Letter from an American Soldier in Iraq with Good News-Truth!
Summary of 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 division.
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 Iraq.
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
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 is in
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 Lutheran
Church about what’s really going on here in Iraq. The news you watch on
TV is exaggerated, sensationalized and selective. Good news doesn’t
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 0
being generated in Iraq. 45 days later, in a partnership between the
the Iraqi people and some private companies, there are now 3200 mega
watts (Mw) of power being produced daily, 1/3 of the total national
of 8000 Mw. Downed power lines (big stuff, 400 Kilovolt (Kv) and 132 Kv)
are being repaired and are about 70% complete.
Then there is water purification. In central Iraq between Baghdad and
Mosul, home of the 4th Infantry Division, Water treatment was spotty at
The facilities existed, but the controls were never implemented. Simple
chemicals like Chlorine for purification and Alum (Aluminum Sulfate) for
sediment settling (The Tigris River is about as clear as the Mississippi
were in short supply or not used at all and when chlorine was used, it
metered by the scientific method of guessing. So some people got pool
water and some people got water with lots of little things moving in it.
We are slowly but surely solving that. Contracts for repairs to
are only 50% or less operational are being let, chemicals are being
delivered, although we don’t have the metering problem solved yet (It’s
been 45 days).
How about oil and fuel? Well the war was all about oil wasn’t it? You
was. It was all about oil for the Iraqi people because they have no
income, they produce nothing else. Oil is 95% of the Iraqi GNP. For this
nation to survive, it MUST sell oil. The Refinery at Bayji is at
75% of capacity producing gasoline. The crude pipeline between Kirkuk
(Oil Central) and Bayji will be repaired by tomorrow (2 June). LPG, what
Iraqi’s use to cook and heat with, is at 103% of normal production and
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 as
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 the
people, crude oil is being stored, the country is at 75% capacity now,
need to export or stop pumping soon, thank the UN for the delay. ALL LPG
goes to the Iraqi people EVERYWHERE. Water is being purified as best
they can, but at least it’s running all the time to everyone.
Are we still getting shot at? Yep Are American Soldiers still dying?
about 1 a day from the 4th ID, most in accidents, but dead is dead.
If we are doing all this for the Iraqi’s, why are they shooting at us?
The general population isn’t. There are still bad guys, who won’t let go
the old regime. They are Ba’ath party members (Read Nazi Party, but not
as nice) who know nothing but the regime. They were thugs for the regime
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. They
simply applying their skills….and we are applying ours.
There is no Christian way to say they must be eliminated and we are
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, the
Ba’ath party guys come out with the short end of the stick. The most
amazing thing to me is that they don’t realize that if they stopped
at us, we would focus on fixing things and leave. The more they shoot at
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 yards
from where two hit the Tikrit Palace), he had plenty to spare. But, ANY
damage you see to schools, hospitals, power generation facilities,
refineries, pipelines, was ALL caused either by the Iraqi Army in its
throws or the Iraqi civilians looting the places. Could the army have
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 informed
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. We
our necks out on the world chopping block to free a people. I’ve already
talked the weapons of mass destruction thing to death, bottom line, who
cares, this country was one big conventional weapons ammo dump
We have probably destroyed more weapons and ammo in the last 30 days
than the US Army has ever fired in the last 30 years (Remember, this is
country the size of Texas), so drop the WMD argument as the reason we
came here, if we find it GREAT, if we don’t, SO WHAT? I’m living in a
“guest palace” on a
500 acre palace compound with 20 palaces with like facilities built in
dozen towns all over Iraq that were built for one man. Drive down the
and out into the countryside 5 miles away (I have) and see a family of
10 living in a mud hut herding two dozen sheep, Then tell me why you
we are here.
Respectfully, ERIC RYDBOM MAJ, ENGINEER Deputy Division Engineer
4th Infantry Division