Progress IS Being Made

SGT Ron Long

If you want to know if progress is being made in Iraq, I can tell you, “YES.” As the Medic on the MTT (Military Training Team), I was personally involved in the training of hundreds of Iraqi Army troops (and some Iraqi Police).

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I’ll be praying for all those who are over in Iraq trying to win for the people there what we in the west take for granted. I applaud your courage and heroism.

If I had some words of criticism for those organizing the new government in Iraq, it would be this. The people in the Middle East are still essentially tribal - the term tribal is not to be confused with base or barbaric, rather, as a legitimate form of government… albeit on a much smaller scale than many of us are used to. How can one expect the people to settle into a democratic form of government when all they have ever known is tribalism and tyranny?

Personally, I think that only a small amount of progress will be made until a system of government more closely in tune with the traditions and values of the people is established. Perhaps it may take democratic form… but I suspect that simplicity and viability are more important than unchanged geographical boundaries and having a democratic republic in the region.

What do you think SGT Long?

God bless,



The simpliest form of government that I can think of that is along tribal lines is what Saddam had. A dictator who surrounded himself with his relatives and fellow tribesmen.

Is that what you are suggesting?

No, not at all. The size and scope of Saddam’s dictatorship , and the complete disregard he had for the lives of his subjects, would cut him out of the running for “ideal tribal leader” I’m afraid.

What I had in mind was the kind of social organization, perhaps with some modification, that they had prior to the rearrangement of the ME after WWII. For example, in a tribe there is normally a common line of descent that serves as an unbreakable bond (a bond of blood so to speak), as well as a series of common beliefs, etc. If the government took the form of an allegience of families of some sort it may work.

Anyway, though the allied tribe model is far different from Saddam’s tyrannical state, the concepts of hereditary succession and negligible government would be completely foreign to those who would actually make any decisions, so even if it were the best option, it would still be shunned as archaic and regressive. But then again, regression is the whole point that I’m trying to make I suppose. Let the people live in the most stable societal structure possible… which I would imagine as small family oriented governmental units (the less there is to break down the less often it will… like a deisel engine), independant in the day-to-day operations and unified in such things as defense, infrastructure, and possibly international affairs.

Perhaps is would be better to let them hash it out on their own with a new democratic system. I just have my doubts as to whether that will last long, especially since they have no experience with democracy historically (I am correct on that one, right? I can’t remember a democratic era before present times).

Just a thought…

God bless,


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