Tuesday, December 26, 2006

In Praise of the US military

An interview with one of the men who captured Saddam Hussein, from 2004. It helps to glance backwards, occasionally, when it grows hard to look ahead:

(KSDK)…Samir worked with the military as an interpreter. He was at the remote farm on December 13th when U.S. forces discovered a secret hiding place. The next few minutes would feel like a lifetime for Samir.
"We saw the hole for the bunker, but it hard to believe someone live in that hole. It was really small," Samir remembers. "They shot in there and he started yelling, "Don't shoot, don't shoot, don't kill me.' " So I had to talk to him. I was the translator. I said, 'Just come out.' He kept saying, 'Don't shoot. Don't kill me.' "

In Arabic, Samir said he continued to pursuade Saddam to come out. He was about to come face to face with the tyrant who killed his loved ones. Saddam was the reason he fled Iraq in 1991 and eventually moved to St. Louis.
Samir says, "I was like, 'I got him.'" We all reached him and pulled him out. And we say Saddam Hussein he looks really old. He looks disgusting." There was also anger, "You want to beat the crap out of him. He destroyed millions in Iraq. I'm one. I left my family 13 years ago because of him."

Saddam couldn't fight back, but he did speak out, "He called me a spy. He called me a traitor. I had to punch him in face. They had to hold me back. I got so angry I almost lost my mind. I didn't know what to do. Choke him to death. That's really not good enough."
For Samir, this was sweet justice. One of Iraq's own, now a U.S. citizen, helping arrest one of the world's most wanted fugitives, "I said 'Who are you? What's your name?' He replied, 'I'm Saddam.' 'Saddam what?' I asked. He said, 'Don't yell. I'm Saddam Hussein."
Now, many months later, Samir had another emotional moment in store. He would meet the leader of the free world, when President Bush attended a campaign rally in St. Charles, "I told him I'm the one who had to talk to Saddam and the first one who grabbed him."

Samir says he spoke from the heart, "This is the message from Iraqis and my family. They want to thank you to free Iraqis from Saddam. And he said, 'You're welcome.' "
During their meeting, Mr. Bush received a photo from Samir, and special beads that Samir's parents gave him for protection. "It's like a blessing. It's important to me and I want you to have it. He tapped me on shoulder and said, 'Great work.'"
Soon, Samir will return overseas for more work as an interpreter. He says he's glad to do it for the country he now calls home, "I don't call myself hero. I call it lucky. A lot of people helped, but I was there at the right time."

Samir, I call you hero, a modern-day hero, so much more admirable than the warriors Homer wrote about or the unprincipled looters from many wars since. During the 20th Century the American G.I. raised the bar for heroism, and the world gnashes its teeth in envy.
We are prodded by our media to wonder, “are the Iraqis ready for democracy?”. Well, who is ready, nowadays? Who among us are readily capable of the long-term self-discipline, the mutual trust, the spirit of self-sacrifice, acceptance of responsibility, and sense of teamwork, that must be heartfelt in order for democracy to succeed?
Fortunately for our side, our Iraqi brothers and sisters have the best teachers in the world at their disposal, from whom to learn these values: The United States Military.

Those of us too old to enlist, can still find ways to serve, as every single one of us has a talent, skill or trade whose weight can be added to the side of good in this fight. I hope that this video, a tribute to the heroic fighting men and women of the United States of America, may be one such modest contribution.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, that was real touching, and I also invite you Americans to revolt against the federal government that failed to help the victims of Katrina, sent your sons off to die for oil, and that funded Saddam in the first place.
Samir left Iraq, but he ran from a regular devil to Satan himself. Glad someone caught Saddam, but how ironic that one apostate captures another for Massa Bush and his plantation overseers? Now Saddam is gonna hang like drying laundry.
Can I get my freedom papers now, boss? And some back pay for all dat dere hard wuhk we's been doin'?

Charles Henry said...

black lion, I find your comment particularly repulsive since slavery still exists in our world, it's alive and well in many of the nations that rely on sharia law as the moral foundation for their legal system.
Go read about, say, Saudi Arabia and then come back and throw that slavery rhetoric around concerning the United States of America. See if it still fits, after you've read about actual slaves in actual bondage in so many places throughout our world today.
I will take it on good faith that you are, at heart, a good person, who is just saying what you do out of sheer absolute ignorance, and that once you become a bit more informed you'll change your tune. (internally if not publicly)
The only evidence I have for that hope, is your statement that you're glad someone caught saddam. If that's sincere, then you should, as I do, wish for **more** liberty around the world not less, and that you should be in appreciation of nations like the United States, which view liberty as the birthright of all people, and act accordingly in their long-term policies.
Unlike many of the current nations in the islamic world, remember, the US actually abolished slavery. When it's discovered here today, it's prosecuted, as happened recently in Colorado. Is it as steadfastly prosecuted elsewhere, in the islamic world? And what can we do to see it stopped everywhere, as resolutely it has been here?
Why not work to end slavery, rather than stretch ill-suited slavery analogies to the nation that has done the most to curtail slavery? (with Great Britain in close contention for that honor)
One important duty we possess as adults, is to recognize how foolish it is to expect utopian perfection; it is an illusion, a place that can be imagined but never reached, like the end of a rainbow. We mortals settle for the lesser of two evils, which is why we once temporarily allied with saddam: it was the lesser of two evils when weighed against the ayatollahs of iran. Or is it your contention that iran should have been our ally instead? We also temporarily allied with stalin's soviet union, for similar reasons: to defeat a greater evil.