Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

While the protesters manage to find a couple of hours to go out in the street and march. Iraqi-Americans are willing to put their lives on the line to make their voices heard.

Haider Al-Jubury fled Iraq more than a decade ago after he was pulled out of high school and forced to train for the Army. Now 29, he has asked the Defense Department for permission to return to his homeland to fight alongside coalition troops trying to oust Saddam Hussein.

"There are American men my age over there fighting. I should be there, I should be the one to liberate my country," Al-Jubury said calmly as he sat with friends at Sinbad's Cafe on a recent night.

"I want to fight side-by-side with the U.S. Army, shoulder to shoulder," he said. "I think it's my job and my duty."

As Al-Jubury spoke, his friends nodded in encouragement.

"So many Iraqis are wanting to serve, to liberate their country," said 40-year-old Basel Taki, of Canton, Ohio. "These people want to fight. They've paid a lot, suffered a lot."

Maha Hussein, president of Iraqi Forum for Democracy, said hundreds of Michigan Iraqi-Americans have volunteered for military service, though she doesn't know how many have been accepted.

Al-Jubury has applied to serve for the Free Iraqi Forces, a group of mostly Iraqi refugees trained to assist military operations, according to the Defense Department. They also are trained in rehabilitation efforts.

A department spokesman refused to discuss details of the Free Iraqi Forces, but the agency has said it would be allowed to train up to 3,000 people in Hungary.

Al-Jubury said he waits every day for the call to serve: "I dream about it, I talk and think about it every minute."

< email | 3/25/2003 03:20:00 PM | link

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