I, Andy Lee Graham lived in Iraq days in August-September of 2003, traveled to Dohuk, Arbil, Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Mosul, Baghdad, Babylon, Basrah.
I read in a morning missive from CNN the American troops crossed the border into Kuwait today December 18, 2011. The second war in Iraq has officially ended, whatever that means.
I crossed over the Turkey - Iraq border in August of 2003:
Enter from Silopi, Turkey to Dohuk
Visited: Dohuk, Arbil, Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Mosul, Bagdad, and Basra, and went left by the Silopi Turkey border.
My mission in Iraq: To check out what the USA government was doing in my name as a citizen of the USA. To witness what really was happening in Iraq without the spin of the journalist.
Photos of importance: Mass Grave Photos north of Babylon
(--- Iraq Tank along the road between Mosul and Baghdad, if you enjoy tanks, stand next to an American Tank as it starts up, it is an amazing experience.)
6000 Blog Post Later - I have written over 6000 times
This Blog was started in many ways to document my trip into Iraq, a daily diary into a country that was dangerous could be educational to readers. While writing about a normal travel travelogue is mostly entertaining
My Opinions on Iraq End of War - Andy Lee Graham December 18, 2011
I was 18 years old when the Vietnam War ended, I received a draft card, but never went into the service.
My opinions of the Vietnam war at age 18 were of an idiot, a gentleman would have kept his mouth shut, or learned first why he was complaining.
(This is a pair of shoes in sitting on the grave of an Iraq person. The American Soldiers dug up 2700 bodies from a mass grave of Sadaam. They reburied all the bodies, but placed all the clothing on top of the grave with hope that the family could come and claim the remains.)
Mass Grave Photos north of Babylon
The Generation of Children in the USA, the end of Chivalry
From about 1964 until present was whatever is the opposite of the "Greatest Generation." We are living in a time of history where behaving as children is celebrated and people like me who tried to witness the war are considered naive and uninformed.
Therefore, I cringe when discussing the Iraq War, I know the conversation has a 99 percent chance of being a discussion with an angry child, one who would refuse to read or thoroughly research the topic. These readers, or people I can meet and discuss the war with "know already," and even though I have proven feet on the ground experience, are arrogant to contradict me.
This is not the behavior of a Gentleman, I am not sure what to say, or how to explain this war, the damage done by the war was not on the battlefield. It was to the minds, hearts, and souls of the USA people. I am proud of the USA, I am proud to a USA citizen, it by far is one of the best countries on the planet. And even though I have visited 90 countries, and lived perpetually traveling for 13 almost 14 years, my opinion is considered of no value by the people of the USA who already know, who have contempt before consideration.
Am I happy the Iraq war is over?
Germany caused the death of some 55 million people in WWII, and we need to keep an eye on them. Therefore we have troop in Germany, we have troops in Japan, there are American soldier posted all over the world to protect the world from itself. And, it feels as if the we are leaving Iraq for some political reasons, and probably because it is not a popular place to live by Christians. Therefore no, the will and force of the USA needs to be in Iraq as a police force, there needs to be a clear and present danger obvious to the government of Iraq. But, we the USA probably does not have the will, therefore maybe better to leave.
Notes: My Opinions on Iraq War
1. We liberated the country from Saddam, everyone I met in the country had one to two people missing from his family.
2. Saddam will be considered a mass murderer, the same as the German Hitler or Pol Pot in Cambodia. There will be tour of his genocide. I personally seen a grave of 2700 Islamic men who Saddam killed and buried.
3. It was not a war, it was a Police Action, 6500 brave soldiers died in Iraq as volunteers to go fight. It was a victory, the victory has spread to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Egypt and many other Islamic countries. This war is a war between Islam and Christians, and of course money, but all wars are rooted in money and territory. George W. Bush did the right thing, except there is no reason to put soldier into a country, we should have bombed the country until they surrendered, the goal of war is to kill the other side, not to rebuild.
4. Military Corruption is out of control, the people, the average citizen dreams of getting a contract with the USA government. The people, the citizens of my country, the USA normal people want to be clever and fleece the government out of billions, trillions of dollars. People take pride in being clever, not in being noble or honest, this is the tragedy of the war, a corruption of the soul of the average person that now believes in clever, over honesty.
5. Journalist from the USA lied 85 percent of the time about the war, I personally witnessed false report, outrageous lies put on by CNN and BBC. The major news organizations report what is profitable because it is controversial, it is seldom even close to the truth. I watch CNN or BBC now to see the headlines, and recommend that any sensible, savvy person to stop watching.
I am Travel Blogger, I have seen to much of the planet now, I will never fit into the normal world again. I accept my fate, I know my opinions and understanding have strayed to far from normal media propagated concepts. Therefore, less than 1 in 100 people will agree with my opinions.
I do not care, this is my life, my opinions have never been for sale, and they never will. Note, Travel Writers are normally worst liars than the War Journalist, so do not think I am in a better arena.
War is normal, one government occupying another must happen, it is an inevitable part of history. I am grateful the numbers of soldiers dying has greatly decreased. Maybe there was 58,000 soldier killed in the Vietnam War, and now about 6500 killed in Iraq. The number of times 6500 men were killed in battle in the history of the world is countless.
Ruthless Opinions of Andy Graham
What I just said above about the police action was not denigrate the soldiers, or minimize their victory. I am proud they are willing to sacrifice their live in my stead, for me, they died so that my family can be safe.
However, I celebrate the idea of being a man, a person who say what they believe with ruthless clarity.
I dream that the USA people, the elected officials, the common person in the USA to "Man Up," and talk about reality, not what they want. The soldiers, the heroes who manned up and died in the war, should not need to listen to complaining soldiers who did not man up, who lie while in their graves.
