Saturday, November 19, 2005

Taking Mattie's Advise

At age 11, Mattie J.T. Stepanek wrote:

If you have
Enough breath
To complain
About anything,
You have more than
Enough reason
To give thanks
About something.

May 6, 2001

Reflections of a Peacemaker
A Portrait Through Heartsongs



Last year, Mattie left our world to higher skies and adventures. I'm a big fan of this young poet, peacemaker, and philosopher who played. That's how he liked to describe himself.

I check Iraq's news first thing each morning. This week was full of unpleasant news. I wanted to write but couldn't because Mattie's words kept ringing in my head. Today, I collected my energy and decided to take Mattie's advise while writing this post.


The Daily Bombing in Iraq
It's been a bad week for Iraqis. Tens of innocent Iraqis died this week by the hands of terrorists.

treasure of Baghdad and 24 Steps to Liberty both survived the bombing that targeted Al-Hamra Hotel in Baghdad. Their office got damaged though. Treasure of Baghdad is sad and depressed. He thinks it's pointless to keep blogging. Mate, I've been there last week. I know the feeling.

Do you honestly think you're not making a difference? If your answer is yes, then you're wrong.

Do you think important people don't read your blog? Wrong again. Check your stats and see how many .gov and .mil hits you have. That will answer your question. You'll be surprised of who reads your blog.

It makes me sad when Iraqis don't receive support or encouragement from the international community when bombed by terrorists. When Iraqis get bombed, the bombers are called freedom fighters. When other countries get bombed, the bombers are called terrorists.

How could it be resistance when it's killing innocent Iraqis? And why is it called terrorism when the same operations are carried out in other countries? That's what I don't appreciate from the so-called "international community." But then, I really feel good whenever I read Natasha's posts where she defends and supports the ordinary Iraqi people. So, I shouldn't generalize.


The Torture of Iraqi Detainees
When you live under a tyrant regime where you're always scared of being thrown into a jail and tortured, you really get depressed knowing similar acts are taking place after his removal.

If Iraq wants to bury its past and join the world community as an icon of human rights, then the Iraqi government should work harder to prevent torture. The pictures I saw brought back the bad memories from Saddam's era. Still, I'm thankful that most Iraqis voiced their rejection to these acts. It's a healthy sign.


The Use of White Phosphorus In Falluja
U.S. Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry - ATSDR defines White Phosphorus as the following:

White phosphorus is a colorless, white, or yellow waxy solid with a garlic-like odor. It does not occur naturally, but is manufactured from phosphate rocks.

White phosphorus reacts rapidly with oxygen, easily catching fire at temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above room temperature.

White phosphorus is used by the military in various types of ammunition, and to produce smoke for concealing troop movements and identifying targets.

It is also used by industry to produce phosphoric acid and other chemicals for use in fertilizers, food additives, and cleaning compounds. Small amounts of white phosphorus were used in the past in pesticides and fireworks.

HIGHLIGHTS: White phosphorus is a waxy solid which burns easily and is used in chemical manufacturing and smoke munitions. Exposure to white phosphorus may cause burns and irritation, liver, kidney, heart, lung, or bone damage, and death. White phosphorus has been found in at least 77 of the 1,416 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

There's an Egyptian saying that I really like, "أمشي عدل يحتار عدوك فيك"

In short, this was a bad choice of a fighting tactic. You just opened a door that won't close easily. That's all I can say. I wasn't fond of the attack on Falluja. Yes, there were a lot of terrorists hiding in Falluja. The operation didn't stop the attacks on Iraqis. It actually spread the disease of terror to other parts of the country. These people are like cancer. You remove them from one part of the country only to reappear in a different part of Iraq.


The Debate Over Withdrawal of the Troops
The heated debate over the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq didn't surprise me at all. Actually, I predicted such a debate two months ago. Hey, it's almost year 2006. What do you think politicians may discuss during their campaigns? Of course, the troops and Iraq.

Do you see why I asked the same question a few weeks ago? I really enjoyed the discussion we had on this subject. Readers posted good ideas on when and how to withdraw the troops.

Here's my opinion since it has become the issue this week.

  1. Ask the Iraqi people for their opinion on this subject. I don't mean to conduct a silly poll. Polls means nothing to me. How about a public vote?

  2. If a public vote is not a practical option, shouldn't the Iraqi National Assembly vote each six or three months on this subject?

  3. Start withdrawing troops from the peaceful areas. The South is generally peaceful. I don't mean all is rosy with the militias running the show in Basra and other parts of the South. But, nothing will change unless people stand up for themselves. It's that simple.

  4. Speed up the training of Iraqi troops and police. They may not be up to everyone's standards. But, let's be honest here. Those soldiers and cops will be more effective when the Iraqi people see them as protectors. Until then, we won't have much progress. Again, it's up to the Iraqi people to stand up for themselves.


I'd appreciate more suggestions. I know everyone is taking this issue as a buzz from the Democrats. It's not. Mark my words, this will be the major issue during the 2006 and 2008 elections. We've already seen a skirmish this week.


I don't know if I followed Mattie's advise very well. At least I tried. I know I always take his best advise, "Remember to play after every storm."





Reflections of a Peacemaker
A Portrait Through Heartsongs


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