• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Topic: Making Iraq more human for America

  1. #1

    Making Iraq more human for America

    sponsored links

    this article speaks for itself

    Occupiers Damned
    When the Innocent Die

    by Robert Fisk; UK Independent; December 30, 2003

    Cigarette sellers don\'t have names. They said he was called Fouad but even the shopkeeper whose nephew drove the wounded, screaming man to hospital didn\'t know his family name.

    There was just a pile of crushed Marlboro boxes and a lot of blood that had poured from his half-severed arm when the bomb went off in the middle of Karradah. It was aimed at the Americans of course, and, as so often happens, the Iraqis paid the price. None more so than the man in black trousers and white shirt who was torn apart by the explosion and whose crushed body was dragged off on a wooden cart. Another day in the life and death of Baghdad. As always, there were the odd little ironies of violence. The dead man - and nobody in Karradah knew him because he had arrived in a taxi - was on his way to the local bank to change currencies, from the old dinar notes with Saddam\'s face on them to the new dinars with the ancient Iraqi mathematician Al-Hassan Ibn al-Haitham in place of the captured dictator.

    In one sense, therefore, the dead man had been making his way from \"old Iraq\" to \"new Iraq\" when he died. A café owner called Anwar al-Shaaban - the living always have names - thought the man might have been called Ahmed.

    Then there was Yassir Adel. He was a 12-year-old schoolboy and he was taking his two brothers to school when the bomb exploded in the centre of the crowded highway. \"The American patrol had just gone past and one of their vehicles was blasted over the road,\" he told me with a maturity beyond his years. \"It\'s like that here these days - every day.\"

    I recognised the grocery store on the corner. In the last days of the Anglo-American invasion in April, I had bought my eggs and water here and I remember hiding with the owner behind his counter when an American jet flew low down the street and bombed a building at the far end.

    Yesterday - eight months later - his eggs were a grey-yellow sludge, the plastic water bottles flooding the shop, the owner muttering to himself as he knocked the splinters from his window frame.

    A group of US troops and members of the new, hooded \"Iraqi Civil Defence Force\" - a militia in all but name - turned up afterwards in those all-too-vulnerable Humvees. Their comrades had been the target and within an hour they were handing out coloured pamphlets - produced for just such an occasion by the occupation authorities - which some of the shopkeepers, sweeping their shattered glass into the street, threw into the gutters in anger.

    One showed a group of children, with the legend: \"The terrorists and troublemakers are putting bombs on both sides of the roads and highways and they don\'t care about who gets hurt ... You, the citizens of Iraq, hold the key to stopping this violence against your people.\" But to people blasted by just such a bomb, this was a heavy sell. \"The terrorists wish to make anyone a victim - women, children, mothers, fathers,\" the leaflet said. \"These terrorists care about nothing except fear and darkness. Their aim is to destroy your new freedom and your self-government [sic] ... Tell the police and coalition forces about any information you have.\"

    It was a bad time to ask the people of Karradah to be collaborators. The insurgents who are cutting down young American lives every daydo not care if Iraqis die in the attacks, but everyone knows that the Americans are the targets - which the leaflets failed to mention. And indeed, the explosives were hidden in the centre of the highway. There had been a gap in the concrete central reservation for cars to turn left onto the street from a side road. Someone had re-sealed the gap with stones and placed the bomb beneath them. When the first American patrol passed, that same someone had set off the bomb - and missed the soldiers. Did he see the man with the dinars crossing the highway in his black trousers and white shirt? Did he see Fouad the cigarette salesman with his Marlboros? No doubt he did.

    But one young man walked up to me and blamed the Americans. \"At least under Saddam there was security - now we are afraid to go to work,\" he shouted. \"At least under Saddam, the innocent didn\'t suffer.\"

    I disputed this. He knew this was a lie. But another, older, educated man arrived. \"We were better off under Saddam,\" he said. \"No, we were not free, but you have brought us anarchy.\" Even the old Shia lady in black, buying lemons from the stall on the other side of the street cursed the Americans.

    It was the same old story of every foreign occupier: damned if you do and damned if you don\'t - especially when the innocent die.

  2. #2

    Re: Making Iraq more human for America

    While no MidEast expert, I have thought from my first hearing of the neo-con plan to democratize the ME, by force, that it would most likely fail and was simply another misguided ivory tower plan by living stereotypes of the powerful American elite.

    Democracies, I believe, are not simply governments and laws but must be, in an abstract sense, an extension of the people\'s psyche and their view of the world. I don\'t believe the people of Iraq have the mind-set for democracy. They neither have a history of it nor does their interpretation of their religion support the notion. In my readings of histories, freedom is never the first choice of the masses - security is. Peasants i.e the People, revolt when they feel insecure, not when they have fewer choices. At minimum, a country need to revolt from within against tyranny, not have it given to them.