The job of soldier, the job of the President of the USA, the job of the politicians in Washington is to what is correct, best, regardless of their safety. To make the hard decisions that mothers at home cannot understand, and go do them. To celebrate people of ruthless and brutal honesty, this is the America I am proud of, and the damages of both the Iraq, Vietnam, and Afghanistan war is the death of honest opinions.
I did my best to explain today, I try my best to "Man Up," while in a popularity contest that I hope to lose. I know most popular opinions are lies...
This is a photo of my signature at the Mass Grave in Iraq. It was a horrible feeling, I was crying, weak, not sure how to feel. 2700 bodies were under the ground, all killed by a selfish man will, a person who believed he had the right to enslave a country to his will. Hitler made the people of Germany feel important, Sadaam made the Islamic people feel important. I suppose our need to feel important is our biggest human failing. We can be manipulated, maneuvered and managed by people when we have an image that we are important.
I have a dream of a time when people who do the right thing are again celebrated on earth. where honesty is championed, and good men kill without remorse men like Sadaam Hussein, Hitler and anyone who celebrated their person status at the expense of honesty, truth, I hope the American dream returns, and this nightmare ends. Sadly, I know that is impossible, the truth was the casualty of the Iraq war, it will never be felt again by the American people or the world.
war is never going to change anything. sure we rid iraq of something horrible that was happening but it was only through slaughter that this was achieved. If we can be the ones not to go to arms and be the ones to get to a peaceful solution,the world may be better. We live in a violent culture that our wars perpetuate. Can we ever stop killing people?
The USA in my opinion is a very peaceful place, I remember meeting people in Iraq. The people would hold out the palm of their hand. They would draw a Christian Cross on their hand with their index finger, then point a me, asking,
"Are you Christian."
I would would hold out my hand to shake hands, then say,
"My name is Andy Graham, and yes, I am Christian."
I felt bad to think, this culture defined sides before they became friends. While in Arbil, a couple of Turkiaman or something killed two Assyrians or somethng in Kirkuk, I asked why? The answer,
"We do not like them."
If you venture to think the USA is violent, that is nothing compared to the rest of the planet. The press in the USA wants to make the USA look bad, they receive more money and viewers by attacking a lesser problem, then attacking the real problems. People enter all situations with pre-conceived ideas and opinions. But to me, the news is what is new, it should be 99 percent facts and stop the commentary. And when they comment, then qualify by saying it is opinion.
No, killing is natural in my opinion, but celebrate the Iraq war only killed 6500 USA soldiers and mabye five times that of Iraq. This is incredible progress in the reduction of death caused by war.
I do not believe there will be WW III or other, we will just have continuous police actions, the media will catastrophize everything.
Read the book by Michael Crichton called "State of Fear." The world is actually 10 times safer than it was 13 years ago when I stated traveling.
If you would write a 8 chapter book about your experiences such as this blogg today people would find it very interesting and totally astounding to some that you could do this on your own with no financial backing other than yourself. A best seller. This is what people want to hear. They do not have the courage themselves but can live it through your eyes.
umm, The "War" in Iraq is not over, not over by any means.
The Americans leaving means the war has just begun.
True, they did achieve the ousting of Saddam Hussein, but they went in on a lie.
A lie that will resound through both Iraqi and american and british homes forever.
There is no victory to the affairs in Iraq.
But America invading Iraq did not start the ball rolling on freedoms for the rest of the Arab world.
No, this was the sole responsibility of a Tunisian Market stall holder who decided to set himself alight as a protest against the authorities.
The war is just beginning.
In travel you have two types of traveller - the backpacker and the Package tourist.
The American american approach to war is the package tourist of war.
The backpackers of war have been there long before the package tourists arrive!
The USA is the best country in the world, but I just can't see why we needed to attack Iraq. As far as I can tell, Iraq was not a clear and present danger to the US. Saddam served a useful strategic purpose of counter-balancing Iran. Saddam killed 10's of thousands Iraqi's but the war killed many times more. Baghdad, 9 years later, still only has electric power 5 hours per day on good days. There are many bad dictators in the world. How many more can we afford to depose at a trillion dollars a pop before we go completely broke?
I believe Saddam could have started a nuclear war with Israel. If Saddam would have attacked or lead an attack of all the Islamic countries against Israel, then Israel would have needed to use nuclear bomb to clean house. That was the real danger, it was not to the USA, but to stop Israel.
Interesting theory about Saddam, Andy, and it has a lot of weight.
But the problem which the world has now is that USA have a history of only assisting in non nuclear countries.
I can understand that.
However, this has created a situation where countries who aspire to have nuclear capabilities, have been given even more reason to acquire them.
They see that the USA will only "attack" non nuclear countries.
To protect themselves from possible intervention from the US, they acquire nuclear weapons.
My problem in all of this is the justification.
Sure, USA, UK, Israel, China, Russia, India, South Africa, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Greece, Turkey, Europe, and even Pakistan and even North Korea have all proved themselves more or less responsible with this power. (note the more or less).
Who is to say that Iran, Egypt and others would not be as responsible?
But then, who wants to find out?
Very true Andy, that is the real reason. However, 40 years ago we were the biggest creditor nation in the world. Today we are the biggest debtor nation. We are simply running out of the money necessary to play policeman for much longer.
Paying to rebuild Iraq, a country that is insanely rich in oil is a form of corruption by the USA military and the government. And again, I believe we should have send in hit squad special forces to kill Saddam, and only drop bombs. There is no reason to occupy a country in this manner.
I am not worried about the USA running out of money, when the USA is broke, the rest of the planet will be devastated. We have a lot of natural resources, lots of food, and in the end, the country with the most food wins. Africa is rich in food, they have the natural resource curse, it stops development.
China is not going to attack us, we owe them money.