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A Day at the Iraqi Expat Polls

Washington, DC. Sunday, January 30, 2005

The man on the left was nearly killed in a 1998 uprising. he moved from camp to camp throughout the Middle East before coming to America as a refugee.

His friend, in the green, was an officer in Saddam Hussein's army until he defected and joined the opposition in the late 1990s: "What you see on the television is not the news. It is nothing. The Arab media and the Arab world hate Iraq as well, and they portray us very unfairly. While we know that American news is still somewhat distorted, it is not run by dictators. We just want our voices to be heard. Saddam Hussein was a brutal, evil man who cared nothing for humans. I wish that I could tell all those protesters I see booing Bush to stay at home, because he has done such a fantastic thing for my people. I know that I cannot because everyone can be heard in a democracy, but that is my wish."

This woman's daughter was brutally murdered when Saddam's army bombed her house. She has four children still alive. Two are not yet eighteen, and were extremely disappointed to learn that they could not vote.

The man by her side, her nephew, has lived in America on and off for the past seven years. Three of his uncles were murdered by Saddam's regime. He has been back and forth between Iraq and the US during this war, as a translator and as a US military contractor. His most recent project was to build a high school in Fallujah. When not assisting the US military, he works for the Republican Party: "The insurgents and the people fighting the United States are the ones who were favoured under Saddam's regime. They had land and houses when nobody else had anything. They do not represent Iraq. They are the chosen people of an evil, evil man, and they have benefited for too long from everyone else's suffering.

"Almost all Iraqis in America will vote Republican for the rest of their lives, as will their children and their children's children. George Bush has freed us, and we are grateful forever for this. It is a terrible shame, the loss of life and suffering on both sides. Many good people have died. What Americans at home must remember is that this is war, and war is what it took to free us. When you go to war ... when you go fishing, your pants will get wet. Maybe Bush did not do it the way that the world wanted him to, but he has done a wonderful thing, and I think that the rest of the world will look to Iraq and America as a model."

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