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October 06, 2005



I think the change will only start to take place with the Iraqi's young generation. Not just with education but the cultural part too. I read about the various conditions of the schools there and how some lack even bare necessities, that will have to be remedied...What are the schools like in your area?

Don Cox

Iraq urgently needs a big campaign of adult literacy classes. They could be held in the renovated schools in the evenings.


With such a lack of education, is it any wonder that its so easy to see how the terrorists can spread such a false message? Education, as it is here is the key to a better society.

Keep up the good work Major.


What an excellent point to bring, up especially your comparison to surrounding nations. Not only is Al-Quaeda fighting democracy, they are fighting basic literacy, much like the early Christian Church did in the Dark Ages. It puts things in perspective.

I don't think the reader above who spoke of using the schools to teach adult education in the eveings fully grasps what your saying.

Teaching adult education in the evening is what we do here, because we can. This kind of luxury is not even on the ordinary Iraqi's to-do list. They have to first protect and then nourish their families. I admire the work you are doing major. Thanks.


Major K,

You said it all when you said this:

"We work with what we have for now, and we try to progress every day"

Nothing in Life is ever perfect. There is not enough money, men, or materiel in this world to fight a perfect war or win a perfect peace. The mark of a Man is what he does with the things he is given. If he strives hard every day, and does his best, then he has done all that can be done.

"If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!".....

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
----Rudyard Kipling

You Men Press On. Keep doing your best, and we'll keep fighting to support you in public and private. We are so proud of you and everything you've done. We know the job isn't finished, but we also know it will be.

Because you are Men.



I am so greatful to live in these United States!!!


I read this and thought of the old saying, you can give a man a fish, and feed him for a day, you can teach a man to fish and feed him for life. Education is the key to the improvement of any society, but we must remember that education begins in the home. If we do not encourage the future mothers of Iraq to learn basic reading and writing skills, we will continue to face this challenge with each generation. That may be the biggest cultural hurdle we face.


Iraq was indeed a developing country before 1991, however before sanctions it was a fairly wealthy developing country with a rapidly rising standard of living. To be sure Sadaam managed to badly damage that trend with his war on Iran, however literacy levels were in the 70 percent range.

This collapsed with the collapse of the schooling system and other support institutions in the 1990s and pre-US invasion (the effect of which was magnified by the demographic bulge).

The relevance here is that Americans in Iraq should not think that what they are seeing is Iraq as it was 20 years ago nor the only life Iraqis have known (although to be sure it is the case for those under 25-30).

As for the pious mumbling supra re "education" and mothers, quite simply when there is security, things will move forward, as in general the region values education rather highly. End of story.

Well, it is interesting reading the impressions of those who've parachuted into the region. While the whole affaire is fucked into a cocked hat, one rather hopes something may be extracted in the end.

Osama - Iraqi

Keeping the Iraqis uneducated was part of Saddam’s policy, his idea was (you can control an uneducated population easier than a one that is educated)... He also used it as a weapon against the Shia and Kurds.


Major-do you think you could possibly give the American public a state of the union address? You know, get down to basics on the Middle East and what positive effect our success in Iraq could have for the US Citizenry for the coming generations? I know it's alot to ask but you stated what needed to be said in a small little posting. I'd say the KISS Principle works here.


Great post Major. We need as many honest reports and evaluations as we can get. I agree with you about the power of education. What you guys are doing for the Iraqi is truly wonderful. It is also very insightful.

You are giving them the tools in more ways than one to rebuild their country. One day, hopefully, the Iraqi people will look back on this time and then at their thriving, free, country and say a silent thank you to a bunch of American soldiers who didn't come as occupiers but as friends!

Tony B


Thank you. That is all. Just, Thank you.

Lieutenant K

Maj K,
Hi sir, I'm Lieutenant K. I'm a SIGO up in Ramadi. I'm also a father of two, a writer, and a citizen soldier. I also spent four years on active duty, then "got out" for four years before joining the Guard. It's been a long and winding road. I recently found your blog, Lieutenant C's, and some others that I enjoy reading when I can.
As for you latest post, it is compelling the way we take basic literacy for granted in our military, and puts a new spin on the power of pen over sword.
I am careful not to violate OPSEC, so its a collection of mini essays. As a writer, I like to think I still keep it interesting without getting overly specific.
Thanks for all you do, and God Bless.

Lieutenant K

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