On air: Are you celebrating Iraq’s National Sovereignty Day?

Baghdad partiesHere’s a quote from the first e-mail i opened today :

“the atmosphere down here is feverish and electric, like a huge celebration or something, there’s a mixture of joy, pride, fear, and apprehension.”

The e-mailer is Lubna, our long time WHYS friend and contributor, studying medicine in Baghdad. For many of the WHYS community we’ve seen the story in Iraq through Lubna’s eyes.

We’ve heard her optimism drain away when she lost close friends in the violence that engulfed the country for a period and she told us how for a period of months she was effectively housebound because it was too dangerous to go out. Now, she describes the mood in her part of the city as the U.S troops withdraw from Baghdad and other major cities across the country. The troops won’t disappear altogether until 2011 but today is a big day none the less. It’s been declared National Soveriegnty Day and the Iraqi government says it marks the beginning of the end of the American invasion and a “great victory ” .( a form of words which hasn’t pleased everyone in the U.S administration). A day that’s seen their forces suffer another 4 losses : making more than 4,300 deaths in their ranks since 2003.

Update: Joining Lubna on the programme today will be MJ, an American mother who lost her soldier son in Iraq – she thinks the withdrawal of troops from urban areas will be a disaster. Also, Taghreed who lives in Erbil in the North – she agrees with MJ. Our fourth guest will be John, an American soldier who served for four years in Iraq, two as an Army Major and two as a consultant – he thinks the withdrawal to base is a good thing.

So are you celebrating along with many Iraqis today? Is Iraq in a better place than it was six years ago? Or are you, like some commentators, including the Iraqi Interior Minister, worried that “June 30 is not an historical endpoint to be celebrated by political philosophers; it is the beginning of a highly uncertain chapter in Iraqi democracy and self-governance.”

Are you happy with direction Iraq is moving in as it moves towards full sovereignty? Let’s not forget that the Iraqi president was the second world leader to rush to congratulate President Ahmedinejad’s victory, that ten people died only yesterday in a car bomb in Mosul, and alongside the 4,300 grieving families in the U.S, there are thousands too, grieving in Iraq.

Today we’re going to gather together a small group of people who have lived through the US troop presence most personally – Iraqis and Americans, including, of course, Lubna.

Post your questions or comments to them here, and of course you own feelings about what the last six years have brought, and the road that lies ahead.

166 Responses to “On air: Are you celebrating Iraq’s National Sovereignty Day?”

  1. June 30, 2009 at 11:24

    My dearest Mark,
    Good afternoon from Baghdad, the city of pain, hope and magic tales. Oh yes Mark, today it’s almost like an Eid (feast) down here in my Baghdad particularly and in Iraq in general. You’d find Iraqis in public parks and streets partying, singing, and dancing. Iraqis TV channels and Radio stations are playing patriotic songs and live shows are being broadcast on air in which ordinary Iraqis are phoning in inorder to express their feelings and emotions. There’s a deep sense of joy and pride among ordinary Iraqis, so today represents a huge step in the long road towards achieving full sovereignty. Today we got our streets back from the occupiers, those annoying scenes of US occupation forces wandering our streets with arrogance as if they own them won’t hopefully be seen again, YEAH ! 🙂

    • June 30, 2009 at 18:11

      This is a great day for all troops, US and Iraqi. Thank goodness it does not resemble the US exit from Vietnam. As the US presence drops there is only one route out of the country. Hopefully there will not be a spike in troop deaths. One lesson that should have been learned is more comes from public contact and works than firearms. FOREST GROVE OREGON

      • June 30, 2009 at 18:17

        The last years should be a lesson that society and governing is a learning and evolving process. It should also be noted that it is hazardous to try to transfer one society’s institutions on another.

  2. June 30, 2009 at 11:39

    Salaam again… So as I was saying before, the fact that the US occupation forces won’t be seen again wandering our streets does really mean alot to us, but there’s also a sense of justified fear and apprehension among us down here, and the terrorist attacks that took place in my Iraq during the past few days justify that fear and apprehension. We’re fearful that things may deteriorate in the future, but at the same time‏ ‏we’re hoping for the best to come. I mean we’ve been through so much so far, and it just feels like there’s absolutely no possibility of getting back to those black and bloody days again, Iraqis now know better, and they do deserve better, they do. Thanks a million Mark for your xtraordinarily kind words. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad.

    • 5 Jessica in NYC
      June 30, 2009 at 17:33

      My hope is that you are able to defend yourselves from terrorist and women continue to roam the streets and are “allowed” to be educated. I think it is a naive notion to think Iraqis will be free from occupation.

      I have lost family and friends in Iraq, too. They will never come home. I wish all my country men and women could come home today and let Iraqis fight for their own sovereignty.

      • July 1, 2009 at 08:59

        Who do they fight to regain thier sovereignty? The Americans seized and trampled on the Soveregnty of Iraq. It is these invaders who should pull-out, zip-up and leave Iraq in peace. Nothing short of this will restore full Sovereignty to Iraq.

  3. 7 Crispo
    June 30, 2009 at 12:10

    Lubna, am delighted to hear that the scene in Baghdad is that of partying, celebration, and all superlatives you could use to paint this scene. I do hope that those of you who are pragmatic enough, too, must be or are at least expressing reservations, for until we prove otherwise, chances are this new found sovereignty might turn into loud wails. I do wish a final peace could return to Iraq. This country has insurgents who, have been kept largely at bay, by the very forces who are now departing, thanks to Obama.

    I only hope that, once the withdrawal is done, now that it is up and running, will: rid Iraq of the sectarian tendencies, insurgence riddled as jihad, and improve on the general welfare of the average Iraqi.

  4. 8 Henry Nyakoojo, Kampala
    June 30, 2009 at 12:22

    The real story is not the “end” of the US forces in urban areas of Iraq. The real story is today’s auctioning off of the country’s oil fields to American and other foreign companies. Many suspected the Bush invasion of Iraq had nil to do with weapons of mass destruction and everything to do with oil. President Al Maliki is a joker for declaring National Sovereignty Day on the occasion of auctioning off of the country’s most important economic asset. I suggest that George W Bush be allowed five minutes on CNN to unfurl that famous banner of six years ago, for it is today that truly the mission is accomplished. If I were Iraqi, I wouldn’t celebrate just yet.

  5. 9 Ibrahim in UK
    June 30, 2009 at 12:33

    First let me congratulate Lubna on staying positive and seeing it through to watching occupier troops leave her city. May all occupied people live to see this joy.

    And now, sorry to be so pessimistic so soon during the debate, but I have the following questions for the Iraqis:

    1. Is the Iraqi government a legitimate leader for the Iraqi people or do they see it as an extension of the occupation still subservant to Washington?

    2. The visible sign of the occupation is ending, but what about the “invisible” signs? Does Iraq have full sovereignty over it’s affairs and its security, defence, borders, policies etc?

    3. How do Iraqis feel seeing their national oil and gas fields being sold off? Are they at all concerned that (according to some), the main driver for going to war in Iraq was to de-nationalise Iraq’s oil and allow foreign ownership?

    May your future be bright, and good luck in your studies

  6. 10 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 12:57

    It’s not US forces blowing up people on a daily basis because they are a member of the other sect. Keep that in mind.

    • 11 Jessica in NYC
      June 30, 2009 at 17:49

      People cannot be bother to remember such details, Steve. My fear, is that things will deteriorate quickly and all the lives lost will be for nothing. People forget that while half the country want us out the other half is beginning us to stay. As I have said, I am against our occupation of Iraq and wish ALL our men and women could come home now. Why should we be in a country were people call US soldiers “arrogance as if [we] own the streets” then say they are afraid of terrorist, they very thing the soldiers are helping them fight off.

  7. 12 patti in cape coral
    June 30, 2009 at 13:09

    Congratulations to Lubna and all Iraqis today who are joyful. For all those who are worried, I hope the best for you all. There are so many hidden agendas and political motives when it comes to these kind of decisions, that I really don’t feel like I can make an educated opinion on this. People on this blog (and others) will hold opposite views and seem to have evidence in favor of their opinions, so it gets kind of confusing for me. But I don’t have to understand fully to wish you peace and prosperity.

  8. 13 Ann
    June 30, 2009 at 13:11

    I send kindest wishes and hopeful prayers to all the people of Iraq…

    May you enjoy peace, security, prosperity, stability and enduring happiness.

