Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Let's Run


"The Americans are creating enemies by the way they are treating people," said Feras Khalil, a psychology teacher. He said his house was hit with a 10-minute fusillade of American gunfire on Saturday evening after an attacker standing on the street fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the mayor's office, where a contingent of paratroops was stationed. The soldiers, who believed the grenade was fired from inside Khalil's house, responded with 40 Mark-19 grenades, a light antitank weapon and 1,000 rounds of small-arms fire.

"There is no justification for what they did," Khalil growled as he pointed at dozens of bullet pockmarks on the front of his two-story stucco house.

Khalil said he initially welcomed American troops as liberators, assuming they would quickly hold democratic elections, invigorate the economy and fund public works projects. "They promised us a lot," he said. "We haven't gotten anything from them."

Instead, he argued, U.S. troops have made matters worse by behaving in culturally insensitive ways. "The male soldiers search our women," he said. "When they arrest people, they put their shoes on people's heads," a grave insult in the Arab world.

Although such actions were rare and were prohibited by American commanders early in the occupation, residents say such offenses are now a daily occurrence.

"We are a very traditional city," Khalil said. "They don't understand our culture and customs -- and that angers us."

I've said it before, and I'll say it agin: we need to get the hell out of Dodge. Now. All we're doing today is giving Osama bin Missing a great target and recruiting tool. The handwringing about what will happen when we leave ignores the simple fact that our presence there isn't creating peace and stability, and the longer we're there, the worse impact we'll have.

"You break it, you bought it" might work in a store, but we're talking about a country we continue to break. We stayed so long, in fact, that we've probably even destroyed the opportunity for the international community to do anything effective. Any occupation force, at least one which works under the auspices of the US and the UN, is going to carry the taint of our botched policy.

What can be done? I honestly don't know. Maybe we can work out an Iraqi security agreement with neighboring Arab nations? Get them in Iraq under an Arab command, have them work with the Governing Council to get the constitution drafted and ratified, elections held, services restored, etc. We can provide the dollars perhaps, but we cannot be in charge of Iraq any more.

Would that result in democracy? I have no freaking clue--probably not, but a democracy in our image was likely a pipe dream anyway. And you know, I don't even care if 80% of Iraqis are glad we invaded. The fact of the matter is that democracy is not a gift doled out by a benevolent nation: it is a right and responsibility taken on by a people themselves. It's time for us to give up control of the situation, and for the Iraqis to take control of their country and their fate.


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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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