Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"The day we found the mass grave is vivid to me still ..."

"The day we found the mass grave is vivid to me still. We found it up near the Iranian boarder. Very quickly people came from miles and miles away. We stood and watched the family members digging up bones and clutching remains as they sat in the dirt, rocked back and forth and cried. They were adamant that we should come over and look as they dug them up. Every single body had its hands and feet wired together with ROMEX. Each skull had a bullet hole in it except for a few that were smashed with a club or rifle butt. There were clearly men but also women and children. The grave never made the news as there were no media with us and it was small by Iraq standards. One detail that I found particularly outrageous was that the assassins left the identifications on the bodies as if they were so arrogant that it never occurred that someday, someone would dig up the bodies and hold them accountable. I will never forget it.

That memory is vivid and relevant to me today as I feel like I was blessed to have been there and see it personally. To the people that cry that we should leave Iraq because we came here for the wrong reasons I would say "I don't care." Honestly, if I found out tomorrow that everyone in government knowingly lied and brought us here because Iraq grows the best sunflower seeds in the world it would not matter to me. We liberated a people from a regime that will go down in history as one of the most brutal ever. That would be enough.

However, we are now in a life and death struggle with an enemy who wants nothing more for us to leave so that they can bring their own brand of terror to the same people...And you know what? It is working. People are coming to us and talking to us even in the face of Abu Garayb and in the real threat of their own death.

Inside this country right now, there are extremists who have set up courts where in one room, they try Iraqis and in the next they kill them minutes later. Not fantasy - reality. Again, the death sentence? Accepting payment for damage we have done in fighting or in an accident. Taking a job working on a coalition base. Having a brother who has done his job in the police or ICDC.

Are people so naive as to think that if we left, things would get better? The country would implode and thousands of people would be killed. When the dust settled, a more dangerous Iraq would emerge and we would be even more hated throughout the world. It is that simple. We came here to help these people and at the same time to make the world a safer place for free people everywhere. If we leave too early, the people will suffer horribly and the world will have taken one giant step backward. Maybe we are slow on the uptake but it is pretty clear here what the right thing to do is and it is not to abandon the people to the terrorists."

Greenside: Mass Graves