Thursday, March 27, 2003
Bob Mith suggested "The fact that Iraq will be liberated from Saddam, that we will have a government that is hopefully pro-american in the future, which will result in 1.Favorable oil deals, 2. Reduce the middle-age based "mandrassas" and islamic fundamentalism that teaches all that is not islam must die. If the governments in the middle east took responsibility for the hate preaching in the mosques and mullahs, than quite frankly we wouldn't feel the need to defend ourselves."
How many mosques have you visited, Bob? There's probably one on any street corner here and very, very, very few preach hate. Which is unlike many of the television programs that have been broadcast in the US over the past couple of years. A sheikh in any one mosque might have an audience of 20 or 30 people, but the television programs have an audience of millions and many of the speakers have been filled with hate and misinformation about Isam. Likewise, Egypt has no mullahs. Mullahs are found in Shi'ite Islam, not Sunni, and Egypt is primarily Sunni. Do you know the difference? It's pretty major. And what makes you think that the Middle East is rife with fundamentalism? Have you been here? Or are you taking someone's word for it?
This is the point of the sadness on the part of many who watch this tragic war. If the US wanted to pay out the cost of the war effort to the citizens of Iraq, most of them would be happy to take the money, and many would be happy to move to, say, Florida, which would mean that the US funds would end up being spent in the US....even better. For USD 90 billion, you could probably buy the whole bloody country and it would be yours, lock, stock and oil barrels. And no one would lose a child or parent.
On the other hand, to take the analogy of the car-chasing dog, what in heaven's name will the US do with a country full of ticked off Iraqi's should they have the misfortune to succeed? Just because many Iraqi's didn't like Saddam (and to my knowledge no one, even his family, is all that crazy about him), this doesn't mean that they will prefer to be ruled by total strangers who understaned nothing of their culture, language, religion or history. Not likely. What can you put in a situation like this to run the show other than another dictator? Except this time he/she will like the US for a longer period of time than Saddam did, hopefully?
And how about the Kurds in the north of Iraq? Last time, the US set them up to revolt and then pulled back and left them hanging in the wind. Do you think that they will trust the US government again? It's possible, but I would say unlikely.
I've seen many, many situations here in Egypt when foreigners were either intimidated by locals simply because they couldn't understand the questions that they were being asked in Arabic...things like "Where are you from? or How old is your child? or Are you enjoying your time here? or What are you doing?" Not speaking the language is a serious disability that leads to anxiety and the assumption, often wrong, that someone means them ill. On the other hand, I know of other situations where the foreigner has been courted by an English speaking person, who at the same time is laughing at the foreigner behind his back...or even to his face since the foreigner has no idea of what is being said. But the foreigner in question has his/her own agenda and doesn't necessarily want to hear that he's being strung along. Most of the time, these situations arise in the course of tourism and the worst outcome is a slightly more expensive t-shirt. But the US has proposed to run post-war Iraq, and I would suggest that they are highly unqualified as well as frankly undeserving.
The reaction of the average Iraqi to invasion is no more than what I would expect if, for example, Iraq were to invade the US (assuming it had the resources, which it doesn't) to free the poor 50+% of the US population from the tyranny of George W. After all, they didn't vote him into power and look what he's done to your economy. Poor Americans....yet I seriously doubt that any of the Americans would welcome invaders of any type. It's always worth it to turn the situation on its head to see how things look.