Monday, July 10, 2006
The In T View: The Readers Of Iraq The Model Sound Off: Soldier's Dad
Generally, I In T View bloggers, journalists, writers, human rights advocates, and soldiers, but this time I thought I would expand the horizons a bit and In T View the readers of of one of the most popular and beloved Mideast and Iraqi blogs, Iraq The Model, and let them sound off, share their views, about ITM and Iraq.
Iraq The Model comes complete with a strong and loyal readership and a feisty crew of articulate commenters offering their thoughts on Omar's and Mohammed's evaluation of events in their country, the Iraqi conflict, politics, terrorism, Islam, and the actions of the Coalition Forces.
In this In T View, we feature Soldier's Dad, a long time commentor at ITM, a man with military experience in the Middle East, the father of a soldier, and the proprietor of the very fine Soldier's Dad blog, a place where you can find spot-on analysis concerning the Military and Security situations in Iraq and the Middle East. Take it away, Soldier's Dad...
MG: Hi SD, how did you become aware of Iraq The Model and decide to comment there?
Soldier's Dad: I was certain that I wasn't being told the truth about what was happening in Iraq, so I started searching for news outside of TV/Newspapers.
MG: Are you as optimistic about Iraq now, as when you first started reading and commenting at ITM?
Soldier's Dad: In computers work, we have a saying, "A poorly planned project will take 3 times as long as you think, a well planned project will only take twice as long", I think this applies to Iraq. Plans were to be the MNF drawdown in spring of 2004, looks like it will begin in Summer of 2006.
MG: Did you find that ITM was better when Ali was involved with the blog?
Soldier's Dad: Ali has a good clear writing style. I enjoyed reading his pieces.
MGThere have been criticisms directed towards ITM and the brothers that they are too Pro-American or American Agents, Working for the CIA, not really Iraqis or located in Iraq, etc. How do you respond to this?
Soldier's Dad: The CIA's job is to monitor the "enemy". Any information ops they would do would have a decidedly anti-American tone. If one listens to the known US "Information Services", Voice of America etc, the tone tends to lean towards critical of the US. The BBC world service also tends to be quite critical of Britain. Omar and Mohammed, until very recently, have been too optimistic to be a "professionally run" dis-information operation.
MG: Has it been a learning experience reading ITM? You likely know more about Iraqi politics now, than you did before reading the Brothers' Blog, but have they also given you insights into other
facets of Iraqi Society such as culture and history?
Soldier's Dad: Many, many moons ago, I lived in Saudi Arabia for a year, more recently, I've had extensive business dealings in Turkey. ITM has helped me understand were in the grand scheme Iraqi's as a nation are. In my mind, I think Iraq's national development has been frozen in the 1950's for quite some time.
MG: Should the US have involved itself in Iraq? Has it been a worthwhile endeavor?
Soldier's Dad: With Saddam in power, all of Iraq's neighbors really had no choice but to expend enormous amounts on Armies and Weapons. To maintain public support for such spending, the populations need to feel threatened. Hence the Zionist conspiracy. Without Saddam, the countries in the region can at least make a choice.
As far as being worthwhile, history will have to tell that story. If Syria, Iran and Iran start liberalizing the next 5-10 years, it will have been worthwhile.
MG: Does the World Media (Television, Radio, and Newspapers) present an accurate view of what's happening in Iraq?
Soldier's Dad: Large media, has an enormously difficult time with "process". 12 months ago, there were 3 Iraqi battalions "In the Lead", today it is 58. Roughly 1 Battalion per week. Watching the growth of the ISF, is a slow motion version of watching paint dry. Not very exciting. Except when one stops to think that the Iraqi House will be fit to live in, when the ISF "paint is dry".
MG: Which ITM Brother -- Omar or Mohammed -- would you like to give a hug to or have a beer with and why?
Soldier's Dad: I never actually noticed a great difference in the writing styles of Omar or Mohammed. Having a beer with them would be great. Ali has a gift with the use of "sarcasm" so having a beer with him would be more fun.
MG: On February 20, 1258 A.D., the Mongols overran Baghdad, plundered and destroyed the city, and conducted a massacre of the residents that claimed 800,000 lives. Things don't look as bleak for the Iraqis now, still the topic of an Iraqi Civil War is being bandied about in the Media every day, and I have to ask: Is Iraq currently involved in a Civil War?
Soldier's Dad: Civil War is defined by various things. At the peak of gang warfare in LA, the Crips and Bloods each had memberships in excess of 10,000. They accounted for 800 or so gang related deaths per year in LA. Clearly, the violence in Baghdad is well above those rates. By what factor depends on which news reports one chooses to believe.
The availability of explosives and weapons in Baghdad is much greater than LA. The LA police department is a much more stable and professional police force.
From where I sit, the amount of "fuel" for a civil war isn't significantly different than the fuel in LA in the 80's. What is different, is the availability of weapons and the experience of the security forces.
MG: Do you have a Favorite Poster at ITM, who you like or admire, and can you tell us why?
Soldier's Dad: I liked the poster known as "truth"...who hasn't posted in a while. Hamid Abib as well. Whether one is a communist, socialist, democrat, republican, libertarian etc really doesn't interest me. Governing is hard work. Those who are interested in discussing real solutions, rather than slogans interest me.
MG: One of my escapist fantasies is to walk the length and breadth of Iraq from Southern Kurdisitan down to Mosul, though due to my blue eyes and practically albino skin, they'd likely be using me for target practice before I made it out of Mosul, certainly I'd be in trouble in Fallujah LOL... When conditions become safer for travel in Iraq, would you like to visit the country?
Soldier's Dad: I'm sure a trip to Baghdad is somewhere in my future.
MG: The Recent Loss of Omar's, Mo's, and Ali's Brother-in-Law elicited many outporings of sympathy from ITM's readers and commenters, similar to if the readers/commenters had lost a member of their own extended family. When you post at ITM, is there a sense of being part of an extended family?
Has a bond been established, both between the posters themselves and Omar and Mo?
Soldier's Dad: At some level, there is a sense of being part of an extended family. In the comments section, it is more like being part of an extended dysfunctional family.
MG: Having come to know Omar and Mo through their writings these last few years, what is the one thing, you would like to say to them?
Soldier's Dad: A disproportionate number of military and civilian bloggers.(reporters as well) in Iraq have ended up being hurt. Be safe.
MG Says: Thanks to Soldier's Dad!