Kurdish civilians stand beside scores of coffins that hold the remains of some 500 Iraqi Kurds from the Barzani tribe during a ceremony in Arbil, northern Iraq. The human remains were brought from a mass grave discovered in al-Muthanna province in southern Iraq. Iraqi forces, commanded by former dictator Saddam Hussein are accused of the 1983 massacre of the Kurdish tribe of Mullah Mustafa Barzani, the founding father of Iraqi Kurdistan. Saddam’s regime allegedly rounded up around 8,000 men from the tribe in northern Iraq took them into the desert and executed them. (AFP)
To the American Freedom Fighters on Veteran’s Day:
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Today, November 11th is Veteran’s Day. This is an opportunity to honor, recognize and thank our men and women who have served in the armed forces, especially our men and women who have liberated Iraq, from the clutches of a brutal fascist dictatorship, and are now working tirelessly with enthusiastic Iraqis to bring Iraq into the 21st century. In free Iraq the law protects Iraqis’ lives, dignity and property. Free Iraqis’ religious practices, their free speech and their human rights is guaranteed by a constitution. Free Iraqis vote for their leaders, criticize them and live to tell about it. Free Iraqis are not systematically brain washed, not exiled, not tortured, not abused, not gassed and not killed by an abusive government.
Free Iraq’s economy is booming, commerce is flourishing, unemployment is plummeting, wages are rising, health care is improving, medicines are available, foreign investment is coming in. In free Iraq political debate is celebrated, free thought is encouraged, hundreds of newspapers have sprung up. In free Iraq, civil servants, teacher and doctors make 25 to 50 times what they used to. The number of vehicles on Iraqi streets has tripled in the last 3 years. Irrigation canals are carrying water again. Farmers are free to sell their produce in markets. The marshes have been 80-90% restored with wild life returning and Marsha Arabs returning to their old way of life. City folk are returning to their urban towns because they now have drinking water and power they did not have.
Iraqi schools have been modernized and rebuilt; school curriculum does not teach children to read by reading “I love Saddam”, curriculum no longer calls for bigotry, ethnic polarization and enticing violence and war nor is it anti-Semitic. History is not distorted. Just to list a few of the countless achievements in Iraq.
To all the men and women who have served and serving in Iraq, to all the families of those who have paid the ultimate price to all those who have suffered during their service in Iraq, my family’s and my deepest thanks, gratitude and pride both from my family in the U.S. and my family in Iraq for all the sacrifices, endurance and service for our great country and Iraq and the Iraqis. God bless all of you and keep you safe.