    And thank you Lubna, for giving us a window to your world 🙂

  9. 14 Steve in Boston
    June 30, 2009 at 13:16

    Dear Lubna,

    I predict that within a year or even less you will be longing for the good old days of “annoying scenes of US occupation forces wandering our streets with arrogance as if they own them.”

    Be careful what you wish for. However your wish is granted, and you’re soon to be on your own. We’re happy; I hope you are too.

    Best of luck.

    Steve in Boston

  10. June 30, 2009 at 13:22

    Salaam again guys. And Salaam Ibrahim in the UK, Crispo, Henry, and Steve. Let me 1st answer Ibrahim’s questions, and then Inshallah I’ll get back to the rest of you guys : 1- The current Iraqi PM Mr Al Maliki is the legitimate leader of Iraq, some may argue (and I’m one of them) that the 2005 parliamentary elections were conducted on sectarian bases, but the huge victory all over Iraq that Mr Al Maliki has achieved in 2009 provincial elections has proved to a large extent his popularity and given a huge boost to the legitimacy of his leadership. Both 2005 parliamentary and 2009 regional elections were fully democractic, and nobody at all intervened inorder to change or rig the results of polls… More later…

  11. 16 VictorK
    June 30, 2009 at 13:36

    I’m glad that the British army’s combat role in Iraq ended earlier in the year.

    There was no British interest in Iraq, we shouldn’t have been there, and I resented the fact that British soldiers were dying to bring a better life to people who seemed then, as now with the Americans, unable to feel the slightest gratitude for the British army’s efforts. Even with the WMD lies & the neocon agenda of regime subversion, Iraqis were liberated from Saddam and given an opportunity – that they could never have made for themselves – for a brighter future. That they’ve squandered it so badly is entirely their fault.

    The Americans, having ended their direct military role, need to be resolute enough not to allow themselves to become entangled in Iraq all over again since, unfortunately, I expect the Iraqis to use the reduced US presence to really get down to the business of sectarian and ethnic bloodletting. I hope I’m wrong & that Iraqis will make a better future for themselves. If they don’t then, said as it will be, it won’t be Britain’s or America’s problem. There will be little to celebrate in the months to come.

  12. June 30, 2009 at 13:40

    Salaam again Ibrahim in the UK, back to answering your questions : Mr Al Maliki is known among us Iraqis for his patriotism and national approach, and I am so sure that he’ll continue to seek a relationship with the US government that’s not the relationship of slave and master but the relationship of friendship between equivalents, I guess that you and I will have to wait until after 2011 inorder to judge the shape of relationship between Iraq and the US and whether there’re still any invisible signs of the American occupation hiding behind the scenes. Ibrahim, today doesn’t mark the absolute end of the US occupation of my Iraq, today is only a symbolic beginning and a step in the long road towards achieving that goal, a huge and a very important step though, and it does really mean alot for us down here in Iraq, alot. very st

  13. 18 ali in Cairo
    June 30, 2009 at 14:16

    Congratulations on your National Sovereignty day!

    This is truly a day for all Iraqi’s to celebrate. As am American who has been involved with the efforts to rebuild Iraq, I too am celebrating!

    So far as the comment by Henry Nyakoojo, Kampala – may I point out that as of the time of this posting, the only “contract” announced is for BP and their Chinese partner; so much for the impotent jab at Bush, et al. But, Henry, please keep charging ahead expounding this urban legend, it is people like you who can keep it alive and keep the focus off of the accomplishments others who have spent years working to try to bring Iraq back into the rest of the world. Lubna’s ability to post to this blog is a direct result of those efforts, and may I mention that those efforts were made by “Coalition” (not just Americans!) including thousands of Iraqi’s.

    Congrats, Lubna! I hope this is just the first of many days and years of celebration in Iraq, in a country where all of it’s citizens can celebrate in peace and safety.

  14. 19 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 14:22

    While I wish Lubna the best of luck, I only see the sercurity situation deteriorating in iraq. Recall that the US and other allies occupied Japan and Germany for decades after WW2, and not only was there no sectarian strife in those countries, they also emerged as some of the world’s largest economies and most successful nations. While I’m sure occupation isn’t fun, Americans aren’t killing people over the succession of someone who died 1500 years ago.

  15. 20 anu_D
    June 30, 2009 at 14:24

    Iraqi Sovereignty day is a positive milestone that has to be welcomed.

    Things will not necessarily be better from tomorrow…and may even dip a bit in the short term…. but things are heading in the right direction…over the mid and long term

    The only way to cure the disease and not the symptom is to let Iraqis take care of their own problems as a sovereign nation….with help “offered” from outside and extended to the extent that the Iraqis want it.

    I have been into Iraq a few times on business from Kuwait….. have Iraqis working for me…they are proud and an intelligent race quite capable of sorting, organizing and advancing themselves….academically sound, religiously moderate and by no means fanatic like their neighbors.

    And that backed by the Billions of Barrel of Oil wealth should in the next 5 years see Iraq not only stabilize, but boom economically also.

    anu_D in Kuwait

  16. June 30, 2009 at 14:34

    Hi WHYSers,

    On this one I am not so sure. For one, I would have loved the Americans to clear up the mess they started uninvited in Iraq. But on the other hand, “annoying scenes of US occupation forces wandering our streets with arrogance as if they own them.” is not something I would wish upon any people.
    And since the Americans were uninvited and served to foment more bloodshed than Saddam Hussein, I think I have no qualms with the selection of words- “marks the beginning of the end of the American invasion and a “great victory ”” -the Iraqi government is using here. But like someone said, I hope the Americans are pulling out militarily as well as commercial-wise{read oil}

    PS: This is for Mark Sandell, was it wrong for Al-Maliki to congratulate Ahmadinejad?

  17. June 30, 2009 at 14:35

    Now both Ibrahim in the UK and Henry have raised a very important point about our oil and natural resources, and I can assure all of you guys that we ordinary Iraqis are actually feeling very concerned about this matter, but at the same time, as long as there won’t be Production Sharing agreements which last either indefinitely or a very long period of time between us and the foreign oil companies, then I do believe that we’re on the same side… Now thanks a million to Crispo, Ann, and Patti, and to my dearest Steve in Boston : Your kindness and sensitivity are leaving me totally speechless, all I can say to you is this : Over 15 of my loved ones were murdered since 2003 and till now (relatives, close friends, college colleagues, and professors) despite the US military presence in my Iraq, and Inshallah within a year from now if I were alive and you were alive, we’ll talk on this very blog about what have just said…

  18. 23 K.Anaga
    June 30, 2009 at 14:38

    What have the Americans achieved by this war? What have Iraq benefited?
    Is the world a better place to live?

  19. June 30, 2009 at 14:51

    Salaam again. Just wanted to say a few things to some of our friends who are predicting the worse for our future : During the 2009 regional elections in our Iraq, a very important fact has emerged to the surface; Iraqis didn’t go to the polls inorder to elect their representatives in the provincial counsil b/c this or that particular candidate belongs to a certain ethnic or religious background, but b/c this or that particular candidate promised them to bring peace and stability back to them,or to improve the quality of public services in their areas, so that means that we ordinary Iraqis have finally got over to a significant extent a very important obstacle, which is actually a product of the US led invasion of my Iraq i.e. SECTARIAN DEMOCRACY, so I’m so glad to say that my Iraq is putting its feet on the right road. Viva Iraq ! 🙂

  20. June 30, 2009 at 14:53

    The withdrawal of US troops from Iraq’s cities is going to be a real test for all the Iraqis to show the world that they are a united nation after years of self-inflicting harms resulting in massive deaths that Iraq probably haven’t seen the like since the Middle Ages. It’s up to them to show to the world that their country can be secure and stable without necessarily being under the grip of a dictator. Saddam had credit for keeping Iraq secure but by subjecting his people to all sorts of fear and brutality. It remains to see if Iraq can be secure by enjoying full freedom under the rule of democracy and the fair share of its wealth.

    Anyway, the US withdrawal from cities must be a new beginning as the Iraqis can feel ruled by themselves and they can move around without the sight of an invader that have made many feel under occupation instead of enjoying their freedom from Saddam dictatorship.

  21. 26 Mark Sandell
    June 30, 2009 at 14:56

    Muthee, no i didn’t say whether it was right or wrong to congratulate Mr Ahmedinejad, just that from an official American point of view, it would be a concern for them to see closer ties between Iran and Iraq, as there have been accusations that Iran has sponsored terrorism inside Iraqi borders.

    Sorry for not making that clear.

