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2.01.2005

A view from Baghdad

This email was received by an acquaintance of mine and I felt that it serves as a excellent example of what our men, and women, in uniform are thinking and feeling. This is from a service person currently serving in Iraq.
Howdy from Baghdad! What an incredible weekend. Here's what I have heard and encountered:

- As you probably saw on the news, people have been dancing in the streets! They are very excited about voting for the first time in their history and having a chance at a better destiny.
- The guy doing the chicken head dance on the street is my new hero! We need to digitize his dance and put it to music.
- Blue thumbs are a badge of honor here. People show it off like the medal of honor (and it is). They say they have never been happier! Iraqis who voted were hugging each other in the chow hall; engineers, interpreters, cleaning crews were all thrilled.
- You heard of course of the old guy (60 or 70 yrs old) who lost a leg thanks to an insurgent bomb in Oct 04. He traveled 17 miles on crutches to go vote.
- An 80 year old woman told her son to carry her in a wheel barrow several miles to a voting booth so she could vote.
- Some men went to vote early in the day to make sure it was safe, then went back for their wives and families to make sure their wives had a chance to vote.
- Women had an incredible turn out; for the first time in their history, they had a real personal say in their nation's future. This is almost unheard of in this region.
- When suicide bombers struck some polls during the vote, uninjured people got back in line immediately and continued to vote.
- When a guy tried to blow up his car, the button to the bomb failed; others caught on, dragged him out, beat the crap out of him w/ their sandals, and had him arrested. I wonder what was worse for him - bomb not going off or getting smacked around w/ sandals.
- The Iraqi army took hits but they protected their people. Two Iraqi police officers immediately went after a guy who looked suspicious. They did not let him into the polling area and challenged him outside of the main cordon. He pressed the button and killed himself and the two Iraqi police officers. No one else was hurt.
- An Iraqi Army Col heard a voting poll was going to be attacked by insurgents hiding in a safehouse. He already had all polls protected by his soldiers (aiding the local police force) and was down to his personal security detachment of 10. He personally led them to the safehouse, attacked about 30 insurgents, and arrested the survivors. The day was saved.
- When attacked by insurgents, an Iraqi soldier held his ground between the voters in line and the insurgents. They fired at him, he fired back. They threw a grenade at the crowd and ran away. The Sgt threw himself on the grenade to protect the people. He died, no one else was hurt. They continued to vote.

Without great sacrifice, there can be no freedom.

Well said.

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