Sunday, February 11, 2007

You Break It, You Own It, America!

From the US Congress Press Gallery, I listened to an American president, George W. Bush, deliver the State of the Union address, his third to the nation. I watched as he spoke the reactions of his listeners on both sides of the isle. Democrats and Republicans were showing their agreement and disagreement in body language from standing ovations to head shaking and smirking.

The most dividing issue, of course, was Iraq. Questions asked these days include: Whose fault it was? Who voted for the war and against it? What to do about it? Will sending more troops pacify Iraq and speed up the eventual withdrawal, or complicate the problem and increase the American casualties and expenses?

Who voted for and against the resolution authorizing the Iraq war is relevant for three reasons: 1. The Democrat win in the November Congress elections showed how important the Iraq issue is to voters, and how alarmed the public perception of the situation is and its low-grade evaluation of government performance. 2. An earlier than usual run for 2008 presidential election brought candidates carrying anti-escalation or anti-war message. 3. The new Congress is overwhelmingly against the administration decision to send 21,500 extra troops to Iraq.

As I told the intellectuals I met in a Washington press visit organized by the National Democratic Institute, the State of the Union address should not be confined to the American audience. The whole world is interested in what the emperor has to say since the US empire is the co-author of world geopolitical map and modern history after World War II, especially since becoming the world’s solo “mover and shaker” following the sudden demise of the Soviet Union. Still, this world-police president is not talking to us in his most comprehensive and all-important speech of the year.

The Democrats, too, fail in addressing our concerns. In his response to the State of the Union address, Sen. Jim Webb, who has the credibility of being a veteran with a son-solider in Baghdad, spoke eloquently about how America should pull out instead of escalating its military presence in Iraq. He counted the human and material costs. But they were all American. Like the president, and almost every decision-maker I read and listened to during this visit, it was all about their troops and dollars.

The deafening silence in this wild and loud circus is about Iraqi fatalities and cost. Hundreds are killed daily because of this unnecessary war, billions of dollars in collateral damage and lost revenues are incurred weekly, and a whole country is slipping into the Dark-Age tunnel of civil war. Still no politician in America seems to care about these losses.

The excuse I was given? Americans don’t care! When you ask what the loss of the Vietnam War was, they’d say 50,000. Those are their dead but no mention of the three million Vietnamese killed by those 50,000 and their mates.

Most Americans today believe the war on Iraq was a disastrous mistake. That is the opposite of their position before and after the fall of Baghdad. Even then, the causalities and collateral damage were huge but on the Iraqi side only. Now, after years of fighting back, the Iraqis, like the Vietnamese and Afghans before them, are turning the gun barrel against the invaders. Yes, their losses are much greater, but at least the occupiers are feeling the heat, too.

I am always happy when people finally come to their senses, but why now and how? Many Americans still believe US propaganda that it invaded Iraq to search and destroy nuclear weapons, topple a dictator and spread freedom and democracy. When things went sour, they believed it was all others’ mistakes — neighbors and Iraqis. “We didn’t know this was a nation of killers,” an American friend complained. “You people are used to killing each other for ages! We came with an open hand and heart, but you don’t deserve our kindness! You don’t deserve our help! We are out of here”

I remind these people of an old American rule: If you break it, you own it! You go riding and shooting in a china shop, hang the manger, dismiss the staff, insist on running the business your way, but when everything goes banana you blame it on everyone and everything but yourself, then run!

Iraq was one piece before you rode in, Mr. Cowboy. Sunnis, Shiites, Christians and Jews lived side by side in harmony for centuries. Anything that happened during your occupation is your responsibility. The Ottoman Empire ruled Iraq for four hundred years — in peace. In four years, you managed to turn it into a slaughterhouse. So, don’t tell me now it is “them,” because even if it was, under the Geneva Conventions, it is your job, as an occupying power, to provide security and maintain law and order in the territories under your rule — no excuses accepted.


nadsh_92 said...

