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From the Mouths of Iraqis

Do we Americans want to take responsibility for what we have wrought in Iraq?

Intelligent, educated Iraqis are saying—based on a sound understanding of the situation in Iraq and the history of American dealings there—that America should get out of Iraq before we do any more damage.

The Americans in Iraq are like a virus, like a disease, and for us, we need to get rid of the Americans because the Americans just don’t know what they’re doing. Everything they do—probably even in good intentions—is bad for us. Everything they do, everything. There is nothing they are doing [that] is right.

They also don’t think the war ever about spreading democracy.

This amnesia [on the part of Americans about recent history] that I’m talking about. How would a people who’ve been oppressed for thirty-five years by a dictator that was supported by the United States, in a region where the United States supports dictators, how would they accept that America would come to spread democracy? Yes, some of them did.… But looking around… if the United States were interested in democracy, it would maybe topple Saudi Arabia. Why go to Iraq?

Contrast this with the constant drum beats of “the surge is working” that passes for most American journalism. Can we accept the idea that we broke Iraq and that we perhaps cannot fix it even with an extended occupation? Or would that be too much of a blow to our American exceptionalist ego?

Glenn Greenwald says of this interview:

The significance of the interview lies as much in what it says about the American occupation of Iraq as it what it illustrates about the American media. In the American media’s discussions of Iraq, when are the perspectives expressed here about our ongoing occupation—views extremely common among Iraqis of all types and grounded in clear, indisputable facts—ever heard by the average American news consumer? The answer is: “virtually never.”

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  1. mel said,

    March 26, 2008 @ 8:50 pm

    This is bitter medicine. We were wrong and cannot make it right and the harder we try only makes it worse. But all the while we’re locked in this feedback loop of things can only get better, things get worse, leaving would be catastrophic, things can only get better …

    If ever there was a time for Realpolitik’s American rise it is now. We have to get the fuck out. The ideology and sunny wishful thinking has killed one nation, is killing another, and all the lives lost with no end; no goal in sight.

  2. mel said,

    March 26, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

    PS. Realpolitik in the case of whether to leave Iraq says that all those who would die in the ensuing chaos have been consigned to death from the moment we toppled the nation’s government. The fact that we’d like to defer this reality to the latest possible date speaks only of our selfish manipulations and willingness to lie about the life that has already been lost and will yet be lost should we stay for that indefinite term required to “win”.

    Of course, there’s another reality … that if the guarding of life and treasure and the promotion of democracy and security were truly our motives we would not have ventured in the first place. We are a nation of fools who think they are good. Perfect recipe for being duped.

  3. Lessie said,

    March 27, 2008 @ 11:27 am

    Thanks for posting this. Very interesting perspectives. And you’re right, perspectives that are seldom represented to the American public at large. My cousin who just arrived in Iraq was telling my mom that too many Americans have gotten complacent and if we think we’re safe, we’re stupid. Fair enough. But does that automatically mean that staying in Iraq is going to make us safer? I don’t think so. If anything, it will simply build up anti-American sentiment to an unsurmountable level and then we’d have even more problems to deal with.

  4. Jonathan Blake said,

    March 31, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

    The only real problem I have with getting out with all due haste is our dependence on oil. Can we do without Iraq’s oil?

  5. Matt said,

    March 31, 2008 @ 8:27 pm

    I think the answer to that question is “yes”. Someone once said that the best thing that could happen to us is $5+ per gal. gas. But I don’t think Iraq is just or even primarily about oil … I think it’s about profit.

    Either way, the price being paid is stupendous. And we are the fools for paying in blood and treasure that is only partly our own to benefit only our vanity and soothe our fears while those who sold it reap the profits.

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