In part one of "War Torn Lives", I talked about how war affects an American military family. This time around I'm going to show you how war affects those lives of the people in the war zone. I'll state it again, everything about the way we live and how we handle things, take it and throw it out the window. Because you're about to get a glimpse the lives of people from a different culture and mindset.
Half-way through my husband's tour in Iraq, the media and our government began to grow testy with the Iraqi people and their newly formed government. For several years Americans were demanding that our troops be removed from Iraq and our focus turned elsewhere. We were losing too many lives to insurgents and it looked as though we had lost the war, so why stay. Sorry, people, but we didn't lose and that's not how the Iraqi people felt.
Had we pulled out when the American media and the public demanded,
Iraqi would have faced the worst civil war it has ever experienced. Many
of us have never known a life of fear and persecution. For many Iraqi's they had known nothing but death, fear, persecution, and poverty. After England pulled out and left the country to itself, there have been power struggles of many kinds until Saddam Hussein took over, then real trepidation set in. Being from a minority Islamic party, Saddam made it known how much he hated anyone not Sunni.
Now imagine if you will, your country has been overrun by another, they've freed you from tyranny, but death and destruction still rains down on you. It would make any sane person angry. Oddly enough, when watching the news, I found that the reporters sought out the ones not happy with the American troops before they talked to the people who were rejoicing at our presence.
While he was there, my husband had a crash course in Iraqi customs. He imparted a lot of this on to us when he came home on leave and when he returned home permanently.
It takes nearly four to five visits with a sheik, or Iraqi male, before they allow you to sit down with them. After a few more visits, you can eat a meal lounging. They have the mentality that if Allah wills it, it is so. If someone is in a car accident, then Allah willed it, and if they die, same deal. Discussions take time with them. Don't count on solving the problem within the hour, or even the same day. They are a more liberal sect of Muslim, so you might not encounter the same strict regulations as if you were in Saudi Arabia.
During the summer of '07, the Iraqi government took off an entire month. (They still do this, by the way.) Our government howled! Sorry, but the majority of our politicians had never been in Iraq during the summer months and never experienced 140 degree weather in a building with no air conditioning, while wearing a three-piece suit. My husband's unit didn't even work during the day and they were allowed to wear PT uniforms instead of their full battle gear. Ladies, that's way too hot to be trapped inside debating government issues.
During his year in Iraq, my husband noticed and heard a change go through the people there. The minority steadily grew into the majority. Those who were indifferent to the American presence in their country were glad we stepped in. Many places had never had running water, electricity, schools, hospitals, or a stable life, however with the help of our Army engineers they now had all these things. Those who hated us, were slowly growing into a smaller group. And those who loved us, well, they managed to gather more to their group.
Last year, the over all commander of our troops took a huge leap with his troop surge. It paid off. People were now able to walk through their streets without fear of car bombs, suicide bombers, or snipers. Once dead streets are now filled with life. Buildings that were falling down on themselves because our guys couldn't get in to repair them because of insurgent fire, are now going up. The Iraqi people have realized
they can be in control of what goes on in their towns and country and have helped drive out the enemy.
It is so hard for us Americans to fathom the lives these people lived. We never see naked and starving children on a daily basis. We have never had to witness the destruction of a suicide bomber in a open market. But these people have known it, feared it, and lived through it. They are a hardy bunch who, despite their lack of belief in the One True God, are still God's children and have learned to adapt and overcome.
We could learn a lot from them. I'll tell you what, I bet they don't die from stress related illnesses. Oh, that we could be that laid back and enjoy the life God has given us.