  22. 27 Shannon
    June 30, 2009 at 14:58

    Lubna, I have read your posts from Baghdad for a long time, and am very greatful you chose to share your insights with the world. WHYS listeners from every corner of the globe who frequent this blog are in your debt. I hope you will continue to post as Iraq enters this new phase, that is at once filled with hope and enthusiasm, as well as uncertainty and fear.

    Please keep in mind that MANY Americans including myself were opposed to invading your country from the start. We protested against the war, and pressured our elected representatives to move toward the drawdown that you are witnessing now. I know that you and the rest of the Iraqi people have suffered mightily during this time, and my heart goes out to you. American families and communities have suffered, too–and the war has taken a devastating toll on the U.S. economy, a toll that is now being felt far outside of U.S. borders.

    I do want to ask the following question:

    –In order for Iraq to thrive isn’t it necessary for ALL Iraqis to honestly deal with the very real fact of sectarian tension and violence? How will they do that? What programs or strategies will the government use to truly unify Shi’as, Sunnis, Kurds, Christains, and some of the smaller ethnic and religious groups residing within Iraq?

    I wish all the best for you and your country.

  23. 28 Andrew in Australia
    June 30, 2009 at 15:03

    Just my birthday!

  24. 29 Methusalem
    June 30, 2009 at 15:06

    I think, Arabs should learn how to be greatful to other nations who have actively helped them in saving them from themselves throughout history. Can you imagine how Africans would be thankful from the bottom of their heart, if 3000 thousand soldiers from the U.S. or the U.K had died, fighting for the safety and wellbeing of Somalis, Sudanese or Congolese?

  25. June 30, 2009 at 15:14

    Thanks a million Ali and Anu-D, and Hi Steve in Virginia, thanks a million for your kinds wishes but Inshallah the upcoming days will prove you wrong ! 🙂

  26. June 30, 2009 at 15:17

    I am so happy that Lubna is happy; I really am. However, Obama’s real
    policy on the ground has not changed much from that of Bush. We still
    have troops in Iraq. We still have corrupt private corporations in
    Iraq squandering American tax dollars. We still use ineffective
    methods against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and have now
    expanded our war to Pakistan. We are still turning the same blind eye
    to daily Israeli violations of international law and human rights,
    including today’s piracy attack on a boat carrying unarmed Americans
    and humanitarian aid by the Israeli Navy. All of the pretty words in
    the world will not change the fact that people are dying every day in
    Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East because of America’s
    political, military, and economic policies.

  27. 32 deryck/trinidad
    June 30, 2009 at 15:17

    I’m happy for Iraq but I don’t think the relative peace they have will last because the anti US and anti West factions in Iraq will never accept Mr Al Maliki as the legitimate Prime Minister because they will always see him as a puppet of the US.

    Thus it will be in their interests to continue the sectarian violence in order to destabalise the government and remove Mr Al Maliki.

  28. June 30, 2009 at 15:18

    The withdrawal of US troops from Iraq’s cities raises many questions:
    1- Will this encourage Iraqis who fled their countries to return, especially those in Syria and Jordan?

    2- How optimistic are young Iraqis about their future in view of the economic crisis resulting in unemployment?

    3- How easy is it for the Sunnis and the Shiaas to share power without resorting to viloence and indiscriminate bombing?

    4- Do the Iraqis in general have faith in their political leaders to make Iraq a normal country or will Iraq in case of their failure revert to sectarianism and tribalism?

    5- How much influence do the Muslim extremists still have in Iraq and how much threat do they represent to its stability?

  29. June 30, 2009 at 15:22

    Oh my goodness, Lubna will be on air with you guys? Assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah ya hayati!

    Do you feel that the US occupation is simply a matter of boots and tanks on the ground? In what ways has the occupation affected your daily life, and the lives of those around you? How do you think that will change now? What do you plan to do if nothing does change for the better? What would you ask of people around the world in either scenario?

  30. 35 Vijay
    June 30, 2009 at 15:24

    How is Iraq going to pay back the USA and UK all the money that was expended in liberating Iraq from your friendly “uncle”Saddam

  31. June 30, 2009 at 15:27

    Hi Mark,
    Concerning the tag for this entry: al-maliki, Baghdad, Iraq, jalabani

    There is “jalabani”. I wonder if it is “Talabani” the founder and secretary general of one of the main Iraqi Kurdish political parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan

  32. 38 deryck/trinidad
    June 30, 2009 at 15:31

    Interestingly enough the Iraqi government placed some of its oil resources up for auction. Its oil and gas fields will be run by foreigners. The cabinet is approving the deals not the parliament therefore the opposition parties have no say in how the countries resources are to be managed.
    The sale was scheduled to take place yesterday but a sandstorm postponed it to today. How ironic?


  33. June 30, 2009 at 15:34

    Ah Andrew, so you’re Cancerian too, interesting ! :).
    Hi Shannon my dear, let me 1st thank you so much for your very kind words and wishes. And to answer your questions let me make the following perfectly clear : I am a practicing Muslim Shia, and I do have close girlfriends at college who are Muslim Sunnis, and my best girlfriend at college (Maryam) is a practicing Christian. My relationships with my girlfriends at college who come from different religious and sectarian backgrounds haven’t been affected at all by what’s been happening in my Iraq over the years. I live in a predominantly Shia neighbourhood in Baghdad, but some of our neighbours are Muslim Sunnis, and our relationship with them has always been good and filled with warmth and mutual respect. Shannon, the real problem isn’t at all among us ordinary Iraqis. Sectarian tensions are being inflamed over the years by our politicians, armed militias, and foreign interferences. More later.

  34. 40 Steve in Boston
    June 30, 2009 at 15:35

    Dear Lubna,

    My condolences on your personal losses.

    However I don’t think the Iraqi military has what it takes to keep the peace, and I don’t think democracy will work in Iraq. We went in there to remove Saddam Hussein because he violated the truce, the no-fly zone and countless UN resolutions. He was given many opportunities to comply, but took greater satisfaction in thumbing his nose at us.

    We didn’t just pickup and leave when we captured Saddam because we didn’t want to be accused of trashing the place and then walking out. Well maybe that’s what happened anyway, but the Bush administration’s intent was to leave Iraq in better shape than before. I agree with the sentiment, but I don’t think democracy is for everyone. We didn’t want another Vietnam, but I suspect we got one.

    I’ll be here in a year. I hope you are too, and I hope you prove me wrong.

    Steve in Boston

    • 41 Jessica in NYC
      June 30, 2009 at 17:57

      Steve in Boston,

      I agree with your general sentiment. I hope I am wrong, too. And not to belabor an old point that is now moot, but went in there to remove Saddam Hussein indeed. However, not for the reasons you state the US government sold this war to use with the fear of WMD.

      For me it feels as if we both (Americans and Iraqis) are a mix of contradictions: We do/ we don’t want to be there. They want/they don’t want us there. They’ll fail/they’ll succeed.

  35. June 30, 2009 at 15:43

    Salaam again, so back to your point Shannon, as I was saying, sectarian tensions are being inflamed to a large extent by a significant proportion of our politicians, the criminal acts of armed gangs and militias, and also by foreign interferences, which include the fatwas of Wahabi clerics. These are the causes that we all must focus on combating if we want to tackle the problem of sectarianism in my Iraq. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad.

  36. 43 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 15:45

    @ Pink

    Actually people are dying in the middle east because sunnis and shiites kill each other.

    • 44 Ann
      June 30, 2009 at 16:31

      Steve – there is no doubt that Iraq has it’s major challenges to face. And sadly there will most likely be more bloodshed of a sectarian nature. But Iraq must deal with it’s own problems, it never was the place the UK or the USA to dictate how their country should be run. The painful echoes of foreign occupation run deep and long Steve – I can understand why the ‘west’ is despised.

      I hope that in time to come, Iraqi’s may find it in their hearts to forgive us. As Shannon so rightly says, many of the American people were against the invasion and have suffered too. That is true of Britain too.

      Maybe we should all be relieved this sad chapter is coming to an end and wish Iraq well for the future?

  37. 45 Jeremy from Michigan
    June 30, 2009 at 15:53

    I am very happy for Iraqis today as they embrace their sovereignty. I only hope they can understand what the US has done for them by helping to introduce a democratic government so the people can govern themselves. I also hope they do not forget the tyranny and murder that went on during the previous dictatorship of Sadam Hussein. Also, I hope Americans understand that we are not there just for oil, there were and still are people in need of our help. However, it is time for our Iraqi brothers and sisters (as siblings of the human species) to choose their own path and revel in the freedom they now have.

