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Jobs-and Americans-wanted

"Jobs-and Americans-wanted" Continued...

Issue: "Lebanon: Democracy now," Feb. 26, 2005

Staff Sgt. Amer Simmen said he is confident Iraq can use its oil resources to get back on its feet as long as the new government doesn't stray down the same subversive path as the old regime. "We are a rich country. Just the government is a bad government," he said.

Sgt. Maj. Bill Kervin, of Knoxville, Tenn., the lone U.S. soldier among five Iraqis who lingered long after the meeting, borrowed on American economic trends to show the Iraqis they are not alone. "It's not just Iraqis. It is all over the world," he said, explaining that crime rates rise in the United States whenever jobs are scarce. "What ya'll need are some Wal-Marts and some McDonald's."

When the translator turned the sergeant-major's words into Arabic, the five Iraqi soldiers nodded their heads in approval.

-Edward Lee Pitts is military affairs correspondent for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, currently embedded with the Tennessee National Guard 278th Regimental Combat Team in Iraq

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