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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am
US servicemen and contractors discuss Iraq, the elections, and insurgents …
Marine Corps First Sergeant Brad Kasal:
The insurgents are oppressing normal people. The press never reports the good things. When we open a school or fix a sewer, the things that make normal Iraqis happy, they never report it. There are plenty of Iraqis, thousands of them, who want to live normal lives. If we can help them it will be all right. The people just want peace and freedom.
Lt. Col. Mark Smith, Commander of the USMCR 2/24 Marines:
Thousands of Iraqi citizens WALKED to the polls to vote! They walked to the polls, they waited in lines for hours, and they voted. They had been threatened with death if they did so, and they voted! They voted for the first time in their lives as FREE men and women. They voted among falling mortars. In Yusufiyah, 20 separate mortar attacks were attempted. Fox would identify the origin, and counter-fire. The enemy was highly ineffective because one, he knew Fox would shoot back, and two, he has been so shot up and decimated he is using his junior varsity, which with these guys the varsity is suspect at best.
In Lutafiyah, they tried to mortar and then escape, which is what these cowards do. Too bad for this mortar crew their route of egress was cut by a Mobile Strike Team. Well, suffice it to say, one of them will never be a mortarman or anything else ever again, and two were apprehended, and all of their weaponry and mortar tubes seized! They tried to mortar in Al Rasheed as well, and were attempting to use a four man observation team to direct the accuracy of their rounds. Seems bad luck was all-around this day for the insurgents as one of our Sniper teams put an immediate and permanent halt to that activity.
Military contractor Gary Kruger:
There were people there that never had electrical power or clean water to drink until we got there and gave it to them.
I never talked to an Iraqi who wasn’t glad we were there. Those resisting us are mostly Syrians, Iranians and members of the Baath party, Hussein’s people.
Maj. Scott Stanger, operations officer in the 153rd Infantry, 39th Infantry Brigade:
The kids were all over the place, playing in the streets while their parents voted. The kids walked with us for about 2 miles while we were talking to the adults. I have never seen anything like it.
People everywhere wanted to talk to us and thank us. This is what it must have been like when the Allies liberated Paris.
Iraqis of all ages wanted to shake our hands and thank us for allowing them to vote. The kids were proud to tell us that their parents voted. Adult after adult wanted to thank us for making this day happen.
Maj. Randy Bruett, attached to the 445 Civil Affairs Battalion:
The torch of freedom lit in 1776 has now been passed to Afghanistan and Iraq. This is America’s payment for what we have received from the ancient world.
Your Marines and soldiers acted marvelously. I am struck by how young they are, yet how mature. They know that they are the true ambassadors and representatives of the United States. I still do not know how our country continues to produce such admirable young men and women.
I was responsible for the conduct of the election site in a small rural village named Nasser wa Al Salaam. This village lies between Fallujah and the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. We had two polling stations in our sector: mine, and another at an industrial factory on the outskirts of Fallujah.
Nasser wa Al Salaam was supposed to be a boring backwater with the Fallujah site the main effort. But no one told the voters this. The factory had just over 200 voters; Nasser wa Al Salaam polled nearly 5,000 voters, with almost 40 percent of them women.
The director for this polling site was Muhammad from Nasiriya, in the south of Iraq. He was nervous because he wanted everything to go well, but he was excited about making history. He told me twice, “God willing, tomorrow we will make history together!�? We did.
Sgt. Michael Scott Evans II:
Please don’t ever forget what I died for, and never let anyone disrespect that.