    Rest In Peace : to all the fallen Iraqi citizens and US troops.

  38. 46 Luz Ma from Mexico
    June 30, 2009 at 16:03

    I really hope to get a chance to listen to you in the show. It airs in the middle of my workday, but if I don´t get the chance, I still have the podcast…

    Anyway, I am very interested in hearing the point of view of people that have been living there for the last 6 years or that this particular situation have had an impact on their lives (there comes to mind all those people that lost loved ones in the conflict).

    So, my dear friend, I wish you and all iraquis, peace.

  39. 47 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 16:49

    Can I ask a question about occupation for those in the middle east? Is there a distinction in your mind between being occupied by muslims being occupied by non muslims? Let’s not forget that Iraq was occupied for the Ottomons for centuries. Is their residual hatred for Turkey there still?

  40. 48 Nate, Portland OR
    June 30, 2009 at 16:52

    First, the auctioning of Iraqi oil and gas contracts has been disappointing from the perspective of the foreign companies: see this nytimes article. It looks to me like Iraq is a sovereign nation driving a hard bargain and demanding extensive services in return for the right to a modest share of oil profits. Sounds like good business to me. Any suggestion that this is some kind of American oil-grab is ludicrous.

    In any case, while Bush/Cheany certainly placed enriching their corporate oil buddies ahead of the interests of the US people, medium-term American interests are simply that the oil flow reliably and at a reasonable price – no matter who gets the profits. (Long-term our interests are in getting off the stuff entirely.)

  41. 49 Archibald
    June 30, 2009 at 16:52

    Best wishes to you and yours Lubna and to all Iraqis. Your balanced and gracious writings have edified many and permanently opened closed eyes to truths they would prefer to deny. Thank you, onward and upward. Yours truly, Archibald

  42. 50 Anthony
    June 30, 2009 at 16:59

    @ Lubna

    Look’s like you’re gonna be busy responding today, lol!

    @ The U.S. pulling out

    I’m glad we’re finally out of a coutry we shouldn’t have been in in the first place. A lot of people made money, but it was none of us, we got screwed over in the mean while. I pray that peace will be able to thrive over there, but I think we all know it’s probably going to errupt when people go for power grabs and when the different Islamic denominations start up against eachother.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  43. 51 Anthony
    June 30, 2009 at 17:02

    The U.S. is like George Bush Senior concieving George W.. We pulled out to late, the damage had already been done, and we’ll be paying for it for a whole generation.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  44. 52 Jennifer
    June 30, 2009 at 17:02

    YES I AM! Heck YEAH; please get our soldiers out of there and let these people work this Islam problem out for themselves!!!

    It’ll be “annoying” help they will want back soon enough!

  45. 53 steve/oregon
    June 30, 2009 at 17:08

    @ Iraq As an american veteran I am happy we will no longer have to do your fighting for you. Having wounds incurred I am forever reminded of the place and, the peoples lack of gratitude for what my friends and I have gave and lost. I honestly hope the Iraqi people are able to rise above petty differances and have a wonderful life.

  46. 54 David
    June 30, 2009 at 17:34

    WMD, Removal of Sadam, Destruction of life and resources In Iraq, Ego of the occupier, History disappered in the thinnest, Occupiers’ guilty feeling, human feeling by one God appointed saviour ‘Obama”, Withdrawal of the occupiers. These are smoe of the “achievements” todate in Iraq.

    When a human being fails, he/she blames smoe one else. Very unfortunate indeed. When I fail I blame myself and accept the consequencies that follow.

    Lubina, we pray for you and your country. just be as strong as you have been.

  47. June 30, 2009 at 17:49

    Why the invasion? WMDs i.e. Weapons of Mass Destruction !!!!! They did not exist.
    Did the American people care so much for the welfare of Iraq?
    A ” No casualty” war it was supposed to be, or else? What about casualty among the Iraqi? Military and Civilian? Whilst the country’s infrastructure was being smashed. Was all that really necessary in the first place.
    Was it not that war which let the sectarian war loose?
    A gigantic mess.
    Finally why did the American forces remain so long after the damage done had been repaired and a democratically government was installed and kept patrolling the streets of Iraqi towns if there had not been people (quote) “fighting each other for the succession of a man who died 1500 years ago?”
    In fact the American service men patrolling the streets in of Lubna’s Iraq would probably be looking forward to being back home and counting the days left before being discharged. With or without arrogance.
    We shall see……

  48. 56 Deryck/Trinidad
    June 30, 2009 at 17:55

    @Nate, Portland OR

    It’s all about perspective Nate. You have to look at both sides and then make an informed decision regarding these oil deals. Check it out. Sweet Oil http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/06/20096288505111580.html

  49. 57 Justin from Iowa
    June 30, 2009 at 17:59

    This will sound jaded, and probably depressing, but I’m just glad that it is less of the US’s problem now (yes, I know we kicked it off in the first place) and someone ELSE other than us can have fingers pointed at. I hope and wish for all success and peace and happiness to Iraq and its people, I just hope they are up to the task the US has fought for them.

  50. 58 Anthony
    June 30, 2009 at 18:00

    @ steve/oregon

    Lack of gratitude?… lets not forget what WE put THEM through and all the innocent civilian deaths, with about 100,000 confirmed with some reports showing 1 million deaths:




    Yes, we lost 4300 and screwed up some good men, but look what they had to endure in a war that was VERY much not needed.

    I mean, if someone invade our country over lies, would you not have faught back?

    Oh, and where are those WMD again…. I mean, that was the REASON we went in there right?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  51. 59 viola
    June 30, 2009 at 18:02

    Lubna: Truly, the world will be a better place if Iraq can stand strong and survive without a brutal leader once more taking over. Congratulations and may all be well.

    Pink: Perhaps the anti-American rhetoric can just this once be put aside and Iraq’s accomplishments that were achieved with the assistance of coalition troops be celebrated instead.

    Victor, I agree with most of your analysis; however, consider that if you undertake to help someone, you should do so because not to help would be more painful to you than helping, and doesn’t require gratitude from the recipient. The bigger problem is that, as the saying goes, when you save another’s life you are forever after responsible for that person.

  52. 60 Nigel
    June 30, 2009 at 18:08

    Asalaamu alaikum Lubna, your positive view is infectious and many of us outside of you country are happy for all the Iraqi people today. However, many of us feel that there will be an almost natural re-ordering of your society’s structure and hope that these challenges will produce a more sustainable peace than you have now. Our best wishes Inshallah.

  53. 61 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 18:11

    Question: Would you rather be under the rule of Saddam Hussein? or are you celebrating the liberation of iraq from Saddam Hussein as well as the Us occupying less, or is the celebration just about US troops leaving cities?

  54. 62 Chrissy in Portland
    June 30, 2009 at 18:13

    While I have opposed this war, I have to admit that I have concerns about leaving too quickly. Let’s also keep in mind that the Iraqis, Americans and the British are not the only people that have been affected by this war. Having family in Jordan I’ve seen first hand the affects this war has had on Iraq’s neighbors. The entire region has been seriously affected. (Where did all the Iraqi refugees go? They had to go somewhere and they certainly weren’t allowed to come into the US!).

    We came in, we destroyed and now I feel that we have a responsibility to clean up our mess.

    My questions are:

    Do the people of Iraq believe the US has an obligation to restore their country to the way it was before the war or are they content with us leaving it the way it is as we leave?

    What can the people of the US and the rest of the world do to help Iraq and its people heal?

  55. 63 Snorri-Iceland
    June 30, 2009 at 18:13

    If Iraq is so proud to recover it´s sovereignty, why don´t they do their own PR work? Why do we only hear news of how the occupation is going from the point of view of the US Armed Forces? Wouldn´t it have been a strong signal of Iraqis taking their country back if they would have managed their own press conference instead of having the occupying army tell the world how things are going?

  56. 64 nora
    June 30, 2009 at 18:15

    The long term partnership between Saddam and the Bush-Cheney wing of the US ruling class screwed the US and Iraq. To accommodate Sadaam, a cluster bomb factory from LA was moved to Chile thirty years ago to produce for the war between Iran and Iraq,, for example. The partnership brought decades of death. Perhaps out of all of this, the citizens of both countries can get more people power to stop the mass tragedy of wars and occupations.

