How outrageous really. Among other things the Americans have brought huge volumes of pornography and prostitution to once-proud Iraq. For Christmas, the Americans now only dressed up troops as Santa Claus 'for the kids', there were the near-naked girls in the fighting ring tearing each other apart on the Iraqi version of that miserable TV program 'SMACK DOWN':
U.S. troops sing for silent night
Tue December 23, 2003 10:30 PM ET
By Robin Pomeroy
TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - In a town where the night air is usually punctuated by some kind of explosion or gunfire, singing for a "Silent Night" might be wishful thinking.
But in the large tent which serves as a canteen for some 30,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in Tikrit, that was the song Captain Tonya Estell sang, unaccompanied, to her comrades on Tuesday as troops got ready for Christmas a long way from home.
With a full series of religious services planned for Christmas Eve at Task Force Ironhorse, the army base in Iraq which occupies a sprawling park of palaces that used to belong to Saddam Hussein, the festivities are already under way.
As rain poured down on the marquee, around 100 soldiers gathered after breakfast to listen to a gospel band and other singers and pray for their families back home.
"Some families have lost family members, they have someone who's no longer there for them," Major General Ray Odierno, who commands the U.S. Fourth Infantry Division based in Tikrit, told them. "They gave their lives for a greater good."
Odierno, whose men helped capture the former president in a hole in the ground near Tikrit, said his soldiers, who are under constant threat of attack from insurgents who reject their occupation of Iraq, should be proud of their work.
"We have brought hope and renewal to a country through our sacrifices," he said in his address. "Maybe they (Iraqis) believe in Christ, maybe they don't, but it doesn't matter. It's about hope, renewal and thankfulness."
After the service, he told Reuters TV: "It was somewhat of a Christmas present to capture Saddam Hussein and I think it will make a big difference as we continue to move forward in Iraq."
In the barracks around the base, which stretches over several square km, soldiers have been putting up small plastic Christmas trees, tinsel and stockings.
Mail, trucked up from an airport in Kuwait, has doubled in the run-up to Christmas. Soldiers hope for DVDs, electronic games and, above all, food parcels.
For several weeks, the tables in the mess hall have been adorned with greetings cards from U.S. school children.
"Dear Hero," read a typical one from a child in El Paso, Texas. "I'm really proud that you are out there fighting for our country. You are very brave."
For most soldiers, typically here on a 12-month tour of duty, Christmas means they are that bit closer to going home.
One, who preferred not to be identified said: "It's like at Thanksgiving. They try to make it feel like home, but the more they try, the less it is."