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News from Iraq: HPU connection in Baghdad

Major Scott Stranger, special to Kalamalama


Well, we made the news again. The rockets that hit the hotels that was on the news last night (Oct 6) is in our neck of the woods. We caught the launcher that shot them. If you saw the news of the attack with the fire fight, that was us doing the shooting. We had eyes on the launcher after it launched, and we shot it.

When we got to it, we found a 155 mm artillery round in it, too. It was probably a booby trap, but the bad guys were amateurs, and there was no way it would have blown. They did a bad job of shooting the rockets and blew themselves up in the process. The fire you saw was a palm tree that got hit.


They attack the Sheraton Hotel because they know it will make the news. They are trying to effect the U.S. elections by staging what seems to be large attacks to the American people.

Well, by our standards, last night was small. The attack did very little damage, and nobody got hurt. The bad guys consider it a success if their attacks make the news. If they hurt somebody, that is a bonus.

When they are really serious they use a car bomb. It is their best weapon. A car bomb is their version of a precision-guided bomb. The hard part is recruiting the nut to blow himself up. That is why they don’t use more of them.

I am sorry I did not respond to your request for information about the real Iraq sooner. I would like to blame my tardiness on the enemy, rockets, mortars, and car bombs, but that would not be the truth. While those events, along with our own offensive operations, have been driving my life since I have been here, that is not the real reason for the delay. Truth be told is that I did not know where to start. This place is a life-changing experience. Not just from the violence, but for what the Iraqi people are like.


The Iraqi People

The Iraqi people are Arabs who are nationalistic. They are Iraqi first and Arabs second…unlike Saudi Arabia. There is duplicity among them when it comes to the U.S. forces. They know why we are here, and they want us to leave…but not yet. They tell us that they are very happy we are here, that we got rid of Saddam, that they want us to kill the enemy, and drive out the foreign fighters. They really hate that outsiders are in their country. However they see us a foreigners and want this over, so we will leave them to run their own country. Eighty percent of the people love us. Ten percent fight us, and the last 10 percent help the enemy with money, etc.


The Terrorists

The Muslim terrorists here are not from Iraq. They are from all over the Middle East. We have killed and captured terrorist from Syria, Palestine, Jordon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The Iraqi people hate these terrorist coming into their country and killing Iraqis. The reason the terrorists are here is because they can’t let us make Iraq a democracy and still survive. A democratic Iraq will destroy their philosophy of Islamic hate. Iraq is not an Islamic state. It is a secular state.

The problem with the Islamic radicals is that paradise in their mind is seventh-century Mecca. Iraq will never be that. Afghanistan was close when the Taliban was in charge. Democracy destroys terrorism because terrorist (and the rulers of such countries as Saudi Arabia) use Islam as a form of control. The House of Saud…the royal family of Saudi Arabia…. made a deal with the Wahabbi, a very extreme sect of Islam, more than 200 years ago. Osama bin Laden... is a Wahabbi. The deal was for the Wahabbi to be able to continue to thrive in Saudi Arabia and the House of Saud would look the other way if they didn’t make trouble for the royal family. The bottom line is that it is fine to export Wahabbi extremism but don’t do it in Saudi Arabia. That agreement has kept the house of Saudis in power ever since. The Saudi use Wahabbism as a form of control to stay in power. That is what the terrorists in Iraq want to do.



Iraq is the geographical center of the Middle East. Iraq is surrounded by, Jordon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, and Turkey. None of these countries except Kuwait and Turkey want a democracy in Iraq, or, in other words, on their borders. They don’t want their people to see the example of a democracy up close because they are afraid that they will lose control of their own countries.

The rulers of these countries are not stupid. In 1960 there were 40 communist countries. Now there are 5 because of democracies spreading freedom round the world. Arabs fear that might happen to the Middle East if a real democracy is established in its center. They don’t want to lose control. That is the main reason why they turn a blind eye to terrorist from their countries fighting in Iraq. My guess is that this the real reason we are here. WMD was a good reason the to come here, because the American people have a short attention span. The global war on terrorism is just that, global. We have to destroy the environments that breed terrorism. Democracy does that. If there is no WMD, so be it. Saddam had to go, and a democracy other than Israel in the Middle East will payoff big time in the years to come.


