On Thanking U.S. Troops
Here’s a portion of a press release issued by Said Jawad, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Washington, to mark the recent rise in U.S. military fatalities in his country:
I would like to convey our most sincere condolences to the friends and families of each of those that have fallen in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. They are heroes and their valiant sacrifices are not in vain, and they will each be remembered for their distinguished service and valor in this fight for a noble cause.
I excerpted Jawad’s statement because it’s four paragraphs long. By contrast, in his speech today to the U.S. Institute of Peace, here’s the closest Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came to recognizing the fact that over 4,300 U.S. troops have died in Iraq:
He extended his thanks to “the international community and all the countries that have cooperated and helped Iraq,” saying Iraq would enjoy a “solid relationship with a great and strong country like the United States.”
The U.S. invaded Iraq in an unprovoked preemptive war, and the chaos that followed makes it very understandable — if painful to American ears — why an Iraqi head of state who called it a “great victory” when U.S. troops withdrew from his towns and cities wouldn’t extend much praise to U.S. forces. Obama said Maliki intends to lay a wreath at Arlington National Ceremony honoring fallen U.S. troops, which is a meaningful and respectful gesture. Still, the two statements underscore the difference in perceptions of U.S. partnership between Afghans and Iraqis.