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Letter from an
American Soldier in Iraq with
Summary of the eRumor This widely circulated
email goes beyond the headlines from Iraq and talks about some of
the successes from the standpoint of a soldier with an engineering
This email started circulating after
the cessation of hostilities in Iraq in 2003 and during a time of
criticism of the U.S. handling of the aftermath of the war against
While we cannot vouch for all of the details in the letter, we
have confirmed that it is authentic.
It is not a hoax.
We contacted Major Rydbom's wife who verified that her husband and
the letter are real.
She cautioned that there are some versions of the letter circulating
that have been altered from the original and include commentary that
was not from her husband.
Last updated 7/26/03
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
This is really quite a different story from those you
read or hear about
news these days. Listen to what is being said by an Army Major who
Iraq and seems to have a pretty good handle on the situation.
OPEN LETTER TO FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH OF RICHMOND BEACH
It has been a while since I have written to my friends at First
Church about what's really going on here in Iraq. The news you
TV is exaggerated, sensationalized and selective. Good news
The stuff you don't hear about? Let's start with Electrical Power
in Iraq. The day after the war was declared over, there was nearly
being generated in Iraq. 45 days later, in a partnership between
the Iraqi people and some private companies, there are now 3200
watts (Mw) of power being produced daily, 1/3 of the total
of 8000 Mw. Downed power lines (big stuff, 400 Kilovolt (Kv) and
are being repaired and are about 70% complete.
Then there is water purification. In central Iraq between Baghdad
Mosul, home of the 4th Infantry Division, Water treatment was
The facilities existed, but the controls were never implemented.
chemicals like Chlorine for purification and Alum (Aluminum
sediment settling (The Tigris River is about as clear as the
were in short supply or not used at all and when chlorine was
metered by the scientific method of guessing. So some people got
water and some people got water with lots of little things moving
We are slowly but surely solving that. Contracts for repairs to
are only 50% or less operational are being let, chemicals are
delivered, although we don't have the metering problem solved yet
been 45 days).
How about oil and fuel? Well the war was all about oil wasn't it?
was. It was all about oil for the Iraqi people because they have
income, they produce nothing else. Oil is 95% of the Iraqi GNP.
nation to survive, it MUST sell oil. The Refinery at Bayji is at
75% of capacity producing gasoline. The crude pipeline between
(Oil Central) and Bayji will be repaired by tomorrow (2 June).
Iraqi's use to cook and heat with, is at 103% of normal production
the US ARMY, at least 4th ID, are insuring it is being distributed
You have to remember that 3 months ago, ALL these things were used
weapons against the population to keep them in line. If your town
misbehaved, gasoline shipments stopped, LPG pipelines and trucks
stopped, Water was turned off, power was turned off.
Now, until exports start, every drop of gasoline produced goes to
people, crude oil is being stored, the country is at 75% capacity
need to export or stop pumping soon, thank the UN for the delay.
goes to the Iraqi people EVERYWHERE. Water is being purified as
they can, but at least it's running all the time to everyone.
Are we still getting shot at? Yep Are American Soldiers still
about 1 a day from the 4th ID, most in accidents, but dead is
If we are doing all this for the Iraqi's, why are they shooting at
The general population isn't. There are still bad guys, who won't
the old regime. They are Ba'ath party members (Read Nazi Party,
as nice) who know nothing but the regime. They were thugs for the
that caused many to disappear in the night and they have no other
least the Nazis had jobs they could go back to after the war as
managers, engineers, etc...these people have no skills but terror.
simply applying their skills....and we are applying ours.
There is no Christian way to say they must be eliminated and we
so with all the efficiency we can muster. Our troops are shot at
everyday by small arms and RPGs. We respond and 100% of the time,
Ba'ath party guys come out with the short end of the stick. The
amazing thing to me is that they don't realize that if they
at us, we would focus on fixing things and leave. The more they
us, the longer we will stay.
Lastly, Realize that 90% the damage you see on TV was caused by
IRAQI's, NOT the war. Sure we took out a few bridges from military
necessity, we took out a few power and phone lines to disrupt
communications, sure we drilled a few palaces and government
headquarters buildings with 2000lb laser guided bombs (I work 100
from where two hit the Tikrit Palace), he had plenty to spare.
damage you see to schools, hospitals, power generation facilities,
refineries, pipelines, was ALL caused either by the Iraqi Army in
throws or the Iraqi civilians looting the places. Could the army
prevented it? Nope. We can and do now, but 45 days ago the average
soldier was lucky to know what town he was in much less be
enough to know who owned what or have the power to stop a
1,000 people from looting a building by himself.
The United States and Britian are doing a very noble thing here.
our necks out on the world chopping block to free a people. I've
talked the weapons of mass destruction thing to death, bottom
cares, this country was one big conventional weapons ammo dump
We have probably destroyed more weapons and ammo in the last 30
than the US Army has ever fired in the last 30 years (Remember,
country the size of Texas), so drop the WMD argument as the reason
came here, if we find it GREAT, if we don't, SO WHAT? I'm living
"guest palace" on a
500 acre palace compound with 20 palaces with like facilities
dozen towns all over Iraq that were built for one man. Drive down
and out into the countryside 5 miles away (I have) and see a
10 living in a mud hut herding two dozen sheep, Then tell me why
we are here.