    Many of the soldiers who have been sent to Iraq had simply joined the Guard in their states to help with fires and emergencies in exchange for some education funding, or out of a desire to contribute locally. Their lives are forever changed, and I hope Lubna will find it in her heart to pray for their families and the recovery of mental and physical health.

    I never supported the war, but my compassion for the returned soldiers is sparked every day by haunted faces in my village. They remind me of the Iraqi people and their suffering. I hope we can make healing for all our people, regardless of nationality.

  57. 65 John in Salem
    June 30, 2009 at 18:17

    Your posts here have given this war a personal edge and made many of us feel involved who otherwise would have seen it only through the eyes of the media. Every time a bomb goes off in Bagdad my first thought has been, “Is Lubna okay?”, and every time we have had to wait until you post again to breathe that sigh of relief because there is no other way we can know – if something terrible happens you would simply disappear like a soldier lost in action.
    Today, to our everlasting shame, the blood of your friends and fellow Iraqis becomes the “light sweet crude” that powers Western society. Maybe someday we will get to see the face behind the Voice of Bagdad that you have been to us, and we can apologize in person for what we allowed to happen.

  58. 66 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 18:18

    Having all the security forces won’t necessarily make a place safe unless the PEOPLE stop trying to kill each other. I live in the Washington, DC area, and there are so many levels of policing here. We have DC police, Federal police, each agency has it’s own police force, there’s the general Federal Protective Service. I see so many police, from so many different police forces on a daily basis, yet there’s a lot of crime in DC. The people have to stop wanting to kill each other for crime to decrease, here and in Iraq.

  59. 67 Everyman
    June 30, 2009 at 18:20

    The American woman who argued for continuing US military presence in Iraq seems to confuse freedom with security.

  60. 68 Cris in El Paso, Texas
    June 30, 2009 at 18:21

    This very paternalistic perspective by MJ is very frustrating and annoying. She is making it sound like the U.S. had no part in the chaos in Iraq. Iraq was not some backwards, uncivilized country before 2003. Do I celebrate sovereignty? Well, let’s see, will the U.S. foment chaos in Iraq again?

  61. 69 Everyman
    June 30, 2009 at 18:22

    Jennifer: I agree with you that the US should reduce it’s troop presence. (I would say withdraw all troops, but a realism suggests some troops may be necessary.) However, I have to say that it is not an “Islam problem.” A longer historical view, could possibly see a comparision between the religious wars in Europe.

  62. 70 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:23

    I would like the American woman define her understanding of freedom.

  63. 71 Tom D Ford
    June 30, 2009 at 18:24

    What a bunch of malarkey!

    Iraq was a democracy before the Bush/Cheney war crimes against Iraq.

    They did not invade to create democracy, they invaded to look for WMDs.

    Republicans are just revising history to try and justify their criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    And what kind of a democracy is it when Bush disappeared opposition people and tortured them in secret prisons, when he drove many opposition Iraqis out and into refugee ghettos in Syria and Jordan, when he enabled ethnic religious cleansing of entire neighborhoods?

    That is no form of a just democracy!

    Has there been any progress in bringing Bush/Cheney and their administration to justice?

    What a bunch of phoney baloney lies! and treachery!

  64. 72 Andrew in Australia
    June 30, 2009 at 18:28

    Good Luck Lubna, I hope for your sake and the sake of all Iraqis that this ushers in a new era. I think there is an extremely tough road ahead for the country and the fundamental issues that separate those in the Shia/Sunni divide who need to take their differences out on others and with violence and will prove hard to overcome any time soon. There maybe some joy today but sorrow will follow I have to think with a heavy heart.

  65. 73 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:29

    It is obvious that the American woman has an ideology that fails to allow her to understand what has happened over the past 8 years. Could a moderator ask her if it matters that the reasons for the American invasion were unfounded?

  66. 74 Chrissy in Portland
    June 30, 2009 at 18:29

    @ steve in oregon

    Much respect Steve. I genuinely appreciate your service and the sacrifices of you and your comrades. Thank you so much for your service! I sincerely mean that!

    One point I’d like to make is that the Iraqis never asked us to go to their country and fight for them. The US government decided to send you over there. No offense intended, I’m not sure that it’s fair for you to expect the people of Iraq to be grateful to you and to the US government.

  67. 75 Mark
    June 30, 2009 at 18:30

    My question to Lubna and everyone in Iraq are you better now than under Saddam Hussein? Or if not does the future look better?

    In addition, I think the woman from Idaho should stop interrupting and going off topic about whether she likes the current US administration etc…… I don’t see how that is relevant. I also find her somewhat condescending but whatever,

    Mark USA

  68. 76 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:31

    The American woman talks about not having a representative government here in America, assuming she means she disagrees with the Obama administration. No government will represent all the beliefs of all people. One should ask her whether she believes GWB’s first election was representative. There started so many of the world’s current difficulties.

  69. 77 Anthony
    June 30, 2009 at 18:33

    @ Lubna

    So, quick question quick answer: Over all, is Iraq better for the U.S. going in, in your opinion? A quick yes or no if you can. (p.s., congrats :))

    Personally, the U.S. is MUCH worse off going into Iraq, I mean, if we were gonna go into a country with “WMD”, we should have been in N Korea (except there is no oil there 😦 )

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 78 John (Las Vegas)
      June 30, 2009 at 18:37

      Excellent point: from the loss of live (American and Iraqi), to the wasting of billions of dollars, to lossing sight of the larger issues (China, global warming).

  70. 79 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:33

    To Cris in El Paso,

    Great point. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  71. 80 Tom D Ford
    June 30, 2009 at 18:35

    @ Henry Nyakoojo, Kampala
    June 30, 2009 at 12:22

    “The real story is not the “end” of the US forces in urban areas of Iraq. The real story is today’s auctioning off of the country’s oil fields to American and other foreign companies. Many suspected the Bush invasion of Iraq had nil to do with weapons of mass destruction and everything to do with oil. …”

    Well it finally comes out, it really was all about stealing Iraqs oil.

    I can’t say that I am happy to be proved right about that, there is no joy in it at all.

  72. 81 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 18:35

    Okay, 25 people were blown up in Kirkuk today because they were a member of the “wrong” group. Should anything be celebrated after 25 people were killed because of who they were?

    If there had been a driveby shooting in the US, and 25 people were killed, on the 4th of July, I doubt that many people would find reason to celebrate, but really to question “what is wrong with my country that things like this happens?”

  73. 82 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 18:37

    @ Tom D Ford

    “Well it finally comes out, it really was all about stealing Iraqs oil.

    I can’t say that I am happy to be proved right about that, there is no joy in it at all.”

    Well, I thought Obama was all about “Change”. Can you reconcile this for us? It’s hard to blame Bush when Obama is the President now. Why is it still about oil if Obama is President now?

  74. 83 Denton
    June 30, 2009 at 18:37

    The woman from Twin Falls, Idaho, is an arrogant, ignorant disgrace. As an American, I am ashamed that she is on this program.

  75. 85 Shannon
    June 30, 2009 at 18:38


    do you admit to ANY mistakes made by the US military?

  76. 86 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:39

    Lubna, excellent point on the mistakes made by the Americans.

  77. 87 Shannon
    June 30, 2009 at 18:39


    Do you admit to any mistakes made by the former administration?

  78. June 30, 2009 at 18:40

    Yes it’s the celebration day for every citizen of the world because forces of one nation is freeing the land of other nation to make that nation rule itself with Sovereignty.

    Thank you.

  79. 89 margot in oregon
    June 30, 2009 at 18:40

    Enough of the lady from Idaho already!! Thank god everybody in the US and in Iraq is not so ignorant!

    • 90 John (Las Vegas)
      June 30, 2009 at 18:42

      I agree. The assumptions she is making aren’t being questioned. While I sympathise for her loss, her views don’t “represent” all Americans. I wis she could show more understanding.

  80. 91 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 18:40

    The US did what it did in Germany and Japan, which was disband the militarie of the nations they occupied. The difference in Germany and Japan was that the people weren’t willing to kill each other, hence they had little to no violence during the occupations of those nations. Let’s face reality, the reason there have been so many killings since 2003 has been because Iraqis are willing to kill each other.