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V. Veritas said...

The typical Arab-abrogating responsibility nonsense from Khaled.

"Dr." Batarfi, the pseudo-journalist who sees and hears everything with bigoted senses and the blinders of secular hatred masked in "peace and love." Batarfi, the arrogant little man who continues to misread the American press, not to mention the American psyche and then print his distortions in his columns to suit his twisted view of the world.

It is not Americans slaughtering Iraqis on a daily basis—It is Iraqis and other Muslim "brothers."

It is not Americans blowing up infrastructure (that Americans paid to have rebuilt time and time again) to the tune of HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of U.S. tax payer dollars— It is Iraqis and other Muslim "brothers."

It is not Americans kidnapping, torturing, maiming, throwing acid into the faces of un-Islamically dressed women—It is Iraqis and other Muslim "brothers."

It is not Americans destroying Iraq—It is Iraqis and their Muslim "brothers" themselves.

All they have to do is STOP!

Iraqis have an elected government that they themselves chose with overwhelming amounts of people voting. A government that is as incompetent and corrupt as any other Arab government.

Americans and other coalition members are placing their lives on the line daily to keep the savages apart. Soon the U.S. and all "infidel" forces shall leave and it will up to Iraqis and the neighbors to figure things out— those "friendly" neighbors like Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia who are currently sending jihadi fighters to kill Iraqis and Americans. It is up to the Arabs/Muslims to decide whether they want peace or civil, regional war.

Like the Palestinians they all will get the message soon enough that the world does not care about you if you don't care about yourself.


Kidnapping in Iraq aimed at Germans in Afghanistan

"These people want to kill my son in front of my eyes, and then they'll kill me, if the German troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan."

She and her adult son clutch each other and cry as they speak while three militants, two armed with large assault rifles, stand behind them.

"They are not joking, and they'll kill us," Krause says. "I am very tired. Please help me. Make a decision or we will be killed."...

..."We have warned you. Otherwise, you will not see their bodies."

"Muslims are all one nation, and have one religion. It is not acceptable that Germany leads the coalition troops in Afghanistan, and attacks the secured villages and claim it is not fighting in Iraq."

Soon, there will be no one in the world who will want to help any Muslim or Islamic state.

"No excuses accepted!" Is correct. No excuses from Arabs and other Muslims as to their responsibility in this bloody mess.

Leave them to their Allah!

V. Veritas

Kristian said...

"You break it, you own it." I couldn't have said it any better. So succinct. At this point, it really doesn't matter why the US invaded or how many Americans die trying to stop the violence. What matters now are the tens of thousands of dead civilians and the 3 million refugees and internally displaced persons. Veritas completely misses the point (I suspect that he's only missing some marbles, but that's a discussion for another time) when he says that the world is tired of bailing out Muslims. He seems to be under the impression that since Iraq is now a "democracy" (a debatable point) with a legitimate government (note to Veritas: while far more people voted in the Iraqi election than in any recent American election, the fact that Sunnis almost universally boycotted the election leads me to think that the government is somewhat less than representative of the people) stopping the violence should be left up to them. That is such a idiotic comment that I don't know if I should even bother refuting it. Alas, I've written this much, so I suppose that I'll take a crack at it.

For starters, the government has neither the military nor political capacity to stop the violence. The government is made up of so many factions, that it is almost impossible for it to take decisive action in any area. Especially when it comes to confronting armed militias. Secondly, I should remind you that the CPA's first act was to disband the Iraqi military. The consequence of which was that trained soldiers walked off with millions of dollars of weaponry and started their own militias. How is the new Iraqi army supposed to defeat militias that are so well-armed and well-trained? These aren't just a bunch of soccer hooligans with lead pipes. We're talking about hardcore elite soldiers with years of training and high-tech weapons. The new Iraqi forces are made up of recruits with--at best--a couple years of training. How are they supposed to defeat Saddam's former Republican Guard. That just isn't a fair fight.

