Lovely. Isn’t it amazing how incredibly willing we Americans are to sacrifice so much and help our little brown brothers in Iraq? We definitely deserve a brownie. Let’s all take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for our wonderful display of goodness. And what complete assholes they are for shooting at us. Here we are trying to help them make their country exactly like we want it to be, and they can’t respect that? Despite what Joey Tartakovsky thinks (“Should We Stay or Should We Go?”, Daily Nexus, April 26), such a situation was very foreseeable.
He prefers to condescendingly view Iraq as the poor little country that we need to help, completely failing to acknowledge the severe cultural differences and never even once considering that maybe the Iraqis don’t think of a successful country the same way we do. Some consideration conjures up all kinds of ideas as to why exactly the Iraqis aren’t too happy with us occupying their country. For example, perhaps the idea of having an “infidel” (read: non-Muslim) army in the holy land doesn’t exactly make them happy, although most probably not. Perhaps they don’t like a bunch of foreigners with guns telling them what to do. Can’t imagine why. Maybe they’re wondering how better off they are considering that death is still an everyday occurrence in Iraq. Maybe they don’t believe our bullshit about providing them a democracy because of the way we shut down their purportedly free newspapers or maybe they don’t even like the idea of democracy.
It’s probably some weird combination of all these things, though I really have no idea exactly, being that I’m not an Iraqi. But then, who is an Iraqi? Iraq, like many modern nations that experience rashes of “tribal” violence and infighting, was never given the opportunity to define itself as a modern nation. Rather, a bunch of Westerners swaggered in, pissed a line in the sand and said, “This is Iraq.” Obviously when these lines were drawn and these nations were “built,” there was little consideration for what the natives wanted. If you don’t believe me, ask the Kurds, who are still wondering what happened to Kurdistan.
The point here is Iraqis might not exactly care about what is good for Iraq because the very entity of the nation of Iraq is an implement of Western power over them. Not that they would be so heady as to put it like that, but they might see the Americans coming in as just another example of how they have absolutely no control over their own land and their own identity. That would piss me off too.
While the idea of liberating a country is rather sexy, I have to wonder how practical it is. I remember after September, when the conservatives were trying to push the USA PATRIOT Act and the “let’s collectively kiss the president’s ass and write him a blank check” attitude. There were bumper stickers with the slogan “freedom isn’t free” – the point being if you want to be free you have to fight for it, both figuratively and literally. I do concur, and I believe the same holds true for Iraq. The only people who can free Iraq are the Iraqis themselves, and they will not be content until they are allowed to define their country in their way, which clearly cannot be allowed to happen under the U.S. watch. Yeah, that could get bloody, but apparently the alternatives are pretty damn bloody too.
I offer this up merely for consideration before you draw a conclusion that effectively says, “they’re idiots who don’t know how they’re hurting themselves.” It doesn’t make sense, it’s condescending and even worse, it makes me think you’re a self-righteous prick.
Steven Schneider is a junior film studies major.