The Gulf Coast and the Persian Gulf

From Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette, here's an e-mail from the wife of a National Guardsman in Iraq:
My husband is in Iraq, with a battalion composed mostly of soldiers from the Mississippi Army National Guard. (By the way, 79 are being sent home on emergency leave because they know their homes were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina or because they have been unable to contact their families since the storm. The media has done a wretched job, truly wretched, of reporting on the devastation for THOUSANDS of square miles in Mississippi, from Jackson south to the Coast.) When he arrived in January, 2005, my husband met with and worked with the State Department representative in the province, who mentioned to a local female Iraqi veterinarian that our children were both veterinarians, so the doctor asked to meet him. A great friendship resulted.

Paul Bremer had “gifted” women’s groups and other non-governmental agencies with buildings to have centers from which to operate. However, he apparently did not have the authority to do that. When a more fundamental Islamic government was elected in January, the provincial council proceeded to make plans to evict the doctor from her Women’s Center. ...

However, back in April, a small church (about 200 members) in Sturgis, Mississippi – the Friendship Baptist Church – sent the battalion a gift of $4000 to buy goods from Iraqi vendors to help Iraqi people. They purchased a wheel chair for a crippled twelve-year-old girl; they purchased beds, linens, and food for crippled, blind twin four-year-old girls; and provided food, beds, and linens for a new girls’ orphanage that they had built. The battalion is moving to a new FOB but they still had about half the church’s donation remaining. He asked the pastor if he could use the money to help the doctor, who had personally borrowed the money somehow to pay six months’ rent in advance on another building for the Women’s Center. The church readily agreed, and my husband presented the doctor with $2000 for her Women’s Center. She recently sent a very kind e-mail thank you to Pastor Davis.

I am attaching that letter, along with a letter that Pastor Davis sent to an imam with the original gift. I know that all Iraqis are not pleased that the US is in their country, but I think many are happy that we are there and that we relieved them of Saddam’s rule. Of course, the anti-Bush MSM doesn’t want Americans to know that....

By the way, the poor people of North Mississippi have done many projects to help Iraqis. We sent 73 boxes (many very large boxes) of medical supplies that we gathered in a campaign back in the spring. We also conducted Operation Backpack and sent hundreds of backpacks to Iraqi children. Individuals, churches, clubs, and communities have generously donated books, medical supplies, toys, and clothes. Wonderful stories of generosity and appreciation abound but not a word appears in the MSM about any of it! A pox upon censors of the news!

Dr. ___

My name is Junior Davis, and I am pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Mississippi, USA. We hear everyday how hard the struggle is for Iraqi families, especially women and children, and greatly admire your courage and persistence to help those who are oppressed. I personally know {the commander} and most of his soldiers that are there to help you. They are all good men that have families eagerly waiting on them back home. We miss them a lot and pray for their safety every day.

We were so very sorry to hear that you are struggling to keep the women’s clinic open. I know the work you have done to help children and women in your country has made a huge difference. _______ has made us aware of the situation you are in and with your permission; we would like to be a part of your efforts. Please, accept this small gift from your friends at Friendship Baptist as a gesture that we care about you and that we support your efforts. Accept this gift in honor of all the soldiers that have been helping you get your country back.

What you are doing is a noble thing. Don’t give up. ...
Thank you for all you do to keep our soldiers safe. We consider you our friend and pray for your country every day. If you are ever in Mississippi, we would be honored to meet you and welcome you into our home.

Dear Pastor Junior Davis
I am the director of women center. We do not know how we can thank you for your help, your help helps the center to continue, the center which many Americans and Iraqis people worked very hard to open it ,some of them sacrificed by their souls.

We knew that the Mississippi people are passing hard time we pray for them to pass this time safely , they are good people they did not help the center only but they tried to help all {the city} so we sure god will help them.

Please pray for us to pervade the peace in our country and the soldiers go back to their home safely.