  3. #3

    Re: Making Iraq more human for America

    I think it\'s a little short sighted to assume that any oppressed peoplel can rise up on their own and over throw their gov. The shiaa tried. The Kurds did too. . There is no way. And it\'s one of the reasons that coups (using foriegn outside gov help), assisination..etc..are common to these types of dictatorships. The point in such a gov \'is\" to keep the people from having any means to revolt or coup from within and to control such things with extreme violence, oppression and fear. The only possible coup from within..is if their own military splits and does it. Or, if foreign outside gov\'s help them in some way. This is exactly why..most these forms of gov..have \"family\" rule..and minders to watch the minders.

    I think you are right, that we are not going to see \"American\" democracy in the ME. Certainly not. But, I think the point was not that per se. But, moreso, the idea that gov\'s should have some mechanism in place...to reflect the will of the people. Whether that\'s voting..or some other mechanism for input/review. That the people of a nation can change their gov as it reflects their views. And to have some means to change their gov...without violence. That change \"alone\" would end much violence and suffering in the world. And, I think it\'s a little early yet to be projecting anything in so far as Iraq goes. As to your other points, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Lybia and N Korea..have all come forward to cooperate in these regards...without firing another single shot. I think the bigger issue , for the UN as an international body, is to decide..if they are going to continue to accept dictators like Saddam who take their countries by force..and rule it against the will of their people by force..who committ unforseen attrocities against their own people..and yet..sit at the UN regarded as a \"soverign\" leader afforded all the founding principals of democracy..etc..that they do NOT give , share or have in their own countries.

    If we are going to have a democratic world body to sit as the mediator of all the world..then...the countries sitting at that table...need also be \"democratic\" at least in the one sense of having been elected or appointed by the will of their people and be therer to reflect that..and not their own personal family regime. I think that also implies they must be \"answerable\" to the will of their people in some way...so that if they do not do what is best for the people of that country..there is some mechanism to remove them. (other than killing them or having a bloody coup..etc). If the will of the people is to have an islamic based religious gov with a ruler...this is fine with me. As long as they have some \"peaceful\" mechanism in place..to change that ruler should he go off the deep end. The fact that certain countries who are self imposed dictators who rule their countries via oppression and violence/force who are not answerable to the will of their people...for whom the people have no mechanism to change their gov...or are at the mercy of them.. are at the UN at a democratic table to vote along side other countries..who are answerable back home for how they vote..is an extreme inequity.

    The UN recognizes as it\'s primary goal to persue International security and peace. The 2nd part of that..as primary is to recognize all member nations as soverign. To recognize the current gov (how ever it got there) and the borders of the country as soverign. What it doesn\'t do..is recognize the people of that nation as soverign. They are willing to accept any murderous, dictator..who walks into a gov ..kills everyone there..and declares them selve the ruler. The UN would accept such a person as a soverign leader..who is basically..untouchable. It is thought that the only people who can make such changes to their gov are the people within that gov. But, how can they do this..if they cannot vote? They are oppressed with violence..etc..all guns removed..no weapons to coup with...and watched 24hrs a day? I think the Un needs to clarify and update this portion of it\'s mandate. Any leader who does not represent the will of his people..who was not duly appointed or elected in some way...and for which teh citiziens have no mechanism to remove them..peacefully..should they no longer desire the direction that leadership is taking them...should NOT be allowed to sit at the UN as a \"soverign\" anything and be afforded the full power of democratic process as to all other member nations.
    Just requiring that gov\'s have some \"peaceful\" means to effect change of gov...would end a lot of foreign covert intervention, coups, assisinations that all cause great instability in the world. That doesn\'t mean they have to be \"democratic\" in the terms of a USA type democracy. They can choose anymeans they want to affect this principal.

    Trying to keep and persue a \"peaceful\" solution to Saddam...had a cost. All the people who died as the result of sanctions/the suffering from containment/murders and torture at Saddams own hand...over 12 years. The cost of this \"peace\"..was higher in humanitiarn costs...than BOTH Gulf wars put together AND the acts of genocide on both Kurds and Shiia. That was the cost of \"peace\" and I think it will be weighed against the cost of this war. Along with the cost of the dead and wounded in this war (all sides), is the cost of what it did to international relations, the cost to the UN, the cost to the US specifically. It all has to be weighed. There is a cost..of allowing any dictator who can sieze power of a country to be accepted by the international community as soverign. There is a cost when their people no longer have the means to peacefully change their own gov. And the cost to that is murder, coup, assiisnation, intervention of foreign gov\'s covrertly, oppression, starvation, suffering and the means for people who have ill world towards the world at large to rise to power and have the money to effect such designs (even beyond their own borders). This is not something \"new\".

    It is time, for this to stop! It is the root cause..of most of the violence and security issues in the world. When these people become answerable to the world for what they do and to their own people..and those people ahve a means to effect change \"peacefully\"..there will be far more stability, peace and securty..and better world relations for everyone.

    That\'s how I feel about it.

