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Clearing the air about intentions - an Iraqi citizen and a US soldier

By Sam Hammorabi - posted Monday, 12 July 2004

A Letter to an American Solider!

I have been asked several times to give advice to an American solider heading from somewhere in the USA to somewhere in Iraq! I think this is a good time to write about this issue.

I am sure the Pentagon specialist Departments issue certain advices and clarifications to their soldiers about how to deal with the Iraqi people but this is not without pitfalls. This article explains some of the differences.


Above all, the American solider should ask himself or herself the following question: What is his feeling when his own country occupied by foreign forces irrespective of whether they liberated him from a tyrant or not? Just ask yourself this question and keep the answer with you soon when your feet touch the Iraqi soil! This will make you to understand the feeling of the people or some of the people whom you are going to meet there!

Next thing you have to know that you are in a different society than yours. Let me give you an example. If a foreign particle enters your body your immunity will isolate then attack it by special antibodies. Therefore, to avoid being attacked, this particle should behave genuinely as part of the body! You should not make yourself superior to the people there and should show that you do care for that part of the world and its people as if you are one of them.

If you try to change the faith or the belief of the people they will not accept it. You should show genuine respect to the women and they should not be searched by male soldiers but women soldiers and vice versa. The holy places should be respected fully.

I am sure the majority of Coalition soldiers dislike and share our feelings against the recent abuses of the prisoners. The majority of them have families: wives, children, parents, brothers, sisters and other relatives and friends that they like to go back to once and forever. This is a genuine human feeling irrespective of the political or boundary issues. You should make sure that you are there for a short time only and better to get few Iraqi friends rather than enemies because you may need to go back without your uniform at some time with your loved ones for a visit - hopefully to see a different Iraq with better roads, airports, services, etc and unemployment reversed from more than 85 per cent to less than 15 per cent.

Lastly let me tell you this story about a fool who was spoiled by his rich dad. He was totally dependent on his dad's richness, so was just a lazy little man! The dad asked his son to promise to fulfil three things after his death: first is to build a palace in each city; second to eat the tastiest food and last to sleep on the best furniture.

The son then spent his money trying to do all the above but lost it all to gambling and taxes and so on until he found himself in the street begging the people. One day a friend of his father's saw him in such a miserable state and asked him why? He said it was due to the fool advice of his father!


The man shook his head and said "it was your fool interpretation, and not your dad's advice. Your dad meant by 'palace' to keep a friend in each city because he or she will be there for you when you need him (the friend should not be dictator or tyrant). He also advised you that if you eat from your earnings and when you are hungry, the food, whatever it is, will taste nice. Lastly, if you work hard, then even if you sleep on the floor it will feel better than the mattresses of the Queen of England and the furniture of the Oval office of your President GWB!

I hope you will interpret my letter carefully and rightly!

Reply from an American Solider to Hammorabi

Below is a letter from an American solider in Iraq in reply about my letter to an American solider. I replaced the name with letters to keep his ID protected but I haven't changed anything else!

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This is is a edited extract of two posts to Sam's blog - Hammorabi. 

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About the Author

Sam Hammorabi is an Iraqi blogger at

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