Some of you may already know that I was one of several bloggers given the chance to guest blog at the incomparable Jules Crittenden's site this week. My first substantial entry is cross posted below.
From a Michael Totten report:
"When you came and liberated this country,” he continued, “Iraq had 25 million Saddams. America is turning us back into human beings.
The quote makes me think, in rabbit-trail fashion, of an evening I enjoyed with a few Iraqi Army soldiers a few months ago. All three were officers- drawn from two different divisions to train new Iraqi soldiers to fight. I went up to Ali while he was smoking and said hello. He introduced himself, and invited me to join him and his friends for a movie. Partway through Apocalypto, he looked up from the scene of mass murder and brutality and exclaimed "See! It is like Saddam!"
Ali and one of the others laughed. The third soldier scowled, then laughed when Ali punched him in the arm. That was when I got introduced to the rest of the group. The other laughing soldier was Sayeed, the scowler, Saddam. Saddam was from Tikrit, and quite likely a relative of the "Big Saddam", although I didn't ask. His name is prominent among Sunnis- Saddam was a hero for a lot of years, after all. We talked for a while after the movie; Sayeed had been in the Iraqi Army for quite some time, Ali for a while as well. Saddam had joined more recently- he wanted to help Iraq become what it had been once. He told me that he wanted to try to help change Iraqis minds about Americans and the Iraqi Government, and give them something to do other than fight with each other.
When tribes stop fighting Americans and each other, when the citizens of two of the most strife-ridden cities in Iraq start to contemplate tomorrow, when a man from Tikrit named Saddam steps up to help Iraq...
That's when I start to feel just a little bit of hope for this place.