  4. #4

    Re: Making Iraq more human for America


    can i ask a question what about our responsibility as a society we consume the energy that is either directly or indirectly the cause of the problem, i think what is happening on the macro is purely simple mathematics 6 billion people cannot all consume the amount of energy needed to make democracies a world event,
    dictators therefore are a useful tool for making sure we in the west get our larger slice of the cake

    while alot of what you say sounds fine to me it doesnt come back to us we are connected

    as for the crap about iraqi\'s dont have the mind set for democracy well i will bet 1 million dollars if you export 1\'000 iraqi\'s to Queensland in Australia give them a house and food schooling for their kids and i guarentee you they will be model citizens , you have arabs in the USA

    so in the end as long as we maintain our present level of consumption and distribution the conflict will remain

    dictatorships and democracies are two sides of the same coin it is our brand of democracy (control of media etc by elites)that has made dictatorships an effective means of social control

    sure we in the west are free but at what cost to the planet and its people

    no we are responsible

    because the way i see it all forms of human relations at the macro are in our times dependant on energy not just our physical life but our inner psycholical life as well

    our democracy is a product of our relationship to energy and so is the dictatorships
    how long do you think democracy will last in the USA if for some reason all your energy resources were to be cut back drastically

    well i can tell you the elites will monopolise even more than they already do and you will really start to hear a rumble in the populace

    say goodbye to ethics, morality say hello to drastic social control or anarchy

  5. #5

    Re: Making Iraq more human for America

    Originally posted by charles:
    as for the crap about iraqi\'s dont have the mind set for democracy well i will bet 1 million dollars if you export 1\'000 iraqi\'s to Queensland in Australia give them a house and food schooling for their kids and i guarentee you they will be model citizens , you have arabs in the USA
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I would generally agree with you. But my point wasn\'t about the Iraq family/person not being able to live within and enjoy the benifits of an existing democratic society. Heck, during my EE degree, I studied with many Iraqis (early 80\'s). They love the West. My point was that the Iraqi society is in a very poor position to create and sustain a democratic government/society. For one thing, the to-be democracy has not been the result of a grass roots, bottom-up, popular uprising i.e. the people demanding a democratic change. It is rather a result of a top-down force (the US i.e. The Great Satan). Sure there was an uprising in 1992, both in the N and S (as US/Brit AirForces watched with orders from Bush 41 not to get involved), but these revolts were to overthrow the local Bathist government not to institute democratic freedoms. Consider the situation where the US withdrew from Iraq tomorrow. I would bet that the government Iraq ended up with would look more like Iran than anything the US wants to push on them. Most likely the country would split into three and civil war would insue - not a rush to freedom and democracy and rights of the individual. Democracy seems easy to us in the West, but we were born into very stable long-historied democratic societies. Building a democratic society from the ground up as a result of foreign intervention is a completey different thing and, I fear, in Iraq, a taller order than might be reasonably expected of them. I do hope I am wrong about this but this the way I see this situation.

    The other point I was making was that this forced democratization of the MidEast is a on philosophy. They currently control Bush 43.

  6. #6

    Re: Making Iraq more human for America

    Yeah, I couldn\'t agree more.

    Also, \"democracy\" is such an abused and over-simplified term anyway. For a start, what we in the west have is representative democracy, not direct participation. I don\'t personally get to make day to day decisions how the country is run, I get to vote for somebody every four years.

    Sure, voting is better than not being able to vote. But the complex and convoluted process by which representatives are voted into power, the party politics, and the factors determining how they might completely disregard the electorate once there anyway, mean that its possibly not as much better as we think.

    Add to that the fact that a small number of powerful right-wing people own the mass media, which gives people (or chooses to withhold from them) the information on which they are to base their voting decisions. Add to that the fact that societies like the UK and the US have all sorts of unstated structures in place to make sure that anybody who might REALLY change the socio-political system doesn\'t get anywhere (eg McCarthyism, and the more recent versions of it that have sprung up under Bush, eg the old boys\' Eton-Oxford-Cambridge network over here).

    Despite how the above may sound, I\'m not actually a rabid socialist or anarchist and I think the present system of a free-market economy with some social safeguards is, in principle, probably the best one. But I know perfectly well that its being run, in both the US and the UK, by a small number of powerful people who sit well above the political process, and who will manage to make sure their will is done regardless of who is in Downing Street or the White House. I\'m under no illusions that the \"X\" I put on a ballot paper once every four years separates me that much from the average Arab or Iraqi in that respect.

  7. #7

    Re: Making Iraq more human for America


    ok i accept your answers to a degree

    i guess what gets on my nerves is how the arabs have been dehumanized and all sorts of rationlizations are used to justify our relationship to them, or more accurately our power over them

    ok where was Germany in 1945

    where was Japan !!! ok now they are our buddies

    ok i am not referring to the more honest and informed people but the general mind set and the intellectual sell outs who justify what is happening for the elites to the common man

    i still think we have a responsibility
    my consciense doesnt allow me to be quiet

Go Back to forum

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts