Bundles and areas of higher rates of attacks

But it’s kind of a big one.  We’re at 191 right now, and I think more were arriving this afternoon.

191 — that’s a pretty respectable number folks.  I need to try and get over there for some more photos at the IBOL World Headquarter Shipping Container of Awesomeness.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by and are helping with the poll.  Right now, widows are in the lead but by a hair (and yes, it does seem funny to type that — add that to the list of “things I never thought I would type.”)

In the poll, I asked about where bundles should go.  In Army speak, it’s a question about methods of delivery in order to achieve desired effects (or something like that.)  The question isn’t an accident; wondering to which portion of the Iraqi society would you most want to see the next round of bundles go speaks to a core issue with IBOL — what are we trying to accomplish.

Good friend Robin was caught a bit off guard, I think, when I included “Areas with a higher rate of attacks on Americans” in the list of answers.  Why would one want to reward an area where Americans are attacked at a higher rate?  Well, that’s actually kinda of what IBOL is all about — getting Iraqi security forces out into their communities, to talk to people (and maybe hand out bundles) at times other than 2 AM and under conditions other than when the security forces are coming to take someone off to jail.

From time to time, I rhetorically ask my Soldiers:  What would it take for you to take up arms against a government?  How bad would things have to be before you’d risk your life and the lives of others you love, in order to violently lash out at others?

If you couldn’t get a job or hold a job, or had no prospect for a job?
If you watched graft and corruption gobble up the money that would otherwise be your salary?
When nepotism and patronage keep you and your friends / family from even being considered for work?
If your family members were slowly starving to death?
If your children were sick from having to use unclean water?
If there was no hope, no prospect for medical care for even the most simple of health needs?
If that other group continued to attack and / or kill your family and loved ones, with repercussions?
If your elected officials will not listen?
If they instead arrest anyone who complains?

What if it was all of those things, and more?  Would that be enough to get you to take to arms, to try and force change, to try and force someone — anyone — to listen to you?

Going to an area where there are more attacks — on Americans, or on Iraqis — is about working to undo that.  Putting people back in touch with those charged with their security, with those changed (to some degree) with hearing their grievances and issues.  I am not advocating driving into an actual firefight and throwing bundles at gun-toting, bullet-spraying insurgents, but rather putting the Iraqi Security Forces into areas where people have enough grievances to drive them to take to acts of violence, or to at least turn a blind eye to those who would to harm to us or the Iraqis.

Me, I’m kind of happy to see that the widows are doing so well in the poll, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about this, too.  It is, after all, a big part of the underlying goals and objectives of IBOL.



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22 Responses to “Bundles and areas of higher rates of attacks”

  1. Jill Says:

    Are you expecting to meet the 500 box goal with the current commitments or would you like some more boxes? I can get two more in the mail this week if you still need some more. Just let me know.

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      Jill, I think we’re OK. But, as you may have guessed from the poll, I am working on a follow on for right after this. Why wait for the summer, I say.

  2. BeeKay Says:

    Same question from me — I could do a couple of boxes this week if that would be helpful. I would need the address. Let me know. And I don’t do Facebook votes, but I was going to vote for higher rates of attacks on Americans for the reasons you note above.

  3. gail norback Says:

    Thank you for a great explanation of the trying times you deal with. We sit in our homes and get involved with our “stuff” and many have no idea of the terrible realities in other countries. Please do with the boxes whatever will do the most good. I am certain you would have a better notion than I of what that is. Thanks again. Gail Norback

  4. stephanie allgood Says:

    I really appreciate you for many things, and sharing your perspective in this post is added to the list!

  5. Dawn Says:

    thanks for sharing your reasoning behind the poll. i actually voted for the “areas with higher rates of attacks against Americans” because i thought it would help to improve peoples’ opinions of us. it’s good to know that we are kind of on the same page.

    let me know if you need more boxes than are currently promised – i can send one or two more if necessary.

  6. Pat in Washington Says:

    I will get a bundle in the mail by Tuesday (March 8th) or Wednesday at the latest. Thanks for doing this, and explaining why doing this might help in many different ways.

  7. Kristin L Says:

    Hmmm, “throwing bundles at gun toting … insurgents.” You might be on to something. Sounds like a better solution than rock throwing.

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      I suppose it’s better than throwing angry ferrets, right?

