IRAQ: Greetings from Baghdad - The Election
Marine General Michael Sullivan writes: This is an email written to a friend by a Colonel currently serving in Baghdad. Subject: Greetings from Baghdad - The Elections and Freedom
Dear General, It`s been almost a month since I have been able to get a note to you about life in Iraq and what a month it has been. It really looks like democracy is going to take hold in Iraq. I was at one of the polls today and at the International Elections Commission -Iraq (IECI) press conference where the results were described by the IECI as far better than expected. Over 70% of the voters voted and all this with the possibility of death looming around the Iraqis. I hope that you get the chance to hear what is really going on here. The problems are real, but the successes are great. Dr. Samir, an Iraqi government leader, called me today, in a virtual tearful mood, proclaiming that he and his family voted freely today for the first time in their lives. He called to thank all Americans and our coalition partners for the sacrifices that our nations, our families, the hundreds of thousands of wives and husbands, the multitudes of children and all our loved ones made to allow them to be free. What do you say to Dr. Samir? Here is a man, and a society, willing to risk death to be free. They merely needed the chance. You, the American people, gave him that chance. Trust me on this one, they will not blow it AND they are grateful.
Does all this mean that the war is over? Absolutely not, but a major chapter has been written. I implore you to let us finish the job the right way which I know you will do. You are my hero! I have mentioned many times before that the war will be won by you; not by us over here, but by you. You have all sacrificed so much. You have been willing to allow our Nation to take a chance to do the right thing to ultimately bring peace and stability to Iraq and the world. My thanks to you. I would also like to ask you to keep in your prayers our deceased and wounded and their families. This was an especially tough month, but,then again, every month is a tough month when we lose a valient warrior. Just yesterday, the embassy, where I am, was hit and we lost two wonderful people. Please keep them in your prayers. Be sure to thank our World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Persian Gulf
vets as well. I am so thankful for the sacrifices that they made to keep us free.
Since my last letter, I can tell you that you have been so generous. The packages that have come in have helped a lot of young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. The cookies helped me!!!!!! (THANK YOU) -only kdding. The staff at the hospital asked me to pass on their thanks from everyone at the CSH (pronounced CASH) which stands for the Combat Support Hospital to you. THANK YOU. Please drop me a line and please know that I truly appreciate all the well wishes and the prayers. God bless you and Semper fi,
Frank Ryan, Colonel, U. S. Marine Corps Reserve
Marine General Michael Sullivan wrote: This is an email written to a friend by a Colonel currently serving in Baghdad. Subject: Greetings from Baghdad - The Elections and Freedom. I wonder if Marine General Sullivan would have publicised with similar alacrity, the following comments from a previous Marine General, Smedley D. Butler, apparently the most decorated marine of his generation. He published them in the magazine Common Sense in 1935.
"I helped to make Haiti and Cuba safe a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long, I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras "right" for American fruit companies in 1903... Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents"
[Source: quoted by Niall Ferguson, Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, in his 2004 book Colossus- the Rise and Fall of the American Empire- pp.58-59.]
RH: Most Americans are proud of the Marines, and Smedley Butler must have been a proud Marine once. When and why did he change his mind? Did General Sullican know him, has he any explanation, and what does he think of him? I am copying this to Niall Ferguson in the hope that he may have some comments.