  81. 92 Melissa
    June 30, 2009 at 18:41

    can someone get this stupid woman from idaho off air please, she’s embarrassing americans with her unintelligent comments! send iraq a bill?!?!?! really!?!?!?

    and it’s called an Khimar not a “scarf on the head”

  82. 93 Anthony
    June 30, 2009 at 18:41

    This American woman is living in LaLa land (the same one that Rove and Cheney created), and she took their (Bush administration) bait hook, line, and sinker. It’s because of people like her that so many people died, and that our debt is so high, and that our economy is as worse as it is right now. People like this who don’t live in the real world are the people who vote in right wing war mongers.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  83. 94 Dan, DC
    June 30, 2009 at 18:42

    Who’s decision was it to have MJ as a guest? I understand she lost her son in Iraq, but that hardly qualifies her as a military historian of the Iraq war or a policy analyst. Who is she to tell any of your Iraqi listeners what’s going to come after the US pulls out of Baghdad? Kurdish rebels were ready to oust Saddam Hussein in the early 1990s but the elder Bush, as president, fell through on a promise to help them. MJ needs to refrain from making character judgements on the Iraqi people.

    • 95 Maria
      June 30, 2009 at 18:47

      It really perpetuates the idea of all Americans as closed minded, ignorant, and selfish.

    • 96 Jessica in NYC
      June 30, 2009 at 18:58


      I agreed! MJ is the sterotypical American that embarrassed us around the world. I do not see our military or government through rosy colored eyes.

  84. 97 Maria
    June 30, 2009 at 18:42

    “I don’t think our country has sent you a bill”?

    What an ignorant, offensive thing to say. As an American I’m embarrassed. A bill for what? For an unasked for invasion? For needless deaths and destruction on a massive scale? For creating trauma in the survivors that will last for many generations? For allowing companies to get rich off Iraq’s destruction? For creating a power vacuum that has only strengthened Al Qaida?

    We persist in trying to justify war even after it’s blindingly obvious it’s pointless, perhaps in part so we can bear to live with the damages and suffering it causes. Pretty pointless to me.

  85. 99 Anthony
    June 30, 2009 at 18:43

    @ Denton

    You are correct, this is the steriotypical American that they world hates, that is closed minded and doesn’t listen to the rest of the world. It IS very sad.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  86. 100 Shannon
    June 30, 2009 at 18:43



  87. 101 douglas
    June 30, 2009 at 18:43

    These americans are so self righteous it makes me sick. Who are they to tell an Iraqi that war is “inconvenient””? I wish that lady would shut up.

  88. 102 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 18:44

    Okay, I don’t necessarily agree with her, but I don’t feel the need to insult her or silence her because I don’t agree with her.

  89. 104 Jessica in NYC
    June 30, 2009 at 18:45

    @ MJ, speakers

    Don’t forget to “thank god” you have these kind of freedoms you are preaching about. It’s interesting to me that you are asking Lubna about the freedoms she enjoys as a woman in Iraq while women have restricted freedoms here. I am very proud of President Obama and “thank god!” he is making things right in Iraq and starting our withdraw. it is the Iraqis’ country and they should have it.

    @ Lubna & John, speakers

    You are doing an excellent job on the show. I am impressed with your ability to communicate your differences and make your points clear.

  90. 105 Bruno
    June 30, 2009 at 18:45

    The best generals in the world ?
    I beg to differ. The only decent general was Petraeus who understood that bombing the hell out of people would lead to nothing.

    Every of his predecessors like Sanchez screwed up things big time.

  91. 106 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:45

    Could someone please set this woman from Idaho straight. She is not contributing to an understanding of what this means for Iraqis. She clearly has a very slanted, ideologically-rigid viewpoint.

    MJ: Why do you think it is America’s responsibility to “spread freedom?” Please don’t say that the Iraqis bombed NYC on 9/11.

  92. 107 annegt
    June 30, 2009 at 18:46

    With all due respect, is MJ an expert on Iraq?

  93. 108 Brad
    June 30, 2009 at 18:46

    MJ, you don’t want the President running the Generals? That doesn’t sound like democracy!

    MJ, it was a US operation, our allies were token and we’re just trying to remain in US good graces. The invasion was illegal and a mistake. The celebrations today are just the first step in repairing the damage caused by the United States: hundreds of thousand dead, 2 million Iraqis displaced, trillions of dollars wasted. It was an occupation and it still is (though to a lesser extent).

  94. 109 Kelly
    June 30, 2009 at 18:47

    Why do you put on these two people on without an opposing viewpoint from America? MJ and the Major are merely justifying their losses and actions. MJ is so condescending to the Iraqi woman.

  95. 110 Tom D Ford
    June 30, 2009 at 18:47

    MJ is so out of touch with reality, I hope she gets some help with her grieving process.

    It is so sad to hear someone wildly ranting and raving while trying to make sense of her loss.

  96. 111 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:48

    MJ should not forget the folly of the neo-cons who caused so much havoc, death and destruciton in Iraq.

  97. 112 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:49

    MJ has no apparent historical understanding of Iraqi history or the evolution of democracy (which she confuses with freedom).

  98. 113 Cris in El Paso, Texas
    June 30, 2009 at 18:49

    Oh the great American led coalition of saviors, right? Come one!! That is ridiculous. To equate the lose of coalition soldiers, a very sad reality for sure, to the tens of thousands of innocent people dead in Iraq is absurd. Soldiers do their duty and they willingly place themselves in a situation that they know they may die. It is not the same thing as children, and women, and elderly dying who are innocent. It is not the same. Stop equating it.

  99. 114 Nate, Portland OR
    June 30, 2009 at 18:49

    Lubna, “Satans and demons” (on-air comments)? Yikes!

    The invasion was horribly wrong, many awful decisions were made, but “satans and demons”? Does it occur to you that this literal demonization of Americans may have contributed to the chaos and destruction by making it impossible to work with those (large in my perspective) segments of the American army that meant well and wanted to truly help?

    On the other hand, maybe that explains that otherwise inexplicable sulfurous odor around me after some meals. Its my inner demonic nature seeping out!

  100. 115 DJ
    June 30, 2009 at 18:50

    Who is this American lady with the over and over again horrible talking points.

    No wonder “she keeps saying” she doesn’t have much to say but to repeat herself.

  101. 116 Wade
    June 30, 2009 at 18:50

    MJ. You sound ridiculous and you are embarrassing me as an American.

  102. 117 Steve in Boston
    June 30, 2009 at 18:51

    Ugh….I have to turn this off. See you all tomorrow.

  103. 118 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:51

    MJ the Americans lead the invasion and make up the vast number of the soldiers. MJ is deluded.

  104. 119 Anthony
    June 30, 2009 at 18:51

    OK, this woman from Idaho has NO idea what she’s talking about. The Iraqi occupation was NOTHING like the Korean war! To compare the 2 is just childish.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  105. 120 Brad
    June 30, 2009 at 18:51

    Please remove MJ!!! Now. What an embarrassment! Up yours with your simplistic notion of freedom. My god!! She knows nothing and you’re giving her a world-wide forum.

  106. 121 Major
    June 30, 2009 at 18:51

    I worked with John in Iraq (Army). The points are well taken that we helped as much as we could… now is the time for Iraq to take over. I will be going to Basra soon to watch the final transitions.

  107. 122 John (Las Vegas)
    June 30, 2009 at 18:52

    MJ we should rebuild American cities after 30 years of Republican misrule.

  108. June 30, 2009 at 18:52

    The woman on your show who lost a son in Iraq – I am sorry for her loss, but her jingoism and war-drum beating are based solely in her emotion. When she just now claimed that the American political system got in the way of the American commanders in Iraq, she is spewing the same false logic that was so prevalent during the war in Viet Nam.

    The generals are beholden to the politicians. This is the way the Constitution is set up – civilian control over the military. Otherwise, we would have military coup after military coup.

    The generals, along with Rumsfeld and the entire DOD made the biggest mistake by entering into the war in the first place. Then, their strategy proved wrong for nearly 6 years. The whole thing was a disaster based on a lie and that is why this so-called “war of liberation” has taken so long, cost so much, and proven not very much thus far.

    Your guest should examine the outcomes in Iraq through a less emotional perspective, although having lost a child there, I doubt she can do so.

  109. 124 Al
    June 30, 2009 at 18:52

    MJ is not representative of all Americans. and quite honestly i find what she is saying very patronizing. While i feel bad for her loss, as an american i cannot agree with her views. What she has been verbalizing has an undercurrent of saying that Americans brought the light of modernity to the people of iraq. i.e. Prior to the American occupation, Iraqis lived in the Stone Age.

    I think the most important thing to remember here is that the previous administration brought this mess and none of the reasons that we invaded iraq were valid. We, as Americans, created this mess in Iraq and we have to be responsible for it. it is GWB’s legacy to the american people.

