Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2003]
Editor's Note: This is an open letter from U.S. Army Maj. Eric Rydbom in Iraq to the First Lutheran Church of Richmond Beach in Shoreline, Wash. Rydbom is Deputy Division Engineer of the
It has been a while since I have written to my friends at First Lutheran Church about what's really going on here in Iraq. The news you watch on TV is exaggerated, sensationalized and selective. Good news doesn't sell.
The stuff you don't hear about on CNN?
Let's start with electrical power production in Iraq. The day after the war was declared over, there was nearly
Then there is water purification. In central Iraq between Baghdad and Mosul, home of the
So some people got pool water to drink and some people got water with lots of little things floating around in it. We are slowly but surely solving that. Contracts for repairs to facilities that are only
How about oil and fuel? Well the war was all about oil wasn't it? You bet it was. It was all about oil for the Iraqi people! They have no other income, they produce nothing else. Oil is
The Refinery at Bayji is [operating] at 75 percent of capacity producing gasoline. The crude pipeline between Kirkuk (Oil Central) and Bayji will be repaired by tomorrow
You have to remember that only three months ago, all these things were used by the Saddam regime as weapons against the population to keep them in line. If your town misbehaved, gasoline shipments stopped, LPG pipelines and trucks stopped, water was turned off, power was turned off.
Now, until exports start, every drop of gasoline produced goes to the Iraqi people. Crude oil is being stored and the country is at
All LPG goes to the Iraqi people everywhere. Water is being purified as best it can be, but at least its running all the time to everyone.
Are we still getting shot at? Yep.
Are American soldiers still dying? Yep, about one a day from my outfit, the 4th Infantry Division, most in accidents, but dead is dead.
If we are doing all this for the Iraqis, why are they shooting at us?
The general Iraqi population isn't shooting at us. There are still bad guys who won't let go of the old regime. They are Ba'ath party members (Read Nazi Party, but not as nice) who have known nothing but and supported nothing but the regime all of their lives. These are the thugs for the regime who caused many to disappear in the night. They have no other skills. At least the Nazis [in Germany] had jobs and a semblance of a national infrastructure that they could go back to after the war, as plumbers, managers, engineers, etc. These people have no skills but terror. They are simply applying their skills ... and we are applying ours.
There is no Christian way to say this, but they must be eliminated and we are doing so with all the efficiency we can muster. Our troops are shot at literally everyday by small arms and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs). We respond. One hundred percent of the time, the
The most amazing thing to me is that they don't realize that if they stopped shooting at us, we would focus on fixing things more quickly and then leave back to the land of the Big PX. The more they shoot at us, the longer we will have to stay.
Lastly, all of you please realize that 90 percent of the damage you see on TV was caused by Iraqis, not by us and not by the war. Sure, we took out a few bridges from military necessity, we took out a few power and phone lines to disrupt communications, sure we drilled a few palaces and government headquarters buildings with
But, any damage you see to schools, hospitals, power generation facilities, refineries, pipelines, was all caused either by the Iraqi Army in its death throes or from much of the Iraqi civilians looting the places.
Could we have prevented it? Nope.
We can and do now, but 45 days ago, the average soldier was fighting for his own survival and trying to get to his objectives as fast as possible. He was lucky to know what town he was in much less be informed enough to know who owned what or have the power to stop 1,000 people from looting and burning a building by himself.
The United States and our allies, especially Great Britain, are doing a very noble thing here. We stuck our necks out on the world's chopping block to free an entire people from the grip of a horrible terror that was beyond belief.
I've already talked the weapons of mass destruction thing to death - bottom line, who cares? This country was one big conventional weapons ammo dump anyway. We have probably destroyed more weapons and ammo in the last
I'm living in a "guest palace" on a 500-acre palace compound with
WMD is an important issue. We have to find them wherever they may be (in Syria?), but that is not our real motivator. Don't let it be yours either.
ERIC RYDBOM MAJOR, ENGINEER
Deputy Division Engineer
4th Infantry Division
Origins: This item is "true" in the sense that Eric Rydbom is indeed an engineer stationed in Iraq with the Army's
The version being circulated on the Internet closes with the following line, which was not part of the original letter:
Last updated: 16 October 2007