"We See The Americans As Liberators"

Shark Blog has a fascinating interview with a leader of the Kurdish opposition to Saddam Hussein that orginally appeared in Der Spiegel. There are some real gems in the interview that directly contradict the rhetoric of the anti-war crowd. A sample:

Der Spiegel: The German and the French characterize a military attack as too risky for the civilian population. Is that not a valid concern?
Berwari: Everybody claims that they have the interests of the Iraqi people at heart, without even asking them. It’s certainly hard to do that in Iraq. But there are four million Iraqis living abroad who also have an opinion. As a rule they would say: Violence is a poor solution, but to not do something drastic at this point is no solution at all.

Someone should remind Chirac and Schroeder of that fact.

3 thoughts on “"We See The Americans As Liberators"

  1. Black-and-white characterizations are usually wrong no matter which end of the political spectrum you’re on. Suggesting that bombing the bejesus out of a country is a way of liberating them because the peasants ” view America more favorably than Hussein” qualifies for black-and-white editorializing, which has been coming from the political right more than usual these days in their zeal to justify sending other people’s sons to war.

    Most people who actually study the Middle East will attest to the fact that the region is split half and half. Half of them want to see Western ideals prevail over their suppressive dictatorships masquerading as governments, while the other half praise the 9-11 attackers as heroes and would love nothing more than to send mass numbers of Americans to Allah. The news footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets after the news of 9-11 was not the act of a group of people who view Americans as their salvation, or “liberators.”

    One-dimensional conservative rhetoric on global and domestic affairs may go over well on talk radio and message boards such as these, but reality and conservative wishful thinking are almost always two completely separate entities, as the argument you elude to her perfectly illustrates.

  2. The fact is, if we do nothing, we leave that other half of the Arab world in servitude. That is morally unacceptable, as well as being unacceptable in terms of our national interests and security.

    As for the other half, I suspect many of them will have second thoughts once Iraq becomes a liberated nation. After that, the prospects for a wave of democratization (to borrow a term from Samuel Huntington) increase dramatically. History has shown that there is a kind of thermodynamics of freedom in which freedom invariably spreads from countries that are more free to those that have less. Even the fundamentalists realize that they are losing the cultural battle, and the concepts of human rights and personal liberty are slowly ingratiating themselves into the heart of the Arab world. The worldwide call to jihad is the last gasp of a failing worldview.

    Is such a view unduly simplistic? I find it no more simplistic than the notion that the Arab people are simply unfit, undeserving, or undesirous of freedom. It is certainly less chauvinist. However, in the short term, the most moral course of action is to liberate the Iraqi people from Baathist oppression and actually do something to bring about a better life for the people of the Arab world rather than sit on our hands and let the region become a petri dish for terrorism.

  3. It never ceases to be amusing how the same conservatives who two years ago chastised Bill Clinton’s “heavy-handed nation building” policies in the Middle East now have the nerve to suggest that the plight of the oppressed Arab peasants is so morally unacceptable that waging war against their governments is the only solution.

    It’s also kind of suspect how the conservative argument for war has changed so substantially in the past few weeks. It used to be a matter of waging a “pre-emptive strike” against a madman who was gonna blow us to smitherines. Now it’s all about “liberating” the Iraqi peasants from the tyranny of their government. Conservatives are attempting to manipulate their war-mongering stance by appealing to liberals’ populism with this highly disingenuous sudden concern for the people of Iraq who they’ve been perfectly okay to watch starve for the past decade.

    To be fair though, establishing democracy in the Arab states should be a priority. Waging war and raiding their oil fields hardly seems like the right way to do it though. Beyond that, I’m not so sure your premise is right in this fundamentalist region of the world. Remember Iran in the mid-70’s. They weren’t democratic, but they were shifting towards Western ideals fairly significantly. A large enough number of Iranians were so appalled by this trend that it led to the rise of power of Khomeini. That’s the best example I can think of, but generally the religious views of this part of the world are so strong that Western values will always be resented by a large enough percentage of the people to result in the sort of coup d’tat we saw in Iran 24 years ago. Any perceived shortcomings of Western-style governance if applied there would likely produce a similar shift back to brutal fundamentalist dictatorship that has reigned supreme in the region for most of history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.