities existed, but the controls were never implemented. Simple chemicals like Chlorine for purification and Alum (Aluminum Sulfate) for sediment settling (The Tigris River is about as clear as the Mississippi River) were in short supply or not used at all and when chlorine was used, it was metered by the scientific method of guessing. So some people got pool water and some people got water with lots of little things moving in it.

We are slowly but surely solving that. Contracts for repairs to facilities that are only 50% or less operational are being let, chemicals are being delivered, although we don't have the metering problem solved yet (It's only been 45 days).

How about oil and fuel? Well the war was all about oil wasn't it? You bet it was. It was all about oil for the Iraqi people because they have no other income, they produce nothing else. Oil is 95% of the Iraqi GNP. For this nation to survive, it must sell oil. The Refinery at Bayji is at 75% of capacity producing gasoline. The crude pipeline between Kirkuk (Oil Central) and Bayji will be repaired by tomorrow (2 June).

LPG, what all Iraqis use to cook and heat with, is at 103% of normal production and we, the US ARMY, at least 4th ID, are insuring it is being distributed fairly to all Iraqis.

You have to remember that 3 months ago, all these things were used as weapons against the population to keep them in line. If a town misbehaved, gasoline shipments, LPG pipelines and trucks stopped, water was turned off, power was turned off.

Now, until exports start, every drop of gasoline produced goes to the Iraqi people, crude oil is being stored, the country is at 75% capacity now, they need to export or stop pumping soon, thank the UN for the delay.

All LPG goes to the Iraqi people everywhere. Water is being purified as best they can, but at least it's running all the time to everyone.

Are we still getting shot at? Yep. Are American Soldiers still dying? Yep, about 1 a day from the 4th ID, most in accidents, but dead is dead. If we are doing all this for the Iraqis, why are they shooting at us? The general population isn't. There are still bad guys, who won't let go of the old regime. They are Ba'ath party members (Read Nazi Party, but not as nice) who know nothing but the regime. They were thugs for the regime that caused many to disappear in the night and they have no other skills. At least the Nazis had jobs they could go back to after the war as plumbers, managers, engineers, etc...these people have no skills but terror. They are simply applying their skills....and we are applying ours.

There is no Christian way to say they must be eliminated and we are doing so with all the efficiency we can muster. Our troops are shot at literally every day by small arms and RPGs. We respond and 100% of the time, the Ba'ath party guys come out with the short end of the stick. The most amazing thing to me is that they don't realize that if they stopped shooting at us, we would focus on fixing things and leave. The more they shoot at us, the longer we will stay.

Lastly, realize that 90% the damage you see on TV was caused by Iraqis, not the war. Sure we took out a few bridges from military necessity, we took out a few power and phone lines to disrupt communications, sure we drilled a few palaces and government headquarters buildings with 2000 lb laser guided bombs (I work 100 yards from where two hit the Tikrit Palace); he had plenty of palaces to spare. But, any damage you see to schools, hospitals, power generation facilities, refineries, pipelines, was all caused either by the Iraqi Army in its death throes or Iraqi civilians looting the places. Could the army have prevented it? Nope. We can and do now, but 45 days ago the average soldier was lucky to know what town he was in much less know who owned what or have the power to stop 1,000 people from looting a building by himself.

The United States and Great Britain are doing a very noble thing here. We stuck our necks out on the world chopping block to free a people.

I've already talked the weapons of mass destruction thing to death, bottom line, who cares, this country was one big conventional weapons ammo dump anyway. We have probably destroyed more weapons and ammo in the last 30 days than the US Army has ever fired in the last 30 years (Remember, this is a country the size of Texas.), so drop the WMD argument as the reason we came here; if we find it great, if we don't, so what?

I'm living in a "guest palace" on a 500-acre compound with 20 palaces, with like facilities, built in half a dozen towns all over Iraq that were built for that one man. Drive down the street and out into the countryside 5 miles away (I have) and see a family of 10 living in a mud hut herding two dozen sheep. Then tell me why you think we are here.

Respectfully,
ERIC RYDBOM MAJOR, ENGINEER, 0 Deputy Division Engineer
4th Infantry Division
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Old 09-25-2003, 04:35 PM   #2
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If it is indeed a legit letter....it is quite interesting.
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Old 09-25-2003, 05:09 PM   #3
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Based on what my friends have been telling me, its certainly legit.
What reason would you have to question its legitamicy? I hope every here at FYM takes a look.
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Old 09-25-2003, 05:14 PM   #4
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I am not saying it isn't legit. I have little faith in circulated emailss.
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Old 09-25-2003, 05:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
What reason would you have to question its legitamicy?
Everything in this forum should be questioned. Especially a letter written by someone you don't know. Just because this paticular letter falls into your idealogy doesn't make it automatically 100% legit.
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Old 09-25-2003, 05:33 PM   #6
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I'd like to know more about the writer. You can't believe everything you read on the Internet. But it's a very interesting letter, and yes, I read the whole thing.
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Old 09-25-2003, 05:48 PM   #7
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BonoVoxSupastar,

"Everything in this forum should be questioned."

Unfortunately that typically does not happen in this forum. Anything Bush or the administration says, in this forum is constantly scrutinized and attacked, while most of the voices that question administration policy, allege bad things, go almost unquestioned and recieve far less scrutiny.
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Old 09-25-2003, 06:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
BonoVoxSupastar,

"Everything in this forum should be questioned."

