December 28, 2003
IRAQ: Christmas Letter from Cliff Kindy
Dear Family, Friends, and All Good People,
Today, Christmas Day, I was waking as explosions shook the darkness,
were in the air, and sirens from the green zone split the quiet of the
river. We went to the roof, our window on the world, to see tanks and
military vehicles scrambling into position to protect the hotel compound
that houses international media, US soldiers, contractors, and two UN
offices on its periphery.
...The war was to be surgical, one leader and military targets, with
reconstruction happening on its heels. Brutal ongoing military tactics, a
major purge of all Baathists, the destruction of every federal building,
and the total failure to achieve even a token repair of the electric, fuel,
security, and employment infrastructures followed. This has led to the
building of a major resistance to the US occupation across the country.
Our neighbors are clear that we as US citizens are not safe. Even they
suspect because of their relationships with us. . . .
Though we tried to be a faithful Christian alternative voice from North
America, a possibility even during the war, we have now lost that space to
the anti-American mood [that is a] response to the dismal state of the
We met a reporter from the German Stern magazine. He had been embedded with
US troops when they were doing house raids. He said the searches were timed
with a stop watch. They tried to complete searching the entire house in 45
seconds. Anything locked was kicked in, shot out, or blown up.
Three brothers invited us to the home of their father, a physician.
house was under house raid, for three hours until the father finally crept
to the door and pushed it open, inviting the soldiers in. After the males
had been handcuffed and blindfolded, the raiders discovered that it was the
wrong house. The sons were taken anyway and were only released after two
and three months with no charges. The doctor asked why the doorbell was not
. . .
Two professors visited our apartment two days ago. Six thousand physicians
and assistants have left Iraq since the war. 2000 professors have gone. The
Baathist purge has removed the intellectual and technical leadership that
will be needed to rebuild the country. Dr. Ali, not of the party himself,
said, "Most of these persons were not involved in the crimes of the Baath
Party, but only were members to keep their job or get training."
Meetings with military officers in recent days have revealed the split
between the military and policy makers. Soldiers are endangered when brutal
or opaque orders further drive the Iraqi population into the resistance
camp. Policy people without a policy operate the war by the seat of their
pants and often neglect long term security for the sake of immediate goals
Many of you readers wrote in response to my last letter. You offered
support, faith, and
encouragement. Thank you!