JUNE IS TOO SOON - THE IRAQI PEOPLE MUST NOT BE BETRAYED!
Ken Joseph Jr.
went up my spine as I read the sudden announcement of a
tentative agreement to disband the Coalition Provisional
Authority and American control in Iraq by June.
First for the shocking lack of understanding of the conditions
on the ground or even a cursory understanding of history
and second because I had been told over and over by Iraqis
that precisely this would happen.
I was in Iraq before the war during Sadaams time against
the war. Seeing and experiencing the sheer terror that the
people lived under and their desperate desire for the Americans
to come and liberate them regardless of the cost forced
me to change my position. `I Was Wrong`!
Immediately after the war when we returned to Baghdad with
the first post-war relief truck of water, medicine, food
and satellite telephones amidst the Euphoria and the joy
of Sadaam being gone and the people finally free I got into
A fight it turned out with someone who later on became a
member of the Governing Council of Iraq and was and is a
He was viewing the end of Sadaam and the entrance of the
Americans into the city with a very different view. I was
elated! As an Assyrian Christian we are the indigenous people
Most people forget that Iraq is Assyria, Mosul is Nineveh
where Jonah of the Whale fame came to call our people to
repent and the Assyrians are Christians.
After having been abused by Sadaam for 35 years and now
liberated by the Americans I told them all `Now everything
will be ok! You can trust the Americans. I was born and
raised in Japan and the Americans occupied Japan for seven
years until things were stable, there was a constitution
in force, elections were held and they still are there.
Dont worry! They will do the same in Iraq. `
Assyrian Christians along with the Iraqi Arabs were jubilant!
He was finally gone! Before the war when I was in Iraq Sadaams
picture was everywhere! Having gone there initially against
the war and having to change my mind when I saw how hated
he was it was a bizarre scene.
But now he was gone!
I was angry at my friend. `What is wrong with you! You are
always so negative! The Americans are here! They will make
everything right! They will never abandon our people like
the British did and they will never leave until everything
is put in place.`
He looked at me with a look of what seemed pity. As one
who had lived on the run for most of his life against Sadaam
and a student of history he was always cautious. But this
time I was angry.
He continued. `Ken, I am not being negative. I just want
to be realistic. I know the Americans. I hope and pray along
with you that they will do what they did in Japan - that
they will stay forever, that they will not leave until we
have a constitution and a bill of rights and stability.
But, Ken, the Americans are very impatient. They dont care
about us. They will stay maybe a year, maybe two but they
will leave and we will be left to fend for ourselves`.
Now I was very angry! `You are so ungrateful! Why did they
risk their lives to come here? They came because they care
and want to liberate Iraq and give our people a new life.
You should be ashamed of yourself` I said.
Quietly, though I began to understand why so many of the
Assyrian Christians had refused the help we had carefully
negotiated from the Americans.
They would always say `If the people see us being helped
by the Americans when they are gone the people will come
No matter how I tried to meet with him and others they were
all steadfast in their belief that at the end of the day
the Americans would not be there for them.
This affected everything - their reluctance to ever speak
what they really felt in meetings and the constant state
of intimidation I would see firsthand and their constant
fear that in the end they would be left alone and anything
they said or did would be held against them.
I can not forget those eyes. The eyes of my friend, of other
leaders and many of the common people. It was a look of
wistfulness. It was a look of hopelessness. It was a look
They were delighted at being free of Sadaam! They were delighted
at the coming of the Americans! There was dancing in the
streets! The streets even now are full at night - people
happy to for the first time in their lives surf the internet,
watch regular TV, talk on the telephone and to their friends
Why would they not be delirious!
But all the happiness was always tempered with the strongly
held believe that the Americans would soon tire, they would
be left alone and very possibly things would be worse than
even under Sadaam.
Until I read the news I argued forcefully in every opportunity
I could that the Americans would not leave.
Now what can I say when they look at me with that look and
say quietly `we told you so`!
June is too soon! We can not and must not disband the Coalition
Provisional Authority before the basics have been set up
- a Constitution, elections and an elected government in
I fully understand the elections coming up. I fully understand
the terrible casualties. I was supposed to be at the UN
Compound the day and time of the explosion. I fly into Baghdad
each time in a tiny plane maneuvering to make sure we do
not get shot down.
At the same time I remember how it was during Sadaam and
in spite of all the contrary reporting know how different
things are now!
We must not let forces of evil prevail! This is exactly
what they wanted - to tire out the Americans so they would
pull out so they could come back.
The world is watching! The people in similarly oppressed
countries are watching! The `thug rulers` throughout the
world are watching!
There was rejoicing throughout the world on the wrong side
with the announcement. The The `thug rulers` of the middle
east and throughout the world rejoiced!
The people, the regular people though quietly said `we told
The Americans owe it to the people of Iraq, the oppressed
peoples throughout the world and to those who gave their
precious lives not to create the Islamic Republic of Iraq.
The Iraqi people have a right to enjoy the same dream of
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in a free and
After 35 years of opression 14 months is impossibly too
soon! Most Iraqis still suffer from the psychological trauma
of having lived in hell for so many years! I have seen it
firsthand - in my family! Most still believe Sadaam is coming
back! It will take years before they are even in a psychologically
condition to be able to be `normal` again!
The American troops on the ground - and I know and work
with many of them on a daily basis - gladly have sacrificed
because they believe that the Iraqi people deserve just
what they have and after 35 years of opression now is their
Please prove my friend wrong! June is too soon! Don`t let
victory be snatched away because of impatience! We owe it
to those who gave their lives - all 423 of them - so Iraq
would be free!
Ken Joseph Jr. is an Assyrian and has been in Iraq
since March, directs Assyrianchristians.com and is writing
a book about his experience in Iraq entitled `I Was Wrong!`