Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Bread & Circuses
Well now, an Iraqi government insider has informed us the run-of-the-mill Iraqi citizen on the street hates us. Got that? Now it's official. A government insider says it is. So it must be true! That government insider is Ali A. Allawi. In his new book, "The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace," he crystallizes his perspective into language even a fanatical die-hard Bush supporter can understand:
"In a rueful reflection on what might have been, an Iraqi government insider details in 500 pages the U.S. occupation's "shocking" mismanagement of his country - a performance so bad, he writes, that by 2007 Iraqis had "turned their backs on their would-be liberators."
"The corroded and corrupt state of Saddam was replaced by the corroded, inefficient, incompetent and corrupt state of the new order," Ali A. Allawi concludes in "The Occupation of Iraq," newly published by Yale University Press.[..]"
In my best Gomer Pyle voice, "Shazam!" So, I want to make sure I've got this right: by 2007 Iraqi's had "turned their backs on their would be liberators." Yet, another Gomer Pyle reaction is called for here, "Goooooooollie!" Ya think? But remember the key point here, the author is a government insider, a former trade, defense and finance minister who happens to be Oxford educated. There is no doubt the reasons he gives for the average Iraqi citizen to foment resentment against the U.S. occupation is valid. What is striking though is the one reason he and others, especially the United States, leave out that happens to be a very telling and glaring omission.
Back in February, 2006, I posted about that one glaring omission Mr. Allawi sees fit to not mention:
"As David Fromkin points out in his “A Peace To End All Peace” in 1914 the Ottoman Empire, which included today’s Iraq despised what they called “the Capitulations.” This was a common colonial law that said local and Ottoman authority was not recognized to have any jurisdiction over westerners, especially American and British citizens. The only authority that was recognized to deal with them was through their respective consulates. This only served to fuel unbounded enmity and hatred among the local citizens for western governments and their citizens. Bremer and the coalition government initiating the very same decrees only reinforced those memories and prejudices and sealed the doom of any foreign intervention no matter how benevolent. This is even more heavily reinforced through the WH’s treatment of American casualties vs. those of Iraqi casualties. Our mainstream media and the American government hardly ever brings up the issue of Iraqi casualties while the main concern always seems to be centered on “coalition force” casualties. Somehow the Iraqi dead and wounded just aren’t worthy as human beings on the same level to be considered."
How's that for a reason to hate your occupiers? This law, enacted by the provisional government, on a daily basis reminds the average Iraqi citizen they are not quite human in the eyes of the American government. They fall into a legally recognized status, through the offices of the provisional government, of sub-human existence because we are somehow above their local laws and customs. All the other reasons Allawi lists in his book are nothing more than background noise compared to this.
I'm reminded of the Bread & Circuses aspect of Roman government administration to hide their real problems. The "surge," a sanitized name used by the powers-that-be, to anesthetize the pain of human lives wasted only compounds the problem because having 150,000+ plus troops on the ground is 150,000+ reminders that Americans are above the law. Sending over more troops would only prove to be more reminders we are above the law and they are somehow below us.
So, no thank you Mr. Allawi. I'm sure your book makes fine reading over at the Hoover Institute and A.E.I. though.