Saturday, September 22, 2007

Little things - A soldier's story

By Libby

Obsidian Wings apparently has a fairly new blogger who is a soldier posting from inside Iraq. G'Kar puts up a moving post on the little things that put a more humanitarian face on the occupation.

He speaks of delivering flour to the poor villagers and of a factory built with US dollars that will eventually employ 50 locals. Now I'll admit, I've done my share of sneering about these tiny projects in comparison to the wholesale violence we're helping to perpetrate in the country, but hearing G'Kar's side of it reminds me of why it's important.
I don't expect that we will make any big differences in Iraq. The government doesn't appear to be interested in doing anything but preserve its power base, and I don't know if that will change even if the U.S. does decide to actually pull out, which seems implausible in any case. I can't make the Iraqi government work any better. I may not even be able to do much to make the Iraqi Army work any better. But I can try to help those Iraqis who want to make their country better succeed in their own small ways, and I can take advantage of my own position to directly aid Iraqis it is in my power to help. It doesn't sound like much. It probably isn't much. But few of us are destined to make a big difference in life; if I can make a little difference, that has to count for something.

Read the whole thing. It's a beautiful and clear-eyed post. It reminds me that if anything is to salvaged out of this debacle it will be because of men and women like G'Kar who reach out to help, not as occupiers, but as fellow human beings.

This is precisely the sort of operations we should focusing on instead of chasing down insurgents, however they're defined these days. One factory and couple of truck loads of flour won't erase the pain of the thousands of innocents who died, but for those 50 Iraqis who have a job now, and for those who saw the tanks come to deliver bread instead of bombs, it will at least leave a postive impression of individual Americans. That is important and I'm glad that at least some of our troops get an opportunity to build good will between our nations instead of being forced always to kill an ill-defined enemy that too often catches the innocent in the cross-fire.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]


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