The Good News You Aren't Hearing About
It seems like the media is finally getting the message - the public demands to hear about all the great things that are happening as Iraq blooms into a peaceful, pro-Western democracy. Little by little, drop by drop, the truth is coming out. Read on to read the true, heart-warming story of Mustafa Kareem of Fallujah.
AL-FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Mustafa Kareem climbed off the bus into a crowd of women in ankle-length black robes who were clutching bottles of water and stacks of blankets. The midday sun beat down, and their faces were weary.
They had returned to Al-Fallujah this week wondering whether their houses were still standing and how they might start their lives again.
Kareem -- 21, cleanshaven and handsome, with carefully slicked-back hair and dirt on his jeans -- wondered the same as he proclaimed his humble mission.
"I want to bring my sister toys,'' Kareem said. "She just keeps crying for them.''
As Iraqi and American politicians talk about the promise of democracy and national elections scheduled for the end of this month, only a fraction of Al-Fallujah's 300,000 residents have returned home. Many are coming from the cold, filthy camps they fled to before a U.S. offensive in November to retake the rebel town.
Elsewhere in the country, violence continued Saturday. Insurgents kidnapped four Iraqi government officials and a rebel Shiite cleric reached out to his Sunni counterparts, saying he agreed that next month's elections should be delayed.
Thirty miles south of Mosul, U.S forces mistakenly dropped a 500-pound bomb on a house and destroyed it, killing five people, U.S. officials said. The house owner said 14 people died and five were wounded.
"The house was not the intended target for the airstrike. The intended target was another location nearby,'' the U.S. military said in a statement. Officials said they were investigating. The U.S. military "deeply regrets the loss of possibly innocent lives,'' the statement said.
The kidnapping of the officials -- an assistant governor, a college dean and a provincial councilman -- underscored the increasing violence directed toward those who participate in the election process. U.S. officials had said Friday that there could be a ``series of horrific attacks'' that cause mass casualties in some spectacular fashion in the days leading up to the elections.
Iraqi media reported several other incidents Saturday:
• In Baquba, insurgents beheaded a translator working with the U.S. Army, police said.
• An Iraqi police officer was killed by masked gunmen as he was leaving his house in Baghdad.
• A booby-trapped car blew up Saturday at a gas station in Mahaweel, about 35 miles south of Baghdad. One man was killed and several others were injured, police said.
• In west Baghdad, gunmen shot dead Abboud Khalaf al-Lahibi, deputy secretary-general of the National Front for Iraqi tribes, which represents several Iraqi ethnic groups.
In Al-Fallujah, hundreds if not thousands of homes were in a shambles after months of airstrikes. So far, about 40,000 people, or less than 20 percent of the town's population, have begun coming back, according to Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, the senior U.S. ground commander in Iraq. The Iraqi interim government Saturday put the figure at 60,000 and said it expected the rest to return by Jan. 14.
Like Kareem, most returnees are sent by family members who themselves cannot yet bear to see their ravaged town. The militants who intimidated them into obedience are now replaced by gruff U.S. soldiers who take their fingerprints and scan their eyes.
Many Iraqis contend that in their attempt to quash the insurgency, U.S. troops may have only strengthened its ranks, creating a generation so inflamed by the assault that they take up arms.
"In the coming days, there will be suicide attacks on that town. They will use the same methods as the Hamas movement,'' said Salman al-Jumaili, a Baghdad University professor, insurgency expert and Al-Fallujah native.
Nadhim Jassour agreed. A professor of international relations at Baghdad University, Jassour said, "The Americans were mistaken in their calculations. . . . They must understand that revenge is an Arab characteristic.''
Outside the town, hundreds of Al-Fallujah citizens stood in a long passage created by strings of barbed wire. At the end of the line, a U.S. soldier sat at a table with an interpreter and asked people for name and marital status, then took all 10 fingerprints. People also were told to look into a box, which scanned their retinas.
Kareem had waited out the fighting in a two-room apartment in the countryside with seven family members. Monday, his father sent the college student -- he was studying to be a math teacher before his school was closed because of the fighting -- to check on their home.
A neighbor told Kareem's family that their house had been spared from the bombing, but he feared that the neighbor was being kind.
After being scanned, printed and interviewed, Kareem walked from one road to the next, looking in awe at mounds of rubble where buildings used to stand. He motioned up ahead: "The next street to the right is our house.''
A minute later, he stopped. His dark eyes traced the ground in front of him. All that stood of his house was a bedroom.
His lips trembled.
"No,'' he said. "Why . . .?'' Then he fell silent.
Eventually he began picking through the debris. There was a doll with blond hair, in a pink dress, with one leg missing and one of its eyelids shut.
"Here it is,'' he said, tears on his face. "This is what I've come for.''
He sat down in a garden in front of the house, brushing soot off the doll's plastic face.
A few minutes passed. He stood up.
"I don't know what I'm going to tell them,'' he said.
He began to walk back to the bus, still holding the doll.
At last we get to hear something about all the little girls who get their dollies back - news which has been cynically suppressed by the objectively pro-terrorist liberal media conspiracy. Kareem's little sister will surely never forget this heart-warming moment, and she - and all the little children of Fallujah - will no doubt be eager to repay us for all the fantastic humanitarian work we're doing. Isn't that great! Liberals would probably be happier if Saddam was still around and baby girls never got their dollies back, but real Americans know better. Just wait until John Negroponte's death squads Freedom Posses get going, and we start really turning that corner!
Posted by The Editors at January 10, 2005 01:42 AM