the Iraq misadventure

bq. >Can I ask you a question about what is happening over there.

>As of today, there is more horrific mayhem in Iraq.

>What do you folks make of this? I really do not trust our media

>to represent the truth. How do the Pakistan people in general

>feel about the US being there? If you have time to respond,

>it would be appreciated. If others there have comments they

>also would be appreciated. Thanks, Dave

Pakistani people in general don’t have a very good “opinion”: of the US adventure in Iraq. About a 100 percent were against it, minus a few thousand at the most. Most think it reeks of “hypocrisy”: – the arguments put forward for the war were “all”: “untrue”: from the getgo. Sure Saddam was evil incarnate, but no eviler than during the “first gulf war”: when they decided to leave him be and even let him brutally put down the Kurds – even though the US had promised to help the Kurds and had asked them to revolt against Saddam. Everyone outside America also knows that the “US supported Saddam”: in the past when it suited them to do so. He was no less evil then. Somehow most American’s don’t know that.

I can say that because I read American newspapers and watch American news channels, and they mostly don’t recall these events either. We watch CNN and BBC here for news – and having lived in the US, I have to say that the US version of CNN really portrays things in a very selective light. If people here want to have a good laugh, they put on Fox News. On top of it all, there is the sad fact that Fox News is now the most popular news channel in the US, which presents such a -biased- completely warped view of the world that people actually (I’m not kidding) watch it for laughs now and then. It’s so blatantly idiotic and pandering that people here wonder what kind of a person can take it seriously.

Democracy has to come from within. Even if the US totally pacifies Iraq, builds up a proper infrastructure, creates jobs and hands out edhi etc. I doubt it will lead to actual democracy. Here in Pakistan we have a similar situation in a ways, living under a “military dictator”: He’s a good man, and is doing his utmost for the country. But it is impossible for the military to impose democracy in a country… Their very presence has tainted the political process beyond repair. Iraq didn’t even have a political system to begin with, so that makes things doubly hard. And America supporting carpet baggers like Chalabi only makes things worse. Take a good look at the “Iraqi governing council…”: none of them are fit to serve in any governmental position. The US appointed them, practically by fiat – that’s definitely not going to inspire much trust in America amongst Iraqis, or faith in the US’s ability to make proper decisions about Iraq’s future.

One of the major differences between Americans and the rest of the world is the ability to forgive and forget. It’s an admirable trait to be sure, but I don’t think most US citizens realize the extent to which people remember the past in other countries. All these messed up situations add up to an “increasingly negative view of the US”:

bq. KO, thank you for the feedback! I am so saddened by the death and pain our soldiers and the innocents in Iraq are experiencing. It seems that there is no solution and that war and destruction is, inevitable. After reading several articles about Middle East history and politics, I have had to conclude that not all people in this world think as we think. So simple and yet so hard to digest. As many patriots the world over feel about their homeland, I love the USA. Yet, I wonder if we needed to go into Iraq and Afghanistan and as some here suggest, did we create the Bin Laden mess? Feel free to post my queries and your response. Thank you very much. Dave M.

I’ve find that most people over the world are pretty similar. ( _discounting all the nut jobs… and even those are eerily similar to each other_ ) They all have similar wants, needs and desires. So it’s not that people outside the US are so different from Americans that they think differently… it’s more so that they tend to read and discuss more world affairs and politics than most Americans. The world outside America really doesn’t affect most Americans – America is an exception in today’s world and stands apart. The opposite is true for other nations, especially in the third world. Any shift in American politics and foreign policy can have vast repercussions throughout the world. It’s not just politics. To give a small example, Pakistan’s textile industry would practically collapse if America raised trade barriers for whatever reason against Pakistani goods. Even little changes in quotas and tariffs can have a huge impact on the entire economy. So even those who couldn’t care less whether the US invades Iraq, Cuba or some other defenseless country like Canada keep an eye on the going ons of US politics.

Did the US create the Bin Laden mess? There are no black and white answers… but the US was and is definitely part of the problem. They did not create him, but they supported and brought about the conditions which gave birth to him. There’s a old saying – if you make a garbage dump then you’re going to get flies and other undesirables. The US has supported the tyrannical and repressive Saudi Arabian regime from the start, and that’s one of Laden’s main beefs. Secondly, while lots have been written about the Saudi and US funding of the Afghan jihad against the Soviets there are sharply differing views all around but one fact is clear: The US gave billions to the jihadis, and urged the Saudis to do the same. The Bin Laden construction group was also involved – they built tunnels, bunkers and so on for the jihadis. It now seems clear that Osama got involved with the jihadis then and from there moved on to bigger things.