Secondly, you accuse the various militias of resorting to terrorist tactics. Most certainly they are. But I have news for you: all is fair in love and war. Are their tactics vile and morally reprehensible? Yes. Are they conventional tactics ordained by the Geneva Convention? No. But they are effective and thus they will continue to employ these tactics.
If you ask me, the core of the problem is that Americans war because they always win. It makes for good discussion at the water cooler and gives them a reason to read the paper. But their idea of a war is something along the lines of Panama. A fight against a vastly inferior and disorganized force that will capitulate in a couple of days. That's exactly what America thought would happen in Iraq. But it didn't. The Iraqis fought back and they fought well. Now Americans are starting to see what war is like from the other side--and they don't like it. Surprise, surprise.

Thanks for the great post. Keep more coming. My blog is fairly new, but I'm trying to keep it updated regularly.

Shakir said...

Dr. Batarfi,

I recently read your article in Arab News regarding the best model for the Arab World. I must say that although you make a compelling argument against the "land of foreigners for foreigners", I must disagree with you premise.

Firstly, although it may be imperative for a country to preserve its national identity and discourse, one cannot subvert economic progress for its sake. The model followed by countries such as the UAE has proven effective on the basis of imported labor for the development of an economic hub. Granted that the population and culture of the nation is being diluted by foreigners, it beg's the question, "What is the culture of Hong Kong? or New York for that matter?". The culture is an amalgamation of its components, a melting pot of all its residents and citizens. It is an identity formed by those who are present in the country. There lies the ideal model. There lies the result of globalization "excuse the cliche".

Secondly, the importation of foreigners into the country is really not the problem as they are temporary workers, present to contribute to their economy, take their share of the earnings, and eventually retire to their home countries. The problem really lies amongst the local population. With the lack of quality education and training, resulting in limited workforce/managerial skills and scope for reserach and development, the locals are doing themselves a huge disservice. If the focus is applied here, not only will the rich culture of the UAE and other countries following the model, be preserved, it will be propagated.

If the locals increase their participation in the economy through the application of skills/knowledge as opposed to forced quotas, they will be able to shape the cultural and economic destiny of their respective nations.

tm said...

Dear V. Veritas,

America is a secular nation, Run by Democracy, and its people are indoctrined to believe that since they have the MORAL high grounds, they can police the world. Yes America is progressed dynamically in the past century, so much so that the country's vocabulary has been appended again and again and the dictionary now has words such as ...
Schizo... and others to name a few.
So what does America do with people diagnosed with these problems. THEY SEND THEM TO MUSLIM COUNTRIES for invasions, and you say we have SICK Genes. This is the AMERICAN PSYCHE. it may not be yours, you may be a truly innocent man who believes that Americans are truly extending there hands and assistance in good faith but COMMON, seriously, do you really think the invasion of Iraq was anything but the oil. Watch your movies..shooter... and such.. listen to Moore, your gov. had only one ambition and thats OIL. and cuz you couldnt get it the way you wanted to.. you still had to spent Millions of US$ acquiring it through OPEC.... NOW THATS A LAUGH.
The Hundred of BILLIONS of US TAXPAYERS $ your talking about, well they arent in Iraq, they are with Cheney and Bush and Rumsfeld and Rice. the money your spending on Iraq is just an advance your giving so that you could soon cash in on the oil so spare me your crap and bleeding heart on taxpayer's money.

THERE WERE NO WMD. NO CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE WEST...NO ALQAEDA RELATIONS... THERE WAS NOTHING of the SORT. YOUR LEGISLATORS ALL LIE.. JUST A BUNCH OF LIERS... THEY the people with the sick nacrpheliac genes... cant believe they coined a word for such a henious mindset.... So STOP LYING AND START LEAVING.. and yes before you do clear up your mess,.... and always remember .. what goes around.. comes around..