I listened today to a lengthy piece on CBC radio where several Iraqis on the street were asked, through a translator, what they thought about the recent invasion. They were all delighted to be rid of Saddam, of course, but they were also very sceptical about the motives and future role of the US ‘liberators’. They were anxious for all foreigners to leave ASAP, and they want and expect the foreign troops to restore civil (not military) order and oversee the delivery of humanitarian aid before their prompt departure.

The most telling comment (I’m paraphrasing, because I was driving while I was listening to this): “When you look at the rejoicing in the streets, do not be fooled; Iraqis are educated people, and we know where Saddam’s chemical weapons came from”.

The comment took me aback. I have to plead guilty to having made the condescending assumption that most Iraqis were unworldly and isolated, and that part of Saddam’s success arose from keeping the Iraqi people in the dark about their situation. I’m now thoroughly ashamed of myself for having the arrogant affrontery to think the Iraqis aren’t perfectly capable of rebuilding their own country with absolutely no help or involvement from the West. The “average Iraqis” interviewed today were gently saying three things that we should pay close and immediate attention to:

  1. We said we were invading for humanitarian reasons. We should start acting accordingly.
  2. The Iraqis know that’s not why we invaded. They’re polite enough not to be obvious about saying so.
  3. We should quit while we’re ahead. Everyone knows we won’t.

There’s a great cultural lesson here. I wonder if we can learn it.

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  1. Marie Foster says:

    Dave Dave DaveThis is all due to rampant hatred of the US by the majority of the world. It is due to their jealousy for our rightousness and our closeness to God.Bah… I hear this stuff all the time from those who support the war and expect gratitude that we destroyed their country so that they will be servile while we extract their oil, establish a military presence, and continue to support the Israelis who seek peace through power and intimidation. You are correct to say that they are not stupid. They have, like the Vietnamese, learned how to survive through adversity. But unlike Vietnam we will not be able to leave so they can find their own way in the world. They are too vital to our perceived weakness.And perhaps that is the ultimate irony. We, the strongest military might on the planet have been motivated to go to war because of the desperate acts of a few angry people living on the margin. Perhaps we are not as confident in our system after all?Would appreiate your reading and commenting on my entry for April 17 on the death of liberalism. I started writing it after getting a pang in my heart from all the squabbling I have been reading about Nadar, the Greens, the Dems and who is more better kinder and capable of toppling Bush next year.

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Marie: I’ve read your piece, and am thinking about it. It’s hard forme to get my head in that space when we Canadians politically have been moving in the opposite direction: signed Kyoto, introduced campaign finance reform, opposed the war etc. We’re definitely not ‘holier than thou’ (we had our own demagogue 15 years ago and we even re-elected the idiot) but he self-destructed. Might take a bit more than that with Bush, might not. I’ll post my thoughts to your blog this weekend.

  3. Marie Foster says:

    I have also had thoughts like that too. In some ways I am not even entirely sure that I am still a liberal in the sense that many of the people who are squabbling are. Perhaps I have drifted more to the right at least as it pertains to some issues and certainly I am fiscally conservative.Maybe I should be looking to the Republicans to try to find if there are any who are as disturbed by what is going on with our current administration. I have searched some to see if there are any cracks in the wall of solidarity around Bush. But so far, if they are alarmed, they are being mute.

  4. NW says:

    I am a Republican. I support Bush. I am not alarmed, but I believe it is my responsibility to remain cautious of any person with the amount of power that comes with an appointment to Washington. If possible, I would like to know exactly what alarms you and why. I love to hear other sides of the story and if it is all fact based I may, myself, become alarmed.

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