An Iraqi thank-you

Discussion in 'Military' started by Stephanie, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. Stephanie

    Stephanie Diamond Member

    Jul 11, 2004
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    Of course we'd never get to read somthing like this in the MSM..

    J. Michael Sharman
    Independent columnist who practices law in Culpeper
    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    Ordinary citizens appreciate the work being done by Americans

    Earlier this year, Erik Duane was living in California with his wife and daughter and working in Cerritos College’s information technology department!

    Now, he is Gunnery Sgt. Erik Duane, a Civil Affairs Group Marine in Al Asad, Iraq.

    Duane’s list of his team’s projects is a microcosm of what the U.S. is doing throughout Iraq: “We have water and sewage treatment projects planned, as well as numerous repairs to the local schools and residences. We are also working closely with the local leaders to establish a strong governance in this aea.”

    His troops call him “Gunny,” and Shu’aib Barzan Hamreen Al Aubaidy, the local policeman and waste disposal manager, calls him a friend and brother. “Gunny has helped improve our lives greatly. He has started projects to pick up our trash and to help give us clean water. He even helped deliver us bottled water when there was an attack on the water treatment plant.”

    Gunny has been made a member of Shu’aib’s tribe, the Aubaidy tribe. Gunny is now considered Shu’aib’s brother and family member.

    A few hundred miles to the east in Baghdad, Sadiq works as an Iraqi project engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engi-neers.
    He has been doing a $22 mil-lion upgrade on the Al Wathba Water Treatment Plant to bring safe drinking water to Baghdad.

    “Without this investment, Al Wathba would have had to be shut down,” he cautioned. “The old equipment could not have continued to handle the de-mand.”

    Sadiq said, “The renovation included state-of-the-art new pumps, pipes, filters, new chlorination system, and new controls for automatic operation. We expanded the plant’s capacity almost 2½ times … Last week we tested the system and immediately started getting ‘thank you’ calls from area residents who appreciate the increased pressure and quantity of fresh water available in their homes and businesses.”

    About 4.2 million more Iraqis have safe drinking water and 5.1 million more have access to sewage treatment than had them before the U.S. overthrew Saddam in April of 2003.

    Capt. Daniel Cederman works around Takrit where Iraqi inves-tors had reasoned that since there is huge unemployment in that area, and all the bottled water in Iraq is imported, build-ing a new water and soda bot-tling plant was a good business idea.
    And it was until 100 percent of their money was gone but 20 percent of the job still remained.

    Cederman is helping the Iraqi businessmen get that last 20 percent out of a bank account in New York City, but not from U.S. taxpayers.

    The money is coming from a fund created with assets that were confiscated from Saddam Hussein’s old regime.

    “This type of project will help strengthen the economic and social projects of our citizens, male and female alike,” said Kadhin Nori Abid, Ph.D., an expert in vocational education. “These jobs will help the families … be able to afford things that were not possible to afford before.”

    The Takrit bottling plant is not an isolated situation. Since the U.S. arrival to Iraq in 2003, there have been 30,000 new businesses created.

    But businesses need compe-tent workers.
    Cederman and Abid are also working together to build an industrial vocational school.

    They want men and women to learn plastic production technology, masonry, carpentry, petroleum equipment maintenance and repair, farm machinery and automotive repair.
    Abid said, “I feel it’s impor-tant this center can educate people how free and democratic countries around the world operate and how (their) people live.”

    American businesses are donating the money to buy the curriculum and to train Iraqi instructors.

    The school’s students support themselves by working in the school’s textile mills producing uniforms for the Iraqi army and police.

    Hundreds of thousands more students, 325,000 more, attend the 834 new schools and the nearly 3,000 renovated schools that have been built in Iraq since the fall of Saddam.

    Better water, safe sewage treatment, reliable electricity, new small businesses, more students attending more schools - that’s what we’re doing there.

    Duane’s friend, Shu’aib said, “Gunny is the lion. We call him that because he is a great friend and does everything he can for us.
    “People throughout the town thank me for what I have done, and I tell him, ‘Don’t thank me, thank the Marines. They are the ones who make us able to do this. Gunny is my bother.”
    There is a sweet, sweet sound to that Iraqi thank you.!editorials

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