    Also, if the iraq people

    to MJ – Coalition troops? What coallition are you taking about? the bulk of the forces are from the US. that is NOT a coalition.

  110. 125 Tom D Ford
    June 30, 2009 at 18:53

    Mark & Madeleine, MJ is doing “essays”, please abide by your own rules and cut that off. Let her talk but no more “essays”.

  111. 126 Shannon
    June 30, 2009 at 18:53

    Lubna, MJ does NOT represent ALL American people.

  112. 127 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 18:53

    @ Tom D Ford

    PS: YOu cannot use deadly force in a burglary unless deadly force is used against you. In short, you cannot kill to defend property alone. So the person you describe, Iraq, is guilty of murder. Actually understand law before you make a comment about it.

  113. 128 Chrissy in Portland
    June 30, 2009 at 18:54

    Not occupying? We are fighting in a country that never gave us an invitation? We caused the total collapse of their country and their infrastructure and yet we ask who is responsible? Why in the world would Iraqis be responsible for the financial cost of this war? “We’ve destroyed your country, the bill’s in the mail?” Again, they never asked us to go there! As far as the coalition, where is the coalition now? You said if we stay we’re damned, if we leave we’re damned. That’s because we we’ve made the mistake of being there in the first place! Those kids are at school and they have running water now because of us? Weren’t we the ones that destroyed their water systems and their schools to begin with?

    Lubna – thank you for being on the show today and for giving us a realistic perspective of the average person living in Iraq. I’ve repeatedly heard that the quality of life was much better under Saddam rule than it is now. Is that true?

  114. 129 Anthony
    June 30, 2009 at 18:55

    @ MJ

    Coalition by rear end:


    We made up for 85% OF THE FORCES!!! What does that tell you, it was basically the US, and if you want to look at the front lines it was almost ALL the US.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  115. 130 Denton
    June 30, 2009 at 18:55

    Steve, “MJ” claimed that we don’t have a representative government in the United States. I don’t really care if she’s a disgruntled Republican, but her statement is a lie and a despicable one at that. She completely destroyed her credibility by this and other comments. She is a D I S G R A C E.

  116. 132 Dan, DC
    June 30, 2009 at 18:55

    Please, MJ, let’s not equate US involvement in Iraq with giving Iraqis running water. Did she take lessons on sounding like a Limbaugh clone? The booboisie continues. H.L. Mencken, where are you?

  117. 133 Jessica in NYC
    June 30, 2009 at 18:55

    @ MJ

    No! As passed down through the generations, two wrongs do not make a right. We did not go into Iraq to liberate anyone, that was secondary just a simple after thought. We were there, b/c of WMD and oil.

  118. 134 Roxie
    June 30, 2009 at 18:56

    Please stiffle MJ – she’s gotten her point across. Let’s hear from others. Freedom is something very personal and complex – MJ’s idea of freedom is just one viewpoint and she has no grasp of imperialism and how it works.


  119. 135 Kurt from Oregon
    June 30, 2009 at 18:56

    I understand freedom of speach concerns and such but I think the world needs to know that MJ isn’t representative of all Americans.

  120. 136 Major
    June 30, 2009 at 18:57

    The building blocks that were layed in traiing of the Iraqi security forces back in 2004-2005. Early on the ISF allowed the coalition to do everything for them. Now ISF wants to do it all on their own. Hurray for them. Believe me, US troops don’t want or need to stay…. But they do need the ISF to be successful.

  121. 137 Pia from Texas
    June 30, 2009 at 18:58

    Something that you haven’t discussed is how the time was spent in Iraq. I’ve heard reports that much time, energy and resources were focused on Iraq oil industry. This made the American soldiers bitter because the building of Iraq and the Iraq infrastructure was secondary.

    Can you talk about this. What has the research show about resource management.

  122. June 30, 2009 at 19:01

    I am ashamed as a US citizen to listen to the comments made by your American guest. I would hope BBC listeners are intelligent enough to realize that she does not speak for the US populace.

  123. 139 Jessica in NYC
    June 30, 2009 at 19:01

    @ MJ

    LOL re your comment to Anthony in LA. How ignorant of you to say no one takes California seriously. It must be painful to you that they have the so many people and the most Electoral College votes in the US.

  124. 140 patti in cape coral
    June 30, 2009 at 19:03

    I totally disagree with MJ, and I do feel she is somewhat condescending, even though I don’t think she is doing it on purpose. I find it hard to get annoyed with her, however, knowing that her son was killed. I can understand why she is holding on and clinging to her opinions, because if she didn’t, she might have to face the possibility that her son’s death was meaningless and unecessary, and that might be unbearable.

  125. 141 Anthony
    June 30, 2009 at 19:03

    lol @ MJ’s comment. Maybe next she’ll call be a doo doo head and stick her tongue out at me. Yeah, you don’t listen to “those” people, yet we have the most electoral votes, so I guess in a way, yes, you do listen to us :).

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  126. 142 Mark
    June 30, 2009 at 19:03


    I think there is somewhat of consensus that Mrs. Kesterson was a little out of touch, arrogant etc…… Unfortunately her selection perpetuates some stereotypes of Americans …..perhaps next time you could pick a more well informed guest.

    On a separate note best wishes to everyone living in Iraq for peace, happiness and prosperity!

    Mark USA

  127. 143 Denton
    June 30, 2009 at 19:04

    Oh, I get it now: MJ is one of Sarah Palin’s so-called “real Americans”: she just smeared the entire state of California! Unbelievable!

    You’ve just got to love those sterotypical UGLY AMERICANS (yes, MJ, that would be you!), spewing their arrogant ignorance and presuming to speak for the entire country.


  128. 144 Pia from Texas
    June 30, 2009 at 19:05

    (… continued from my last post)

    Also, what does the research show as to how these resources have been allocated between the American army and private contractors (engineers, private armies, etc)

  129. 145 Jean
    June 30, 2009 at 19:06

    MJ is a prime example of American right-wing rah-rah militarism. She could easily be a Fox News commentator (maybe she is?). WHY did you allow her to represent the United States on this program? The truth is so different – there is so much more diversity of opinion here, at least as wide as the range of opinions inside Iraq about the American occupation and its after-effects.

    I feel deeply that the Iraqis did not need this woman to show or teach them anything about freedom – what an insult to everyone’s intelligence. And she is propounding the worldview of a president who was only elevated to that position by non-democratic means. Never forget that.

    P.S. To hear her condescend to the Iraqi woman commentator is absolutely nauseating; let her live in that woman’s shoes for a year, and let’s hope it knocks the stuffing out of all that hubris.

  130. 146 Lew in Ohio
    June 30, 2009 at 19:07

    MJ lost all of her built up credit during the program with her last comment about LA., I even looked past here rhetoric about not having a representative govt. As for Iraq we all will celebrate the beginning of the people taking their freedom to the next level. As with america there will be starts and stops nothing is perfect and there will be trials/tribulations. I believe that the Iraqi’s will become the scrumptious meat between the two peices of stale bread saud/iran. Now only time will tell good luck to them.

  131. June 30, 2009 at 19:08

    What a disservice today!! You had a Bush supporter who spoke in cliches and a mercernary representing the US! What about having someone who represents the MAJORITY of Americans offer the majority opinion that our occupation has devastated that country and left us broke. Does MJ know the definition of occupation?

  132. 148 Tom D Ford
    June 30, 2009 at 19:11

    Lubna, on behalf of all the decent people in the US, I apologize to you and your fellow Iraqis for what our Conservative Republicans did to your country and your people. We are ashamed of their War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity against you.

    Please know that very many decent Americans were and are still against such Criminal behavior by our Right-wingers.

    We’re sorry, Lubna, so very sorry.

  133. 149 Kelly
    June 30, 2009 at 19:14

    BBC – if you are going to put MJ on again please provide a counter balance to her views. It was embarrassing to listen to her ignorance and arrogance. Sorry for her loss but that does not give her some sort of claim to speak for America.

