May 13, 2004

Quagmiristas, don't read this...

You gotta read this great article on the young volunteers working for the CPA:

..."When you go over there you hear the stories of what happened to the Iraqi people, you just want to do whatever you can to help, in whatever way possible. You can't help it, your heart goes out to them," Ledeen says.

"Contact with Iraqis has been inspiring," Brendan Lund says. "We've established such strong ties. By coming into the Green Zone [to see whether we're alright after there's been an attack], they put themselves at risk, because it's an admission that they are cooperating with or supporting the Coalition forces, which to some of their neighbors is not a popular idea right now.

"The majority of Iraqis support the effort. They don't want the U.S. here forever but they know that they need us now."

Ledeen's group lost one of its translators — she was murdered — but the next day all of her Iraqi colleagues nevertheless showed up for work. Another translator told her, at a time of heavy bombing in the Green Zone, simply: "I would die for you."...
. . . . . . . .

...If no one knows about the good stories, then surely no one knows about all the volunteers working day and night to make those good stories happen. Energetic, passionate young people going abroad to work on traditionally left-wing causes get plenty of accolades from the media. But risk your life to bring democracy to Iraq and in the eyes of many in the liberal elite you don't qualify as a humanitarian: You're a privileged Republican child interested only in advancing your already flourishing career.

Speak to a few of the volunteers, however, and a completely different picture emerges. Ledeen tells the story of an Iraqi colleague in the Ministry of Finance — an older man with a family — who found a grenade in his home. He said he supposed it was an occupational hazard, and added, "I really admire you. You're all so young, you don't have to be here." Ledeen responded, "It's the opposite. We're here because we're young. We're going to have to live in this world for a long time, and we don't really like it right now."...

The article totally shreds that piece in Washington Monthly that claimed that the CPA was full of Republican fluffbrains put there as some sort of political payoff. Which was always absurd on the face of it: "As thanks for your donations, the Republican party would like to send you a signed portrait of George and Laura. And a chance to live in a trailer in the Green Zone, and work 14 hours a day!"

Posted by John Weidner at May 13, 2004 8:51 AM
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