Counter-Terrorism: For a Fistful of Candy


January 31, 2008: While one gets the impression that most Iraqis hate American troops, that's only partially true. The Sunni Arabs have the biggest reason to hate, but these days, the few Sunni Arabs left in Iraq, are quite friendly with the U.S. soldiers and marines. These Americans are the main thing that prevents the Shia Arab death squads from resuming their mass murders. Kids in general like the American troops. The U.S. soldiers and marines are, well, just like the movies. Except the super soldiers are right in front of you. It took a while, but even the kids noticed that the Americans were careful with their weapons. None of this firing in the air, or at "anything that moves" stuff. The media concentrates on the few times that American troops do hit civilians, but the average Iraqi has did the math after a few years, and realized they were safer when around the Americans. The kids also like the spontaneity and generosity of these Americans with guns. The G.I.s and marines look intimidating as hell, but they will smile, and give you candy. While some kids worked for the terrorists, they eventually figured out they were on the losing side. Learning English has become popular with young Iraqis, as has figuring out how to get into the United States.

It's not just the troops that influence the kids. Stories of encounters with Arab-American soldiers and marines spread far and fast. Arab-American civilians serving as translators also help spread good will, by getting off to the side and just chatting with Iraqis about what it's like living in America, and getting along with non-Moslem, non-Arab Americans. All this fraternization is no accident. While the U.S. troops and civilians are inclined to be nice to Iraqis, there are also deliberate efforts to develop better relations between troops and civilians. This has been going on for years, and has paid off in more cooperation, and telephoned tips about terrorist activity.




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