It’s been too long since we heard from Major E., our man at Camp Victory in Baghdad. Major E. writes:
I have been home for a couple of weeks as my wife and I await the ‘any day’ arrival of our first child. Since returning, I have had the honor of being asked to address several civic and political groups and share a slideshow and narrative from experiences in Iraq.
What has struck me the most is how starved people are to know what is really going on over there. So many are quite grateful to hear a different perspective than the one that bombards them daily. Having watched the biased reporting since the beginning of the conflict, I was not surprised to discover that people want a more balanced perspective, even if the intensity is stronger than I expected. What has been surprising, though, and a bit disappointing, is that there has been a distinct split between the interest level of partisan political groups. I contacted county leadership for both Democrats and Republicans, along with non-partisan church and civic groups, and have received numerous requests from churches, non-partisan groups, and Republican organizations — but zero from Democrats, despite following up with them several times.
I hope it is an anomaly, but I wonder if the fact that Democratic leaders in my county would rather accuse the troops at Gitmo of running a “gulag” than hear about the experiences of a service member who just returned from Iraq might be driving some folks away from their tent of “tolerance,” not just here in Northern California but around the country.
After a talk to a Republican group the other night, one couple came up to me and explained that they grew up in strongly Democratic families, joling that they knew about both God and FDR, but were unsure about who came first. But today’s Democratic party, they said, had strayed so far from their beliefs that they can no longer vote Democratic.
I told them about my late grandfather, Henry, with whom I had grown up identifying the Democratic party. He was a career steelworker and patriotic union member who not only helped build the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge and restore the Golden Gate, but also took me to my first Oakland A’s game. Having known his values and belief in the greatness of America, however, I believe that if he were alive today, Grandpa Hank would sadly agree with the couple about the state of his Democratic party.
That is unfortunate because our nation needs two parties that believe in America as a great country, even if each has a different strategy for making it better. Two parties are needed [to preserve] a healthy balance [that is placed] at risk in any society if there is only one perspective. Yet, until the rank-and-file Democrats start choosing leaders who represent America’s values and genuinely support American troops, I fear they may continue to be a party that even die-hard Democrats from the Greatest Generation will find themselves unable to support.
As far as the situation in Iraq is concerned, suffice to say that things are going much better over there than is being reported, and I am confident that the voter participation in the upcoming constitutional referendum and in December’s elections will confirm that.
The anti-Iraqi forces seem to win the battle for daily headlines, but we win on the big events–because, as on January 30th, the victory was so big as to be undeniable. More important than scoring PR points, though, is the fact that life of the average Iraqi is improving and the legitimacy of the new government is growing.
Thank you to the Power Line readers for supporting the troops and seeking out a broader perspective on what is really going on over there.
(back from Baghdad–for a while)