_A few months ago as you can see from the first date on his messages befriended me on Facebook, I get a lot of requests and added him. After I did he sent me the first message. I didn't reply to it for two reasons, firstly Iw as very busy and secondly I don't give out that kind of information to people that I do not know personally or have dealings with, you just don't know who they are not matter what they tell you on Facebook! What I want or should I say would like is for you to read everything and give me your opinion.
Here are his messages and my answer
Elliot Collier lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA. Al-Rashid 8/March/2011
Mr Yahia, I hope this message finds you and is not dismissed by an assistant. My name is Elliot Collier; back in 2005 and 2006 I lived at the former Al-Rashid training facility in Baghdad described in your book (I was not a soldier). I am writing to inquire if you would be willing to provide some basic information about the facility such as former uses of the various buildings and things of that nature. If so I have several maps I can send for reference. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, I am a big fan of your books and blog, and I would be honored to have your assitance in this matter. Sincerely, Elliot Collier PS: I have also sent a request through your website via Mr. Rolls.
After I posted a photo on my Facebook page and on Twitter that I received from a Solider in the American Army today, he sent me this message.
_I'm ashamed of you Mr. Yahia. I sympathized with your past experiences, but even still, how can you of all people attack America like this without pause? You know better than anyone that the actions of certain leaders, agencies, or persons are not a reflection of their country. Look at the atrocities committed by Iraqis, Afghanis, Iranians, and other people in the middle east; yet you are not posting pictures of their soldiers with dead bodies or slamming their governments. Why are you not outraged about insurgents decapitating civilians? Why are you not protesting Al-Jazira for broadcasting these murders? These pictures and videos do exist... why are you not posting them and condemning the terrorists? Why are we not to assume all Iraqis are murderous, barbaric monsters because of what Uday did? You criticize the US for invading Iraq but might I remind you if we hadn't Saddam would still be in power, and Uday would still be alive. You claimed it was Iraq's war to fight and the US shouldn't have been involved, but do you really think anything would have happened? Who would have stepped up to challenge his power? I will admit war crimes were committed, on both sides; but these are not the actions of a whole people. I spent a year being shot at (by whom?) in Iraq yet never fired a shot myself. We were all taught to take the diplomatic approach first. I have befriended many Iraqis and even assisted several in immigrating to the United States. Does this place me in the same lot as the man in that picture because of our birthplace? Not all Americans are evil, just as not all Iraqis are terrorists. You cannot judge a country based on the perverse actions of a few deranged individuals (which again, exist on BOTH sides). Your hatred and negativity is what is preventing you from finding asylum in another country. Who would want a man who continually spouts off hatred at every government he does not agree with? Yes, you've been through some terrible situations that I personally cannot even imagine, but positive actions will carry you a lot further in life. You claim that out of you, Saddam, and Uday, you were the only one left standing... but are you? You claim to support peace, but nothing you do supports this claim. You are a bitter, resentful man that has no future if you don't follow your own teachings and start practicing tolerance and not hatred. You are different than Uday... but are you any better?
Here is my answer to Mr. Collier.
I am ashamed of you Mr. Collier. To spout off at me with no regard or understanding of what I am saying to you or the world except your own vision, that I am attacking all the people in America. If you had truly read anything that I have written you would know that I continually repeat that I am not against American people, but I am most definitely against American foreign policy.
You say that you have been shot at yet did not return fire, that is because you are not a soldier, but I ask the question what were you doing in Iraq? Why would you risk your life in a barbaric country like Iraq, if it were not for the love of your country or maybe the huge wage that you were being paid to be there, I guarantee it was not because you loved Iraq, the Iraqi people or wanted to see us a free nation. Ask yourself this, how can we be a free nation when we were invaded by a foreign force without provocation?
Yes, it was for Iraqi people to depose Saddam, how can you tell me that we would not have had an "Arab Spring" ? Who would have thought that Mubarak would have been brought down by his own people? I cannot say the same for Libya as we all know foreign hands were a part of that also.
If America had not invaded and Saddam was still in power there would not be Sunni on Shia killings, people would not be being beheaded, murdered or paid to change their name from Sunni to Shia, Under Saddam no matter how much I hated his regime, people had electricity, clean water and medicines, the only time that they did not was under sanctions, yet another weapon used by foreign hands against the people of Iraq.
You accuse me of being bitter etc. I am not bitter, I am telling the truth, just because you don't like it doesn't mean that I am wrong and maybe you should take your own advice. As for the people you helped to Immigrate to America, well done to you I hope that they make you proud.
As for Al-Jazeera TV if you don't know who is behind them and paying their wages ask your government. All of these insurgents and militias were made after America invaded.
Ask yourself this, if I had posted a picture of Iraqis standing with "job well done" smiles outside of a car with dead Americans inside how would you feel?, no matter what your politics or feeling for your government? Why is it that every other life has more value and is entitled to more feelings of outrage than an Iraqis?? Also if I had posted that type of picture you would have accused me of being a supporter of the insurgents, so really it's a no win situation for me isn't it? the best example would have been the photos that were put on the internet of insurgents who had killed Mercenaries in Fallujah, what did the American army do to Fallujah? They fired everything legal and illegal at it until it was not much more than powder in the ground, anyone who survived will see generations of their children disfigured and deformed from the chemical weapons that were used and until now Fallujah has the highest cancer level in Iraq. Those mercenaries were not even American or legally attached to the US forces. So again many were killed for a few.
So I stay true to myself Mr. Collier no matter what you think of me.
If you want to tell me that Iraq is safer today under the puppets that have been installed by America and it is not controlled by Iran then I think you need to take a step back and let yourself see things clearly.
Where do you think that I get these photos? I get them from other Americans who disagree with what is going on with their own people but are not in a position to do anything about it.
This is a quote from your message above:
"Your hatred and negativity is what is preventing you from finding asylum in another country. Who would want a man who continually spouts off hatred at every government he does not agree with?"
Firstly I am not seeking asylum, I have lived 20 years in the west and what I am seeking is Citizenship which I am entitled to by law. I do not spout off hatred at governments and even if I did what about freedom of speech or is that only for Western people? And if so, what is the point of bringing Democracy to the middle east if we are not truly allowed to practice it? Your words prove that anyone who had some sort of authority in Iraq be you a soldier/fireman etc (because let's face it anyone who went to Iraq had authority over the Iraqi people) believes that anyone who had an opinion different to your American one is wrong! You see what I have learned in my 20 years in the West is that it is fine to criticize dictators, despots and tyrants but not democracies, which is strange because that is truly what democracy is all about isn't it? So, although I understood perfectly well before, I am thankful that somebody finally said it out loud. It is more than clear now why people like Uday's pimps, murderers from militias etc have attained Citizenship in the West, they are able to put their heads down and say Yes, yes, yes, that is until they get the citizenship and then you see them on Arabic TV (because after years they still can't speak the language of their new country) saying things like "Uday was a Martyr" and "down with America". What you see is what you get with me, I am not two faced.
As I said earlier, I HOPE THE IRAQIS THAT YOU HELPED TO IMMIGRATE TO THE US DO YOU PROUD.
As Mr. Bush, your President who began all of these invasions around the world said himself;
"If my country was invaded, I would be the first one to fight against the invading force."
" They're occupied (Iraq), they're not happy about it"
Good day Sir.