Army Col. Dana Pittard's name crossed my path again today. I've come to the conclusion that he is a gentleman.
Being a gentleman, even when faced with the hardest decisions, is a reflection of what I believe we're missing today in our American leaders. It's reassuring to know there are men like Dana Pittard on America's side.
With corresponding gentlemanly leadership in Washington D.C., I think this mission may have been a winning success by now. I realize now that this is the component we've been missing. There are few in the Bush administration that have acted with discernible grace as gentleman. The greater world knows it and has reacted accordingly by leaving us, for the better part, to our own (ugly) political devices in Iraq. They see we've made our own disgraceful bed, and it's in that bed we sleep while men like Dana Pittard put a decent face on some downright indecent policies.
I am convinced Col. Pittard is doing his personal best for this country. I pray for equally decent leadership to help him succeed...leadership that will be seen by Iraqis as having genuine motives with prompt follow-through on important promises.
Let's face it..thanks to President Bush, we unnecessarily broke Iraq and now we've bought it. We are at their service now, if we look at this as ethical business (and we must). The overall personal customer service in Iraq stinks so far. An ethical businessman is always a gentleman (or lady).
I wish Bush was a gentleman. He's a chickenhawk, a shifty-eyed liar, an inexperienced and irresponsible Texas-tough talker (double-daring killers to attack our troops), a bumbling buffoon.
Because human beings are prone to illusion, the sounds and sights of battle—the groans of the wounded, the maimed bodies of one’s comrades—may remain in the mind for many years, like a cloud that confuses judgment. Hence, a man who has fought on the battlefield and has later risen to high office may be fearful of leading his people to war. Such weakness does not afflict the armchair warrior, who at all times is firm in his resolve.
We need more Dana Pittards. If anyone can win this war, it will be the men and women who come forth with a force of genuine compassion and respect.
In the following story, an Iraqi Shi'ite cleric claims that a decent gesture by Col. Pittard did not change his views on the occupation. You simply cannot recognize a friend when you and your brothers and sisters are being assaulted.
I put myself in that Muslim cleric's place. My own current views on our occupation of Iraq aren't much different than his.
I believe, however, that Col. Pittard's described gesture and kindness is something that will not soon be forgotten by the cleric.
It's small gestures like these (along with larger gestures such as securing world cooperation) that will eventually, (with better leadership in Washington), change the hearts of freedom-seeking Iraqis.
[A senior Shiite Muslim cleric, Ali Abdul Kareem Madani] has his own reasons for disliking the U.S. occupation. He returned to Baqubah on May 25 after nearly 10 months in seven different Army detention centers, where he was taken after being accused of promoting anti-U.S. violence early in the occupation.
The charges against him have not been dropped, U.S. officials said. But Army Col. Dana J.H. Pittard, who recently took command here and realized Madani's position of influence, helicoptered to Umm Qasr -- about 325 miles to the southeast, at the head of the Persian Gulf -- to secure his release from prison and escort him home, according to Iraqi and U.S. sources.
Pittard has shown himself to be a gentleman, Madani said, but the gesture did not change his views on the U.S. occupation.
*For insight into the security mess in Ba'qubah, read Eric Jewett's ("Baghdad Eric's") entry about his frustrating experience there. Mr. Jewett has been working for the Coalition Provisional Authority as an advance representative and special assistant to Paul Bremer.