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Iraqi Kiss

The two Iraqi young men seem to be trying to unnerve the American soldier holding a machine gun shortly after the invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003, the occupied goofing on the occupier.

Most Americans seem unable to imagine themselves in any way, shape or form a terrorist, and they get up in arms if you so much as even suggest it. But who is holding the gun on whom in this picture and for what reason?

We invaded a country that did not attack us. We killed as many as 15,000 innocent people in the first few days of the invasion. About 5,000 of these unfortunate Iraqis were completely innocent (collateral damage) noncombatants, and about 10,000 were in the military and/or fighting to defend their homeland.

15,000 dead Iraqis. That’s five times the number of innocents killed at the World Trade Center in 2001 when the Saudi Osama Bin Laden crashed his planes into it. And that is about one hundred times the number of innocents who were killed in Paris two Fridays ago.

What has happened to the fellows in the photo, three young men and a boy? Perhaps the two kissing Iraqis were in the Baath Party like many Iraqis were; you didn’t have to like Sadam Hussein to be in the Baath Party. You had to be in the Baath Party to get ahead and succeed. Perhaps they went on later to join ISIS. Where is the little boy today? Where is the American soldier?

George W. Bush, who didn’t know the difference between Shia and Sunni when he invaded, began the De-baathification of Iraq that would disenfranchise the Sunnis, installing the Shia, to the joy of Iran, into those positions of power the Sunnis had held. The Baath Party, whether you liked them or not, knew what was going on.

So lots of bad blood that Bush had known nothing about began to get spilled in Iraq, and terrorism began to flourish, first with Al Qaeda coming into the country and recruiting, and then Sunni factions morphing into the growing movement known as ISIS.

I got to know an Iraqi refugee for a little while here in New York. He had been a translator for American soldiers in Iraq. There, he soon had a price on his head and needed to get out of the country or he would be killed. Part of the deal to begin with was that he would be protected and would be offered refugee status. But the process took so long that it became obvious to him that he would be dead long before he ever left. And that is exactly what happened to many Iraqis who risked their necks to help the Americans. Dead before they left. He fled to Syria where he lived for awhile and then got passage to Canada as a refugee. It was easier for him to get into Canada than the States.

He told me that the Canadian government was nicer to refugees than the American. They paid your rent a little longer and they subsidized you a little longer until you could find a job and begin. In the States all help dried up quickly: it was sink or swim. I am not sure if he went back to Canada or stayed in the States. He really wanted to live in New York, but he may have settled on Toronto. I don’t know what the end of this story is. Nobody does.

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