Saddam and the Boys

I have seen first hand what Saddam did to his people. On the nice side, he is credited with the electrical grid and the water and sewer systems. These were actually built in the 1950s. Saddam actually did not build them; he was not in power. Once in power, he did nothing to upgrade them. He used them to secure political power. If he did not like your neighborhood, he cut the power and water.

We have upgraded both systems, and Baghdad alone now provides clean water for 2.4 million more people that it did under Saddam. On the mean side, he tortured and killed people at will.

We live in one of Uday’s palaces. In his personal room, he had two fireplaces. We found a branding iron in the shape of a “U” in Arabic near one of the fireplaces. Uday would kidnap women and rape them. If he did not kill them, he would brand them with a “U” where they sit.

Originally on the grounds of our palace were seven lions in a large cage. We have moved them to the Baghdad Zoo, but they lived with us for about six months. These lions were Uday’s. He used to throw the woman he raped to the lions when he was done. Saddam also use to feed the lions with people he did not like…such as his son-in-laws. That is how Saddam got caught. One of his nephews, whose father Saddam had killed by feeding him to the lions, turned him in. So the “BS” that people like Michael Moore detailed in his movie Fahrenheit 911 that portrayed Saddam as some benevolent dictator is a lie. He was a thug who raped an entire country for his own selfish gains.


Iraq Today

Today in Iraq, the Iraqi people have the right to vote and to assemble. They have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms (personal arms in their homes)…sound familiar? Iraqi woman are allowed to drive cars now. They can walk on the streets without being escorted by a man. They can wear western clothing if they want to. They have a free market economy now. Woman doctors have come back to Iraq because they can practice medicine again in their home country.

We taught them how to protest! Some of the first protests were violent because that is all that they knew. Now protests are peaceful because we taught them how to do it, because that is their right. The violent protests are made for the cameras. We have captured terrorist whose job it was to stir up the locals to protest with weapons for the U.S. press. They look large and mean when you have about 20 people dancing around a destroyed U.S. vehicle with weapons, but they are only 20 people, and we scare them off.

Some times the bad guys pay the locals to do it. It is all an enemy information operation to affect Americans who get all their news from sound bites. It is sad that most American don’t have a clue what is going on here and make stupid statements, and write letters to the editor, without knowing the truth. The letters do make for entertaining reading though.


The Fight

First, it is not a quagmire. We dominate anywhere we want to in Iraq. We kill and capture the enemy by the bushel. We have hurt the enemy badly. If this were not the case, there would not be any elections and the freedoms that I spoke of earlier. If you pay attention to the news, watch for this pattern: when a fight starts, it looks bad. But look at it again about two to three days later. We try to do it the nice way first, and then we kill them. We plan for a day, and then execute. It ensures that we win and do not get too hurt ourselves. So on day one in the news, it always looks bad, but by day two or three it is over. That is because we have stomped them hard.

Americans must be patient. It took seven years to rebuild Germany after World War II, and that was without an enemy shooting at us. I realize that patience is a hard for most Americans because they expect instant gratification. Come here for a week, and you will learn patience.


Final Thoughts

I guess first and foremost is that Iraqis are happy to be Iraqi despite what has happened to them under Saddam. They are Iraqi first, Arabs second, and Muslims a distant third. This is very important to know. The U.S. media portrays all Iraqi people as radicals who hate us. That is not the case at all. One of the greatest things that I have witnessed here was when an old man with his grandson approached me to say thank you. He stated that Iraq has been given an opportunity that comes only once in a hundred years. That opportunity is to rebuild Iraq with the help of the greatest nation on earth, America. I had a hard time trying to keep the tears back as he shook my hand.

— Major Scott Stanger, Task Force Warrior, Baghdad Iraq

Editor’s note: Scott Stanger is related by marriage to an HPU faculty member.



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