July 14, 2003


While skepticism given America's foreign-policy record in this part of the world may be warranted, on an interpersonal level I see the U.S. military treating Iraqis with respect over and over again. I see commanders asking me and other American Muslims for advice on how to deal with religious and cultural sensitivities and taking very seriously any real or perceived abuses by troops. I see Iraqis risk their safety and the safety of their families to inform on rogue elements. I see soldiers who've never left places like Kansas City understand and use the word inshallah. I've seen food distribution that was slow and methodical because U.S. soldiers there wanted to make sure that older mothers got what they needed first. Afterwards community leaders and elders who normally would have cursed these foreigners thank them for treating their people with dignity.

There is an Arab proverb that says a thousand days of tyranny is better than one day of anarchy. It's time we kick that proverb to the curb.

I'll bet that proverb was written by a tyrant.