This entry was posted on
Tuesday, January 10th, 2006 at
11:35 am and is filed
under It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!.
Immediately following last night’s docu-drama, Iraq: Why We Went To War, More 4 screened an edition of Unreported World entitled; Iraq: On the Front Line, where reporter Peter Oborne accompanied a patrol under the command of Major Joe Lazzari.
Joe had this to say to the elders of a village suspected of harbouring insurgents:
“You need to take responsibility. If you have ideas or problems, you must bring them to the council. If you don’t like the council, then you should run for the council. If you don’t trust them, then the next time you have elections, you can vote for new representatives. That’s how democracy works.”
No, Joe; that’s how democracy works in theory…. but let’s move on the the next village, where Major Joe Lazzari was informed by an elder there that – even if he did have cause to report suspected insurgent activity – he would be unable to do so because the mobile (i.e. only) phone system was so hopeless.
Joe offered him the following advice:
“In America, we pay for the telephone service. We have choices for our telephone systems, so that puts you – as a consumer – in charge. That’s what you have to get to is capitalism, (it) gives you choices. I don’t like my telephone company; I switch!”
Ah, yes… choice. It’s a fine thing, indeed.
BTW, I Googled Joe and just managed to catch a letter from him to the folks at home (Google cache), as passed on to the Williams Grove Speedway Forums on Tuesday August 16, 2005 by ‘Chip’, who says: Attached is the latest letter from Iraq, from Marci’s cousin, Maj. Joe Lazzari. Sometimes, his letters are NOT for distribution, and he will tell us so. In those cases, they do not go beyond the intended recipient. He’s a West Pointer, and knows very well what can (and cannot) be told to the general public. So, his e-mails never contain “sensitive” info.
1. Well, what do you know? Joseph Paul Lazzari *is* one of America’s ‘best and brightest’ (West Point – Class of 1992).
2. As this letter is intended for distribution, and the bulk of its content is clearly aimed at us misguided liberals, I’ve taken the liberty of archiving it here at Bloggerheads. Enjoy.
UPDATE – Two relevant links for you:
Senate GOP plans Iraq PR blitz
New U.S. Army PR Bypasses MSM – miltary blogs to distribute ‘good news’ about Iraq
Family and Friends,I continue to learn so much everyday and while this is truly a challenge for me and my family; I believe this will be a life changing event.If you want more information about what my unit is doing, you can Google “Operation Sunrise” (We are TF 1-10 FA. We are a part of 3rd BDE, 3rd ID. We are in Ba’Qubah; which is in the province of Diyala – to help your search).Salutations from the war. My guess is that the American people have been reminded (unfortunately) that this is war. The month of July and early August have been brutal (in the context of my experiences here), especially for the US Marines. Attacks in our area are up, but the injuries have been minimal – Thank God.The election/referendum cycle is in full swing. Right now, we are in the registration phase (the month of Aug), while the leaders in Baghdad put the final touches on the Constitution (due out on 15 Aug). I’m amazed that in two years the Iraqi people have gone from “never having democracy” to the drafting of a Constitution. The sad part is that the average Iraqi person does not really understand what is going on. My take is there is a lack of communication and perspective on nationalism:Many Iraqis can’t read or don’t have electricity. So newspapers fall short of informing the people. Many have TVs, but no electricity (or only for a few hours a day – so they cook or pump water instead of watching TV). They are tied to their neighborhoods, instead of the city or the Province or even Iraq (similar to the US in 1775 – you heard people refer to themselves as Bostonians or maybe a Virginian, but never an American). When an Iraqi tells me that “there were foreigners in his neighborhood”, he’s talking about someone from 2 miles away, not necessarily a Syrian.Because the country of Iraq was created by the British after WWI (they took 3 Ottoman areas and combined them into Iraq) and then the Coup of 1958 put the Ba’ath’s in power, almost no one in this country remembers self rule. Baghdad continues to be the central power (they determine bank rates, distribute food rations, determine budget allocations for the Provinces, etc.) and the people don’t know what authority they have and don’t have. So they assume that Baghdad has the “answer”.So they are “stuck”. They want freedom, but are used to “Daddy Baghdad” taking care of them (even though Saddam was cruel, he was responsible for “providing”). They hate Saddam, but they still need TLC from Baghdad. Like sending the 18 year old to College. He wants the freedom, but inevitably after a month he needs mom to wash his clothes or send more money. We are truly in a transition period. The Coalition is giving more and more responsibility to the Iraqis (especially the Police and Army). We are really “hands off” when it comes to their