"You like freedom?" he asked the sergeant. "This kind? This way?"Reading the article, I wonder how long Mr. Menti has left to live.
"No," Sergeant McKinnon said.
"I think you and I and many people do not like freedom in this way," he said. "I believe this. I am sure."
"It is wrong, the American Army coming here. It is wrong."
He looked at Sergeant McKinnon, who is younger than many of his 14 children. He was trying to draw him out.
"If American Army came here for three months, four months, O.K." Mr. Menti said. "But now is four years."
If there were no American military presence in Iraq, he said, there would be no insurgents. One serves as a magnet for the other.
Mr. Menti spoke to the sergeant as if he were an American diplomat, as if he had some influence over the broad sweeps of American foreign policy. The sergeant remained quiet and polite.
"I don’t think he realizes that we’re trying to make this country safer for him," he said to Lance Corporal Maguire.
"I think he realizes that we’re trying to make it safe, but that the more we stay here the more people come in and make it worse," Lance Corporal Maguire replied.