Michael Totten

An Act of Kindness from Iraq

I have a new post up at the Commentary magazine blog:

Iraqi Army officers in Besmaya raised a thousand dollars in donations for fire victims in San Diego, California, and the only place that seems to have reported the story is the military blog OPFOR. Author Richard S. Lowry learned about it in a press release from the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq Public Affairs, so it’s unlikely he’s the only one in the media who knows something about it.
Sending a thousand dollars to California will be about as helpful as throwing a glass of water into the firestorm. It’s the thought that counts here. And what surprising thought it is. How many Americans expect charity from Iraq?
As Lowry points out, “most Americans do not consider Iraqis as people.” He’s right. Most of us only know them from sensational media reports about masked insurgents, wailing widows, and death squads. Most of us may instinctively understand that the majority of Iraqis are just regular people, but it’s hard to keep that in mind when the only thing we get Stateside is war coverage. I’ve met hundreds of Iraqis myself during trips to their country as a reporter, so it’s a bit easier for me to see them as just people. I’m still surprised that anyone in that broken impoverished land would even consider donating hard-earned money to Californians.

Read the rest at Commentary.
UPDATE: CNN now has the story on their Web site. Good for them.
This link will take you to all the articles I have written for Commentary. You can bookmark that page if you want to as sort of a supplement to this one.
Remember Noah Pollak? I worked with him in Northern Israel and Southern Lebanon, and he was briefly my co-blogger here. He also has been picked up as a writer by Commentary, and you can read all of his articles here.