  134. 150 Zac
    June 30, 2009 at 19:15

    I am absolutely disgusted and ashamed of the American woman who was speaking in studio on the broadcast today. The sentiments that she expressed are exactly why the world looks at the United States as arrogant, self-righteous and wreckless. Her focus on the idea that it wasn’t American troops, and her insistance that everyone refer to the troops as coalition forces is true: superficially. This WAS America’s war. A war based on false pretenses, lies, and most likely opportunistic ideals. How dare she speak to the Iraqi woman like she owes the US something! Right now, I’m sad to say that we share the same nationality. And her complete dismissal of the other point of view of Americans that critiqued her (“we don’t take anyone seriously from LA”) only reiterates how ignorant and intolerant this woman actually is (and ma’am, if you read this, I’m from the Bible belt). You are an embarrasment

  135. 151 Peter
    June 30, 2009 at 19:17

    Thank heaven – I was listening to this on air for only a bit, as I found MJ’s ultra-right and jingoistic analysis and ‘rah, rah, sys-boom bah!’ cheerleading absolutely disgusting. It’s good to see that I’m not the only one that was feeling that way. The Iraqis people have suffered grievously because of the illegal and ill-thought U.S. invasion, and thank heaven are now one step closer to being free from occupation. I do not know that the imposed ‘democracy’ will last – they rarely do – but at least the Iraqis will have opportunity to design their own future. I hope they find a good one.

  136. 152 Jean
    June 30, 2009 at 19:18

    I am so happy to see so many others from the U.S. writing in aghast at M.J.’s views. And I’m sorry that I missed the part of the program where she apparently took a swipe at Obama’s election – that absolutely completes the portrait of a person with more opinions than facts at her command.

  137. 153 anu_D
    June 30, 2009 at 19:31

    Who was the patronizing sounding American woman on air today…???

    She was so much over the top with artificial emotions from the high moral horse of “we Americans” …..and overflowing with the milk of human kindness for “you Iraqis” ……that it all seemed so plasticy??

    The moderations needs to get a lot slicker and tighter….perhaps a bit more dry runs in the studio…before letting loose as moderators on Air would benefit everyone.

    a_D in Kuwait

  138. 154 steve
    June 30, 2009 at 19:33

    @ John

    “MJ we should rebuild American cities after 30 years of Republican misrule.”

    This has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand, and liberals run the cities, and the most liberal cities are also the most run down ones, coincidence? Or would you love to move to the liberal paradise that is Detroit?

  139. 155 Another American
    June 30, 2009 at 19:36

    I turned the program on late, also felt embarrassed by MJ’s comments, and like others want to emphasize that many Americans who do not share her views about Iraq (or California – but hey, I lived in there for some years, so what do I know?). After I went to the blog and saw that she had lost a son in Iraq, I could at least understand better. It would be good for presenters to mention this sort of guest “biography” more often during the program!

    Apart from that, apologies that I have only written in (and I have the idea that the previous time was also about a rather unrepresentative guest) when I wanted to complain. It is true that I don’t too much like the fact that the program appears intended to generate interest by selecting topics and guests that will produce excited discussion rather than helping people to understand each other or the subject matter better, but actually I think presenters generally do quite well in handling the resulting heated discussions.

  140. 156 anu_D
    June 30, 2009 at 19:48

    115 Wade
    June 30, 2009 at 18:50
    MJ. You sound ridiculous and you are embarrassing me as an American.

    ==>>You got it exactly right…and in minimal words.
    Hearing this woman on air I felt like smashing the radio ( and now I see there are dozens who felt the same)…and embarrasing it wasn’t for you as an American but for BBC and WHYS to allow this blah-blah-blah to go one for so long.

    And as I noted in my last comment….the host/on-air moderator was extremely weak….neither on top of things nor well researched or even rehearsed on the subject.

    The selection of speakers on air too was weak…and while Lubna’s youthful exuberance was refreshing….she needed to be balanced with more intelligent and knowledegble speakers on Iraq.

  141. 157 Sue from Michigan
    June 30, 2009 at 19:51

    MJ and the people who think like her are the major reason all this happened in the first place. Ignorant Arrogance, very sad for the whole planet…..

  142. 158 Linda in Italy
    June 30, 2009 at 21:53

    My dearest Lubna,
    I have listened to you ever since WHYS took to the air waves, and I have to congratulate you for keeping your cool tonight – you deserve a Nobel peace prize for your restraint in the face of the crass ignorance of MJ. Maybe when you graduate you should specialise in psychiatry!
    As a Brit, I am deeply ashamed of our part in wrecking your country, granted Saddam was a nasty man, but no worse than the rulers of China, and many others, but then they have greater fire power.
    Poor deluded MJ seems to think that the horrendous Bush jnr. et. al adventure was really some sort of humanitarian mission, but perhaps we should allow to her to hang on to that, otherwise the real futility of her son’s death would probably destroy her – perhaps this is something you understood, quite intuitively.
    Shame on you Beeb for setting this unfortunate woman up to reinforce all the prejudices the rest of the world has about Western ignorance and arrogance – have they no understanding of history? For a broadcaster that I normally hold in the highest esteem, this was nothing other than shabby tabloid sensationalism, throwing someone so clearly unhinged to the lions of reasoned argument.
    I won’t pray for you Lubna, as I’m not religious, but you are in my mind and heart and I really hope that you and your people will manage to climb out of this morass that is none of your making.

  143. 159 Thomas Murray
    June 30, 2009 at 22:29

    Dear Lubna,

    Yeah! We are an arrogant lot!

    But I’m glad we’re getting out of there, too.

    Maybe the one bright side of this is that you can now repair your country to be better than before. (But, knowing human nature…I don’t know.)

    You deserve to celebrate.

    But be safe, too.

    –Tom in Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  144. June 30, 2009 at 22:54

    The invasion of Iraq was premised on WMD. That Iraq was a threat to U.S. security. That premise turned out to be false at best, and a lie at worst. The invasion of Iraq was not justified. It was a mistake.

    Now the supporters of George W. Bush want to rewrite history. They want to make it look as if the reason for the invasion was to spread democracy. Another lie.

  145. 161 Jim Newman
    June 30, 2009 at 22:59

    Hello WHYS
    Couldn’t you have controlled that American woman a bit? Her gushing jingoism drowned out practically everything else.
    In my opinion the Iraqis will not be able to tackle their problems until all foreign troops have left the country. Then the real work of recreating a country and an homogenous national culture will begin.
    To Lubna I would like to suggest that agencies of people of good will from all communities should be set up to heal the wounds of many years and work towards harmony. I know this is possible for Palestine so why not Iraq. Maybe you, Lubna, with your optimism and energy, could be part of this drive for peace.
    Yours with respect

  146. 162 anita
    July 1, 2009 at 06:31


    you rock. truly. what an articulate, on-target woman you are! viva iraq is right!
    i am past hoping; things are on the upswing. it’s palpable. guarded, but palpable.

    steve, you state that, “We went in there to remove Saddam Hussein because he violated the truce, the no-fly zone and countless UN resolutions.”

    I disagree. The bush administration made up an excuse to invade iraq as an attempt to control a country with coveted oil reserves. this, in order to protect our “national interest,” which since world war 2 has consisted of engaging in aggressive behavior on the international level in order to pursue heaps of not-rightfully-ours resources for the perpetuation of an over-consumptive and lazy lifestyle.

    let’s hope we reform.

    but for today especially, all my good wishes go to iraq.

  147. July 1, 2009 at 10:53

    I am listening to the archive because my wonderful ISP is worthless when there are clouds in the sky.

    MJ is so patronising!! I know that she couched everything in very kind and gracious words, but she acted as if the US had done Iraq some sort of grand favour, and Iraq now owes us a debt of gratitude. I feel repulsed listening to her.

    She is so full of herself and her jingoistic obsession with American freaking right or wrong! And she said, “I don’t think our country has sent your country a bill.” WTH!! How sickeningly imperialist! It’s like you were all uncivilised animals before we enlightened white people came in and brought you freedom, democracy, education, food, shelter, and all that is good and beautiful in this world.

    I think that I am going to lose my breakfast. Wait, I haven’t *had* breakfast yet.

  148. 164 Nigel
    July 1, 2009 at 12:09

    MJ?……….Please don’t confuse the meaning of the celebrations in the immediate post invasion period in Iraq. They were celebrating the departure of Saddam not the arrival of the Americans.

  149. July 6, 2009 at 23:55

    The truth is that American forces did not withdraw from the cities, in some cases. Instead, lines were redrawn to give that appearance. Not to mention the 100,000+ private contractors that still roam around influencing reconstruction.

    Sovereignty is still a distant dream for Iraqis. I wrote a longer reaction to “National Sovereignty Day” here:


  150. 166 Dennis Junior
    July 7, 2009 at 16:18

    Yes, I celebrated the National Sovereignty Day (Iraq)….
    ~Dennis Junior~

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