Friday, July 06, 2007

Tribe America

Michael Yon, in his latest dispatch, describes a change in the air in Baqubah as operation Arrowhead Ripper reaches day 16:

The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the "al Ameriki tribe," or "tribe America."

...In the context of sectarian and tribal strife, we are the tribe that people can—more or less and with giant caveats—rely on.

This is great news and it shows that we have made progress on the ground in a real, tangible way. Interestingly, as I read this I couldn't help but think back to one of Bill Whittles' essays, Tribes:

...the people I associate with – my Tribe – consists not of blacks and whites and gays and Hispanics and Asians, but of individuals who do not rape, murder, or steal. My Tribe consists of people who know that sometimes bad things happen, and that these instances are opportunities to show ourselves what we are made of. My people go into burning buildings. My Tribe consists of organizers and self-starters, proud and self-reliant people who do not need to be told what to do in a crisis. My Tribe is not fearless; they are something better. They are courageous. My Tribe is honorable, and decent, and kind, and inventive. My Tribe knows how to give orders, and how to follow them. My Tribe knows enough about how the world works to figure out ways to boil water, ration food, repair structures, build and maintain makeshift latrines, and care for the wounded and the dead with respect and compassion.

Notice a link? Those that hate America won't, but luckily the Iraqis do and they are starting to understand our tribe, of which our brave soldiers are an excellent representation. Of course, it is easy to see the truth when you have lived under that other "tribe":

(Note: Skip this quote if you are faint of heart)

The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11-years-old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, "What did he say?" Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.

How does one read that without their blood boiling?
This is pure barbarity and unquestionable evil, and these monsters deserve every drop of our wrath. We must not tolerate it, wherever it exists, and we must be relentless in our pursuit of it. To stand idly by in face of such atrocity is, to me, un-American.

Keep up the great work Michael, and keep safe.