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April 10, 2004

Wanting the best for Iraq

Well, it seems my doubts about the US's ability to turn Iraq into a viable democratic state are being confirmed. The "uprisings" seem to be getting more frequent and more ferocious. That's a sad situation but it's the price the occupiers pay for being seen as occupiers.

The Westerners in charge of the situation should put themselves in the shoes of the Iraqi people for a bit. I fail entirely to see why Bush and Bremer, etc can't understand the perspective of a violent, repressed group of people who've seem a glimmer of hope for self-rule (whatever that might be) that is frustratingly held out of their reach by (as they see it) the people who they were told were largely responsible for their poverty.

They view themselves the same way the French did when Hitler's army marched across their borders, and the same way the Vietnamese did when the US joined the French. We might see significant differences, but they don't. We're struggling to win over their hearts and minds, and every act of aggression by occupation forces, however necessary, makes is harder.

I said at the time of the invasion that it was wrong because you can't teach people about peace and democracy by invading their country and killing them. Whatever the justification for invading, such an expectation is not a reasonable outcome. Similarly, you can't teach Iraqis about freedom of speech by shutting down one of their newspapers. And you can't expect them to become more relaxed about the occupation when you're firing rockets into their Sacred sites.

Whether these actions were justified and necesary or not, one predictable outcome of them was that the locals would be pissed off - and that's what the administration desperately needs to avoid.

One day the holier-than-thou leaders of ths debacle will be forced to admit that Western standards of decency and the rules of wear don't apply to a people who think they're fighting (rightly or wrongly) for their very existence. It you're struggling on that basis (or, at least, you think you are) you're going to do whatever it takes. Dying defending your home and family is better than starving to death or being brutalised along with them.

I hope I'm wrong and that the administration can keep the violence in check long enough for the locals to see the benefits that are accruing for them through rebuilding their infrastructure and their economy. It won't happen overnight, and doubt it will happen without a concerted International effort - but letting that happen would make the US administration eat humble pie in an election year ...

Posted by Huge at April 10, 2004 12:02 PM

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