Instapundit points out this story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about a US government contractor who returned early from his work reconstructing Iraq. He was supposed to be there until at least March. Among the reasons he opted to come home early were the living conditions and security precautions.
“I didn’t like the way I needed to live there,” he said. “I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything on my own.”
Attacks against US military forces and those that support them are understandable. This is war, of course. But the attacks and threat of attacks against civilian workers who are trying to rebuild Iraq are something different. These folks are trying to make life better for Iraqis, and Saddam loyalists and other anti-US groups are trying to stop them.
I think that is pretty significant. It illustrates clearly that our enemy is bent on more than defeating us militarily. Attacks on Red Cross hospitals underscore the fact that our enemy prefers the middle ages to the twenty-first century. They prefer poverty to wealth. They prefer death to life, if life means living in anything vaguely resembling Western civilization. Remember, the attacks against US housing compounds in Saudi Arabia last May were carried out two weeks AFTER we announced our intention to pull all US military forces out of the country. Yet these attacks are painted as a reasonable response to the US presence in Iraq.
I don’t really blame this guy or others who leave early for their decision. I understand completely. People don’t feel safe enough, and they want to get out. I just don’t understand how terrorists blowing up UN headquarters or Red Cross aid stations is America’s fault. At some point, don’t the terrorists have to be held responsible?
Things are improving, slowly but surely.
[Don] Uram found Iraqis to be so grateful that many families invited him to their homes to sit on rugs and dine on chicken, rice and local dishes. “In all cases, we were treated as honored guests,” he said.
The chaos of war has passed and living conditions are improving throughout southern Iraq, said Uram, whose work took him to several cities including Basra in the south, which is Iraq’s second-largest.
Protests had erupted on the streets of Basra in August as residents sweltered without power to run air conditioners or refrigerators.
“Now, the electricity is on an average of 20 hours per day,” Uram said, and other utilities are increasingly reliable. When power failures do occur, the residents display remarkable patience, he said.
“In Eden Prairie [Minnesota], if the power was out for 20 minutes, Excel would get 5,000 calls,” he said with a chuckle.
We’re getting there. And we’re doing it despite constant attacks by those who would gladly sacrifice as many innocent Iraqis as it takes to defeat reconstruction of their country.