Gov’t. We are in the back of the room and “behind closed doors” – advising, but not making decisions. My Task Force works with the Mayor of Ba’Qubah a lot.Personally, I’ve been working on the “gap”. I call the “gap” the area between the neighborhood leadership (called Muqtars) and the elected leadership. I want to fill the communication gap, develop cross talk between the neighborhoods, and create a link between the people and their elected leadership. Not an easy task, but there is a real chasm that needs attention. So a lot of my time has been spent convincing my US leadership that this is a legitimate mission and finding “civic leaders” within the community to “step up” – that will continue for some time. (For Mom – this means less time on the streets and more time in buildings for meetings). (For Joseph – this means less pictures of arrested bad guys).I’m excited for school to start. I got here right after schools let out so I haven’t had a chance to spend much time in the schools with the kids. They are the saving grace for me; especially the younger ones. Pretty little girls with smiles that go from ear to ear (like Katy’s). They have really big eyes and I can’t help but think how lucky I am to be a father in America; not having to worry about all the challenges these people have. The boys are just like our children, too. They dance in the street, wrestle, and love to play with sticks. (At times, I can imagine them at the playground in Emerson) I wish I could bring them all home. I’m not smart enough to figure out when they become terrorists or how it happens. It’s not in the K-12 school system, because they only go to school for 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. There’s just not enough time to develop the hatred that we see.There’s tremendous progress everyday. This is a critical time for Iraq and the Middle East (especially when you factor in the events in Israel right now). Please keep the Coalition soldiers and Middle Eastern leaders in your prayers. We all have a historic mission that we will tell our children and grand children about it in the near future. History books will tell the story of “Baby Boomers and Gen Xers” changing the Middle East and the World – I am sure. I would never compare our efforts to that of the Greatest Generation (WWII), or the Civil War, or the War of Independence, but this is clearly an opportunity for historic change that may only be appreciated in 10 – 20 years (being on the ground is a true honor for me). I’m sure that MAJ’s in Germany in the late 40’s and early 50’s had no concept of their contribution to World history, but now recognize in their “later years” how important those times were. So put the CNN reports in perspective. Understand that ALL OF OUR sacrifices today will mean a safer tomorrow (for the U.S. and the World). Yes, the monetary commitment is high. Yes, one dead or injured soldier is too many. But the future of our nation and the world requires commitment and sacrifice. John Hancock (and other great men and woman) understood this in the 1770’s when he chose to keep his name on the Declaration of Indepdence (by doing so, he sentenced his two sons to death at the hands of the King – Google him to get the details). Fortunately, we are not forced to make such difficult decisions. I drink chi (tea) and eat with former soldiers of the Iraq/Iran War and Dessert Storm wars who tell amazing stories of the Iraq left behind by the rest of the world. They are grateful for the US, even though they lost their sons and limbs to us on the battlefield. They know what their sacrifice means to the rest of their family and the future of their fledgling democracy.Just in for you Liberals (we love you, but we love to say “told you so”) – we just caught an Al Queda (sp?) leader in Ba’Qubah. We just saw an Al Queda version of an Iraq Constitution that they are distributing in Ba’Qubah. We have information that Iranians are in Ba’Qubah, trying to subvert the elections. A large % of the terrorists we catch/kill are not Iraqi. Say it with me, “The US’s involvement in GWOT continues to be a success and Iraq is the center of gravity for world terrorist organizations”. C’mon, say it.By the way, all of you suck (except Phillip Shearer). I need updates on the Skins and politics. I have no idea what is going on with either. ****, for all I know Chandra Levy is back in the news. Are there mid term elections in MD this fall? I saw a news report (couldn’t hear it) that showed gas at over $3/gallon. What the **** is going on – shoot the caribou, feed the poor, give work to the unemployed from WV and start drilling in AK; oh, and give fuel cell research another $B to make the Libs happy. I leave the country for a couple of months and all **** breaks lose. Let me guess, we actually have an “adopt a liberal” law now that assigns a liberal to a conservative an we just give them a check when they come to our door – that’s my understanding of what VP Gore wanted to do to “stream line” govt in the mid 90’s. Ok – off my soap box. All this is in jest (except the GWOT stuff) and I’m happy to “get, as well as I give”.Give Katy, Joseph, and Mia a big kiss and hug from me!Humbly Serving,Joseph Paul