Bombing Afghanistan was a travesty. The only thing I can compare it to is whipping a dumb beast out of anger. It’s not going to solve anything – the beast isn’t even going to understand why it’s being beaten.

bq.. The Taliban was compounded in the crumbling crucible of rubble, heroin and landmines in the backwash of the cold war. Its oldest leaders are in their early 40s. Many of them are disfigured and handicapped, missing an eye, an arm or a leg. They grew up in a society scarred and devastated by war.

…Young boys many of them orphans – who grew up in those times, had guns for toys, never knew the security and comfort of family life, never experienced the company of women. Now, as adults and rulers, the Taliban beat, stone, rape and brutalize women, they don’t seem to know what else to do with them.

Years of war has stripped them of gentleness, inured them to kindness and human compassion. Now they’ve turned their monstrosity on their own people.

>> “Arundhati Roy”:

p. This is true not just of the Taliban, but of large portions of Afghan society. Killing the Taliban hasn’t improved anything in Afghanistan – if anything, things are getting worse thanks to the US support of the warlords. This is criminal and inexcusable on the part of the US. If they had gone on and dealt with the warlords then many all over the world would have applauded them. As things stand today, it’s a complete disaster.

As for Iraq, this Iraqi sums it up best:

bq.. Believe me, Bremer and Bush are totally lost; most of the time they don’t know what they want to do, and when they do, they don’t know how to do it.

Believe me, they are playing with fire.

>> “Raed Jarrar”:

p. The US handling of Iraq is going to leave a blood splotched stain on both Iraq and the US for a long time. A lot has been written about the Bush Administration’s -plans- hit-and-run strategies in Iraq, but the following says it best:

bq. …Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office at one of his three retreats, or *more than 40 percent of his presidency*.

>> “Washington Post: Powell Calls U.S. Casualties ‘Disquieting'”:

That’s more vacation time then most of the previous US Presidents *put together*. Shoot…, not only that, he finshes work early and goes jogging every day as well… hardly leaves any time for presidenting! ( _ed: and it shows_ ). It’s no suprise that many Americans are now getting really upset about the whole thing:

bq. But If I can take a moment to be frank: I cannot begin to explain how angry I am at how Iraq has been handled. Arrogance, heads-in-the-sandness and a complete lack of understanding of the culture, people and history of the country has been the hallmark of Washington’s policy toward Iraq. The original plan called for 30,000 troops in August as happy natives bought Coca-Cola and waved little American flags. Such arrogance. Now the Pentagon is mulling extra troops.

>> “Back to Iraq: Worse than a Crime”:

You wonder if the US needed to go into Iraq… well as the facts slowly trickle into the American conscious this question is going to be moot. The answer is obvious to the entire world – it’s a long accepted fact that invading Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the ‘war on terrorism’. The term ‘war on terrorism’ itself is a misnomer, meant to give purpose and dignity to an endless stream of violence. You cannot go to war against ‘terror’. Anyways, I’m now digressing into a whole other article – so to sum things up, the answer to your question is *no*, the US didn’t have to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. Call it liberation, freedom or any of the many other buzzwords the White House keeps flinging about, it’s still an invasion. This was supposed to be the start of a new millennium… not a new age of barbarism.


bq.. Once upon a time, the world trembled at the might of the US arsenal. Boasting the best trained, best armed, and best funded fighting force the world had ever seen, the perception of US invicibility was at its strongest.

…The key to maintaining any illusion is ensuring that it can’t be shattered. And there was no better way to shatter the illusion of US military might, post-Afghanistan, than to place it squarely in the center of a conflict it couldn’t hope to win.

…And if the world has learned something this past week, it’s that Americans bleed like soldiers from any other country. Their helicopters can be shot down. Their tanks can be destroyed.

>> “Daily Kos: The loss of American invincibility”:

p. And so the cookie crumbles…

bq.. the bottom line is this: you can posture all you want for the American people, but no Third World people is going to believe this. They’ll hold on to the naive view that defending themselves in their country against a foreign occupier is good and that going to other countries to occupy them is bad, that to fight with inferior weaponry against overwhelming odds shows courage and that to bomb from the air or to use heavy armor and to kill civilians with indiscriminate strikes is cowardly.

They will commit atrocities in doing so — the “Black Hole” of Calcutta, the kidnapping of the Japanese — and I have no interest in defending those acts. But it was the occupiers that started the atrocities and only a damn fool would expect that a brutalized people should fight back with restraint and civilization. It’s happened at times, but it’s a miracle when it does.

>> “Empire Notes”:

Leave a Reply