From the soldier side: (this is a story that was told to me by one of my former bosses. He was one of the first to roll into Afghanistan right after 9-11, then he went to Iraq. He left Iraq not too long after we got there since he was assigned to a different unit....which will take too long to explain.)
I'll call him Sergeant First Class (SFC) "Happy", because he always seems happy. He told me this story in the summer of 2007 while we were at our Annual National Guard training at some Army Fort.
SFC Happy was the team leader (for mess kit repair) who went out into Baghdad several days a week. One day he thought they should go visit their friends at the local Iraqi Police (IP) station. SFC Happy and his team got to the station without incident. When he got to the big metal gate the secured the station from street traffic, he opened it as he had done many time before.
However, this time he was surprised. He wasn't surprised by a bomb, or a random RPG...no...nothing like that. But what greeted him as he walked through the metal gate was a big horse.
Being an inquisitive type, SFC Happy decided to inquire with the local police as to why they had a big horse in the front of their station. This was pretty odd for that part of Baghdad. SFC Happy grabbed his "terp" and walked into the station. The police captain greeted them and offered afternoon tea. Ahh, a good cup of tea and then you can talk about anything...but tea first.
This was the story that SFC Happy finally got from the IP Captain.
It seems some local Iraqi Idiot (II) thought he could become rich by pulling off a bank robbery. To make it totally Hajji, the II must have seen too many American Western movies. He found a horse to use as his get away vehicle. To make it even more retarded, the II found an ancient British Welby .45 cal revolver to use as his weapon.
I'm not sure if you can tell where this is going, but the II was not very good at this. Many of the banks in Iraq at that time rarely every actually had any cash in them. It seems as soon as they got cash, they had to pay local salaries and stuff....so the cash ran out quick. Nobody ever put money in a bank there for savings...because the bankers would just take it.
So, the Iraqi Idiot takes his horse, ties it up outside the bank, takes his ancient revolver and walked into the bank demanding all the money. At that time, most Iraqi males over 18 years of age were allowed to have one rifle. Most of those working in the bank had an AK 47 or something just as good.
The II ran out of the bank with no money. The Iraqi Police soon took up pursuit...but fearing that they might hit the horse, they held their fire. Finally one copper had a good shot and took it....wounding the II, but not hurting the horse. (It's funny how a human life is nothing, but to avoid injuring an animal will change how some people do things.)
The big problem? The Iraqi Police couldn't figure out what to do with the horse. They asked SFC Happy. He shrugged his shoulders and exited the building.
How come we were "Freeing the Iraqis?"