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I’m Still Looking For The Word “Quagmire”…

Posted by Chad on September 20, 2005

The following is an email from Col. G. Scott McConnell my sister received in response to some questions she had asked about the current situation in Iraq. Oddly enough, things seem to actually be progressing over there. How ’bout it MSM…?


I appreciate your willingness to seek answers on what is clearly a difficult (and distant) subject.

As for me, I am a colonel in the U.S. Army. I am assigned to the Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I) headquarters and have been since January. Our headquarters is in Baghdad. It is actually split in two locations. I live at Camp Victory (16 sq mi. in area with approximately 23,000 service members and civilians living on the camp). The other part of our headquarters is in downtown Baghdad – in what use to be called the Green Zone (because on our maps this portion of the city was outlined in green.) but is now known as the International Zone (IZ). Our headquarters in the IZ is co-located with the U.S. Embassy – Baghdad. My boss GEN George Casey and Ambassador Zahl Khalilzad are the senior Americans in Iraq. Both of these men orchestrate the reconstruction of Iraq and most importantly attempt on a daily basis to help fulfill United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. In short, 1546 gives the U.S. the responsibility of helping Iraq achieve a democratic government. The long and short of 1546 is that the UN body desires to have a stable and peaceful Iraq. A peaceful and stable Iraq will help stabilize the region. Iraq actually exports about 8% of the world’s oil production. Events in Iraq actually impact the world oil market which ultimately impacts the global economy.

In my current job, I travel back and forth to the IZ in convoys and helicopters about six days a week. I am amazed at the changes I have seen as we travel – literally hundreds of homes have been built, schools are in session, there are traffic jams (Iraq imported over a million cars in the past year.), and commerce appears to be booming. Since October of 2004, we built or refurbished many water treatment plants and wells some for villages of 500; some for cities of 50,000 to 200,000. All of Iraq has electricity for over 12 hours per day. (Doesn’t sound like much, but many villages and towns had no power under the Hussein Regime.) We also built or remodeled over 340 schools.

As for the violence depicted on the news. Is Iraq violent? Yes parts of it are. Is Nigeria? Yes. Over 150 people a day are murdered in Lagos, Nigeria. It seems, however, that the media broadcasts every attack that results in a death or injury and implies that every part of Iraq is in a shambles. Here are some enlightening facts:

– Baghdad is no more violent than Chicago was in the 70s and 80s

– Iraq consists of 18 provinces and on a daily basis, only four of the 18 provinces have more than three insurgent attacks per day. The rest are very peaceful and stable.

– Less than 1/10 of 1% of the population actively participates or supports the insurgency that the Iraqi people face. Granted, in a country of 25 million, that is not an insignificant number, but imagine going to Hershey and trying to identify a single “bad guy or gal” out of a crowd of 1000. The balance of the population grows weary of the minority that are attempting to destroy their hopes for a democratic and flourishing Iraq, and we’re seeing more and more using police Tip lines to report who these insurgents are.

Given the demographics of the insurgency, you might ask your school mates whether it is appropriate to leave the other 99.90% of the population to fend for themselves knowing that they presently lack the means to do so. and knowing what the impact could be on the region.

Hope this helps. If you have any other specific questions, please feel free to contact me.

COL G. Scott McConnell

Chief, Commander’s Initiatives Group

MNFI HQs, CP Victory, IZ

Big ‘ole tip of the hat to my sis for forwarding this to me. I have to say, for a teenage girl in her sophomore year in high school to actually want to find out answers about the world outside her circle of friends is impressive…. Most impressive. Gives me some hope about the future generation.

Thanks kiddo! Keep it up.

(I need the traffic…)

And of course, the most heartfelt gratitude goes out to Col. McConnell and his family. Thank you, sir.


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