Unfortunately that typically does not happen in this forum. Anything Bush or the administration says, in this forum is constantly scrutinized and attacked, while most of the voices that question administration policy, allege bad things, go almost unquestioned and recieve far less scrutiny.
Well while we're making blanket statements don't you think one can say that those who support Bush are sheep heading for the slaughter that don't question a thing he does.

There have been articles, bits of information, etc. that have been posted that have been found to be wrong. But I think for the most part everyone tries to do a good job checking and questioning the legitamacy of each item posted. Yes this forum is not the most balanced when it comes to certain policies, but it doesn't mean they go unquestioned.
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Old 09-25-2003, 06:30 PM   #9
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BonoVoxSupastar,

"Well while we're making blanket statements don't you think one can say that those who support Bush are sheep heading for the slaughter that don't question a thing he does."

There are probably about 5 people here that post often that support Bush, there are at least 50 who do not. I for one have stated many times that I disagree with Bush's position on Affirimative Action, Gun Control, and Certain tax cuts. I have supported Bush's Foreign Policy because I think its the right one. Since 9/11 I feel he has hit the nail on the head on most things in that area and I'm not about to question an administration doing policies I already believed in and advocated, provided that do it correctly.

"There have been articles, bits of information, etc. that have been posted that have been found to be wrong. But I think for the most part everyone tries to do a good job checking and questioning the legitamacy of each item posted."

I have read multiple threads in this forum where there was not one person challenging the article. A Dozen are so would post and no one would question or debate, simply they would talk all about how it was so and make other crude irrelevent remarks about Bush and his advisers.

"Yes this forum is not the most balanced when it comes to certain policies, but it doesn't mean they go unquestioned."

I have seen multiple threads that went unquestioned. If Nbcrusader, Dreadsox, and a couple of other people were not posting here the number of threads where there was no questioning or even a real debate would probably triple.

But thats the nature of this place and its always been like this. I really do not mind. I'm just pointing out that there is a double standard here when it comes to questioning things. Thats primarily because the general political/opinion here is anti-Bush and thats ok. I'd actually be surprised if it was not that way.
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Old 09-25-2003, 06:33 PM   #10
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Sting, this place would be boring as hell without you, Dread, nbcrusader, and other thoughtful conservatives who help me think about my positions and why the hell I have them in the first place.
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Old 09-25-2003, 06:44 PM   #11
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Thanks Verte76
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Old 09-25-2003, 06:52 PM   #12
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The letter does deserve questioning, and, aside from questions of legitimacy, there are also questions of perspective and bias. I'm certainly not saying that, for instance, Americans would purposely bomb civilian targets, but "smart bombs," for instance, "only" miss 33% of the time. If that was the case, then, our letter writer would certainly only be passing along what he was told.

But, at the same time, I wouldn't put it past the former Iraqi regime to have destroyed its own buildings as well.

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Old 09-25-2003, 06:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
BonoVoxSupastar,
I have seen multiple threads that went unquestioned. If Nbcrusader, Dreadsox, and a couple of other people were not posting here the number of threads where there was no questioning or even a real debate would probably triple.

If it wasn't for the above said people and a few others we would have far less discussions about this administration true. For what would be the reason to have threads where everyone agreed, it would be boring. We would have to stick more to issues of abortion, gun control and such. But we do have you all and that's what makes this place worth coming to, the debate. It's unfortunate that it's not more balanced, but the majority of U2 fans would probably lean left. But with all that being said how do you know they go unquestioned. When I see something posted, especially when it seems a bit extreme I research to make sure I don't post on an article that's not true. If I don't find anything proving it false, I'll post but still never assume it's 100% fact. So you really don't know what goes on the other side of the monitor. I'm sure I'm not alone in going about things this way. We're all here to question each other, that's why it's called Free Your Mind. Yes sometimes there's closed minds, preaching, what not, but for the most part I think we're all pretty good about making it a fair debate regardless of the unbalanced sides.

Sorry for the hijacking, back to the letter...
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Old 09-25-2003, 07:31 PM   #14
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Melon,

If 1 out of 3 Smart Bombs missed their targets, potentially hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's would be dead. My best friend who is a Cobra Helicopter Pilot with the US Marine Corp has flown over Baghdad several times observing the city and the damage done and has not seen any damage done to residential area's or non-governmental non-military targets. The imprint US smart bombs, 1,000 and 2,000 pounds leave is unmistakeable from the air.

Other friends who were combat engineers raved about the precision of the bombing strikes in the area's that they passed. These were area's where the former Republican Guard Armored Division the "Baghdad Division" was stationed to the southeast of Baghdad in defense of the city. It was one of the most heavily bombed area's but my friends have reported that there was virtually no damage to civilian area's and villiages.
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Old 09-25-2003, 09:05 PM   #15
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I just want to thank people for the kind words.

There are days when I find myself in here arguing points that I do not believe in. I do it mor often than not because I learn more taking opposite sides on things. I alsoo finnd I do it in my classroom.

FYI if I disappear, it is because my computer died. IT is really malfunctioning lately. Double letters, ect.

The letter may very well be true. I will search aroundd. Much like the letter that was postedd in hhere attribbuted to an author, this may well come up false. I just have a problem with inteernet circulated info, and Deep caught something bogus I once posted from a wweb page that was bogus. Very embarrasing.

Peace
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