Dr. __________
The director of women center.
I've edited slightly for brevity; please go read the whole thing (with photo) at the link.

Via Judith at Kesher Talk, PoliPundit has some predictions from National Guardsman "Oak Leaf""
Having just completed twelve days of active duty in support of “Joint Task Force Katrina”, six days on the ground in NOLA and six days in assisting with pre-positioning of Federal assets, I would like to offer the following predictions:

1. Mayor Ray Nagin (D) estimated that fatalities would be as high as 10,000. While it is conceivable that area wide fatalities could in theory approach 3,000, I strongly believe that fatalities in NOLA, directly attributed to Katrina will be less than one thousand, (1,000).

2. Pat O’Brien’s will be serving “Hurricanes” again before Thanksgiving of this year.

3. The Mardi Gras Carnival Parade will go on “as scheduled” for February 28, 2006.

4. Within thirty days, electricity will be restored to a majority of NOLA.

5. Within thirty days, 90% of the city will by dry enough to access by civilian SUV.

6. Dependent on the restoration of water/sewer service, of which I have no first hand knowledge to comment, large numbers of NOLA residents will be going home by Thanksgiving.

7. Ninety percent, or more, of the residents that were displaced in NOLA will eventually return to the city in search of the now greatly expanded employment prospects in construction. However, the small percentage that does not return will change Louisiana politics permanently. Louisiana will join the rest of the “South” as a solid Republican State.

8. The funds allocated by Congress will not be completely used.

While not of a predictive nature, I would like to offer a few more thoughts. The unofficial motto of the Infantry is “Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way.” The elected local politicians in Louisiana are not “leaders” and should have stepped aside. You do not elect a “leader”, a “leader” is developed over time and experience.

In spite of herself, Gov. Blanco had significant military assets available to her, of which she had little knowledge to effectively utilize. The people of Louisiana would have been better served had the Governor ceded control to one of the many Platoon Sergeants in the Louisiana Army National Guard that she commands.

In six days in NOLA I have seen ignorance, paralysis and blatant/shameless corruption, ALL at the “local” level of government. Should the Congress pursue an “investigation” or appoint a Commission, I would pray that the members are not current/former Louisiana politicians or family members. The military term FUBAR is an apt description of the “emergency management plan execution” by the NOLA Mayor, the NOLA Police Department, the LA Governor and all of their emergency management appointees.

I look forward to getting home this weekend.

– Oak Leaf

From Iraq the Model, Iraqi soldiers donate to Katrina victims:
Iraqi soldiers donate to Katrina victims:
(Hat tip:ITM reader).

“On behalf of myself and all the People of Tadji Military Base; I would like to console the American People and Government for getting this horrible disaster. So we would like to donate 1.000.000 Iraqi Dinars to help the government and the People also I would like to console all the ASTs who helped us rebuilding our country and our Army. We appreciate the American's help and support. Thank you".

These were the words of Colonel Abbas Fadhil, commander of the Taji military base.
The donated money is little, less than 700 $ and it can do practically nothing but the spirit and and words mean quite a lot.

Michelle Malkin has a letter from a Marine infantryman:
An infantry marine talks back to the NYTimes' Frank Rich (published in yesterday's NYTimes letters section):

To the Editor:

I am an infantry marine with 12 years of service, and I am presently stationed in Falluja, Iraq. I am also a New Orleans native and my parents live in Mandeville, which is on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. They have lost everything.

I take issue with "Falluja Floods the Superdome," by Frank Rich. Falluja is doing quite well. I know because my marines are out on the streets every day. We've been here for almost seven months, and the difference is night and day since we got here.

Secondly, I have 20 other marines in my battalion who are from Louisiana, and not one of us considers himself a "have-not." In fact, every marine in this battalion is proud of what we have accomplished, and we are proud to be marines. Military service was a choice, not a last resort for us.

(Staff Sgt.) Jeff Harilson
Falluja, Iraq, Sept. 5, 2005