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UPI reports on the changing face of liberated Iraq by featuring sergeant in the new Iraqi Army, Ismin Norhan. The 19-year-old non-commissioned officer is trained, tough, and motivated for victory.
And, by the way, she's a woman:
Norhan's brown hair is pulled back into a bun and tucked under an army cap, unlike the heads of virtually every woman she checks, which are covered by long scarves. She commands at least eight privates as a sergeant. And she speaks English.
"It's good for me to be here," Norhan said. "People are surprised when they see me, but I like the work." ...
It's not easy to be a woman in the fledgling military corps, which is under attack by insurgents and fighting other security problems. Norhan says many people look her in the eye and say it's not suitable for a woman to work outside the house. In Iraq's traditional society, women were allowed only in medical roles in the military under former president Saddam Hussein. It's predominantly men one sees out on the streets in the cities of Iraq. But some women also work in government ministries and in other professions.
"I hear many negative comments from men and women. I don't answer them," Norhan said. "Women also complain when I search them. I tell them it's for their own safety."
Privates in her unit trust her because she is good at her job, Pvt. Mohammed Abdel Munam, 21, said. The group works as a team, forged by their bond of going through training together that included house searches, how to shoot weapons, physical fitness and how to run military checkpoints.
"I'm proud of our ability to work together, because there were no females in the army before," Munam said. "We are comfortable together."
Victory in this war will come in these revolutionary and evolutionary changes. We will not watch a document of surrender being signed on the deck of the Missouri, with the media dutifully recording it for posterity. al-Qaeda will not send a representative to Zurich to negotiate a truce.
Instead, we must watch for the true victories, such as a successful national election in Afghanistan, where both women and men participated in roughly equal numbers. We must celebrate when allies such as Pakistan capture important members of the terrorist networks, which lead inevitably to more captures and the breaking of conspiracies. We have to salute heroes like Ismin Norhan, who feel secure enough to insist on doing her part to help a free Iraq stand on its own.
While capturing or killing Osama bin Laden would be a tremendous tactical and strategic win, the war won't be over until the oppressed are liberated and terrorism discarded as the only means of political expression. Once we get there, as in Europe, we may find that the people of the region will oppose us in multilateral organizations as they find their own voices and represent their own interests. Freely elected leaders who have to answer to their constituents will disappoint us diplomatically and economically. We'll harrumph about ingratitude, but that will also be victory; they won't be blowing us or themselves to bits.
I'm looking forward to the chagrin.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on November 20, 2004 2:14 PM
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Readers, Friends and other rational minds, please take a moment to consider this. I have been engaged in what seems an interminable argument over at Fables of the reconstruction regarding the Iraq war. I don't know why I even bother, especially when ... [Read More]
Tracked on November 21, 2004 12:21 AM
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