      • Yvonne Says:

        Oh hey, I’d like to throw my daughter’s three ferrets at someone. Actually, I’d just like to throw them out!! They’re cute but ……………………………….

  8. Marilyn Nash Says:

    I have a box ready to mail but have not yet received an address…what do I need to do?

  9. Debbie Says:

    I have complete faith that you have better insight into where these bundles should go than anyone who isn’t experiencing Iraq. My first temptation was to write in “other”–“wherever the need is greatest”, though I ended up voting for the widows. Did you set up the poll, I wonder, as an educational opportunity for us? I am grateful for the education, feel a little bit chastised, because obviously anyone sending a bundle is eager to help heal the damage in Iraq. Though maybe we should have a discussion about our motivations as well.

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      Debbie — nah, not as an educational opportunity. I can sit here quietly and wrestle with these things, or I can ask others and talk about it. I have my own logic, but that’s just my own — it’s good to talk, good to debate, good to hear how others see things because often enough, others have better ideas.

  10. Cleo Says:

    Well, I personally think you should donate most of the fabrics to the section that you think will make the best of them. In this case I think it would be “Areas with a higher rate of attacks on Americans”. You know the situation over there in Iraq, and I(or we) trust your judgment. So really, even though my vote in the poll kind of voted for “widows” it really is up to what you and the other soldiers there think is best for the situation.
    As for my fabrics, I just want them to be of use. So as long as they are put in good use which they most definitely will be, I’ll be happy. 🙂

  11. suesue Says:

    Heavy discussion. I think the widows would do lots of good but no matter where the bundles go, it’ll help someone in need. Small waves go far. Helping the areas where there are more attacks would help too I know to “embrace the enemy”. Karma.

  12. Carol Crosswhite Says:

    It seems to me that the basic question here is need versus strategy combined with need. Both are very valid as recipients of bundles in my mind. You guys and gals with your feet on the ground there in Iraq are definitely in the best position to make those decisions, and we’ll just keep the bundles coming.

  13. kathyh Says:

    Sunday evening in Oregon,
    I have just returned from Sewexpo in Puyallup , Washington. Lots of sewing excitement up there.
    Thanks for the brief, but succinct, descriptions of Iraqi life and the roll of Americans, currently.
    You would know best on how to distribute and as it is a gift from us to them, I don’t feel comfortable putting stipulations on who should receive the bundles.
    Give them without expectations.

    I’m just glad to contribute.

  14. Sandra Says:

    I, personally, voted for the Greatest attacks on Iraqis option. My reasoning for this is similar to what you put, if things are bad enough that they’re actually attacking the people trying to help, maybe some good will via IBOL would help with situations. The reason I voted for attacks on Iraqis is that I can understand why someone over there would support attacking the outsiders who are there without any ties to them or their country. However, in my opinion, it would take even further provocation to attack one of my own countrymen who are trying to do their job.

    I mean, I have no clue what’s going on over there, obviously. I live in a nice, cushy apartment in Ohio and the furthest I go is wanting to kick in the shins the guy who stole my parking spot. But I have to imagine that if things are bad enough to attack one of your own people, things could really use some good will to show that people do care.

    Just my 2 cents.

  15. Cathy R Says:

    I’m late to the party, but I would agree with most of the posters. Distribute the bundles where they will do the most good and build goodwill for you guys and Americans in general.

    I’m sad that we are so poorly thought of in many places in the world and if our bundles can help fix that, more the better.

  16. charlotte ann dehgan Says:

    Wow! What a great group of like minded folks. I agree with giving where the need is greatest. I also think that if Art asks us to turn on the spigot and send lots more that most of us have another box in our stash and more at Joannes on sale. I haven’t introduced this to my quilt guild
    yet and then there are the retreat folks two different places. So I think if
    we are given a green light we might just be able to give to everyone on Art’s possible list. What do the rest of you think? Hugs, Annie Dehgan

  17. Erin O'Connor French Says:

    Art, 4 bundles in the mail today. More to come on Monday after our next quilting group meeting. God bless you all and may St. Patrick watch over you today and always.

    GO IRISH!!

  18. Tru Says:

    Is it too late to participate in this batch? If it isn’t too late I could use the address since I’ve quite a few bits of fabric and other supplies laying about.

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