Friday, July 22, 2005

US Responsible For Obesity Epidemic In Iraq?

The following is a letter sent from a soldier in Iraq to a newspaper columnist. The names of both parties have been omitted to protect the innocent. Or the not so innocent.

Dear Mr. ****,

Hello from FOB Lima! I just wanted to thank you for your excellent column from a couple of weeks ago. Sorry I didn't get a chance to write earlier, but it sounds like you know what it's like from the field - no down time. Anyway, it's been making the rounds out here and everyone agrees we need more reporters like you.

I'm with the 155th from Ole Miss, and let me tell you how good it is to finally hear somebody in the media getting the story straight. Fact is, things are changing for the better in Iraq, and it's thanks to the US of A.

I thought I'd share some stories that reinforce your point. We're working in Karbala, and I'd say at least 90 percent of the population loves us. Sometimes there are so many kids around waving to us that it creates a mini-traffic jam. I've even noticed a few fat kids starting to appear - didn't see too much of that during Saddam's reign, now, did you? I can already imagine how the liberal media would twist that

story: "Obesity Epidemic in Iraq" instead of celebrating that these kids have the freedom to eat what and how much they want for the first time.

Of course, if you read about Karbala in the media, you'll probably think that the whole city is a bunch of jihad-crazed terrorists and we're afraid to even enter city limits. Yeah, right! Then how'd our team build five water stations? I mean, I'm not denying that there are terrorists out there, but we're making progress. Terrorists have temporarily disabled two, but it's still a net gain. And we're not finished yet. Maybe if those reporters left the Green Zone some time and spent some time with the people, like we do every day, they'd find out that the Iraqis want to become more like Americans, and that they don't hate us at all. I mean, our translator's even taken to hankering for country music!

Another example is the first reality show in Iraq - definitely a sign things are changing here for the better. It's about a couple planning for their marriage. Our translator was telling me all about it - the bride's brother actually was killed by terrorists during the filming, but the family didn't let itself be intimidated. That's how addictive freedom can be. If you ask me, that's the change here that I've noticed since getting stationed here in January - the terrorists are still out there, but the people aren't intimidated any more. It's like there's been a trickle down effect from the Army's bravery. Now if a bomb goes off outside a recruiting station, the next day the lines of recruits are just as long. That's having faith in the new Iraq.

They're finally understanding the American way. With that sort of attitude, the terrorists don't stand a chance.

Well, I've gotta fire off some emails back home, but just wanted to say, keep up the good work. Seeing smart commentary like yours is a real morale boost.

Thank you, and God bless, 1st Lt. ****** ****

The Real World Baghdad? He's right, Zarqawi and crew don't stand a chance.

UPDATE: More on unintended consequences here.