Monday, September 29, 2008


One of the many street dogs that roam the neighborhood. They're all harmless and spend their days lounging around in the sand or in the shade not bothering anyone.

Driving out of the compound yesterday I watched in horror as a young Iraqi man raised a 2-foot piece of black rubber hose above his head and violently brought it down onto one the the street dogs that populate the neighborhood. If the dog hadn't leaped out of the way he certainly would have hit the dog. The man stood there and laughed as he raised the hose again for another try.

I was greatly tempted to halt the car, get out, and give the man a bit of his own medicine. In retrospect I wish that I had, but we kept moving as we had a client in the car with us. I bit my lip knowing that I had made the best decision for the client in the back of the car, and fought back my rage against the bully with the hose. The next time I'm not so sure that I can be as controlled.

I used the incident as a teaching point to one of our Iraqi counterparts, explaining to him how Americans, and other westerns, hate injustice and loath bullies. It's in our nature to stick up for the down-trodden, and oppressed. I went so far as to use the Special Forces motto De Oppresso Liber as an example. All of this was new to him and I think difficult to understand, as the Arab mentality is to loath weakness of any kind. This is what allowed the man to mistreat the complacent dog sleeping in the street; it made him feel strong to pick on the weak. I wonder how strong he would have felt if I had stopped and "had a chat" with him?


Anonymous said...


I found this story very poignant,I've also been in similar situations whilst with a client when I would dearly have loved to intervene in an unrelated situation but could not.

I'm not sure though whether any race or culture has a monoply on cruelty.
I remember with disgust the video on utube of a Marine throwing a puppy off a cliff in Iraq a year or so ago.
Cruelty and sadism are present in all cultures but never in the spirit of a true warrior.
I enjoy your blog immensely,

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/29/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Anonymous said...

Chatting is one of my favorite ways to get someones attention.

I like to do it with my face about 5 inches from the receipients face.

Glad to see Iraq hasn't hardened everyone that has done time there.

Anonymous said...

Well..the thing about your comments on how Americans hate bullies is of course that would be the American people. The American government, on the other hand, are bullies and have been for a long, long time. Our bullying policies after WWII where we intervened to prop up fascist governments to counter communist or the threat of communist governments is a classic example. From Greece, Italy, Africa and of course, Central/South America are some of the scenes of some good old fashioned American bullying.

And one cannot forget the bullying action we took to force our will on the Vietnamese. How did that work out for us? We supressed democracy, installed brutal and oppressive puppet regimes and them fled with our tail twixt our legs wondering what happened.

We, in effect, took a big rubber hose and used it on Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala. We used one on Mosadegh in Iran. We used one on Allende in Chile. And of course the list goes on and on. We hit them because we could and for short term gains. Some of those strikes are still haunting us as with Iran.

If our government were as noble as our people then we truly would be a great nation. As it is, we are a bully on the block with citizens that mean well and a government that does as it will and with a lot of malicious intent.

One could say that we took a big rubber hose and swung mightily at Saddam Hussein because we could. That dog is still biting us too. I find it ironic that you would lecture Iraqis about how the U.S. hates bullies, when on the global block we are the biggest and most careless bullies out there. What we did in our invasion of Iraq was a classic bully boy operation. Unprovoked we went in and killed, destroyed and occupied. I wouldn't be surprised if the recipients of your lessons ignore you. Perhaps the Iraqi with the hose striking at the dog was just practicing to be an American.
Demo Guy