Dear Salam Pax, please forgive me for excerpting your complete rant (emphases mine)
No one inside Iraq is for war (note I said war not a change of regime), no human being in his right mind will ask you to give him the beating of his life, unless you are a member of fight club that is, and if you do hear Iraqi (in Iraq, not expat) saying �come on bomb us� it is the exasperation and 10 years of sanctions and hardship talking. There is no person inside Iraq (and this is a bold, blinking and underlined inside) who will be jumping up and down asking for the bombs to drop. We are not suicidal you know, not all of us in any case.
I think that the coming war is not justified (and it is very near now, we hear the war drums loud and clear if you don�t then take those earplugs off!). The excuses for it have been stretched to their limits they will almost snap. A decision has been made sometime ago that �regime change� in Baghdad is needed and excuses for the forceful change have to be made. I do think war could have been avoided, not by running back and forth the last two months, that�s silly. But the whole issue of Iraq should have been dealt with differently since the first day after GW I.
The entities that call themselves �the international community� should have assumed their responsibilities a long time ago, should have thought about what the sanctions they have imposed really meant, should have looked at reports about weapons and human rights abuses a long time before having them thrown in their faces as excuses for war five minutes before midnight.
What is bringing on this rant is the question that has been bugging for days now: how could �support democracy in Iraq� become to mean �bomb the hell out of Iraq�? why did it end up that democracy won�t happen unless we go thru war? Nobody minded an un-democratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful.
The situation in Iraq could have been solved in other ways than what the world will be going thru the next couple of weeks. It can�t have been that impossible. Look at the northern parts of Iraq, that is a model that has worked quite well, why wasn�t anybody interested in doing that in the south. Just like the US/UK UN created a protected area there why couldn�t the model be tried in the south. It would have cut off the regimes arms and legs. And once the people see what they have been deprived off they will not be willing to go back, just ask any Iraqi from the Kurdish areas. Instead the world watched while after the war the Shias were crushed by Saddam�s army in a manner that really didn�t happen before the Gulf War. Does anyone else see the words (Iran/not in the US interest) floating or is it me hallucinating?
And there is the matter of Sanctions. Now that Iraq has been thru a decade of these sanctions I can only hope that their effects are clear enough for them not to be tried upon another nation. Sanctions which allegedly should have kept a potentially dangerous situation in Iraq in check brought a whole nation to its knees instead. And who ultimately benefited from the sanctions? Neither the international community nor the Iraqi people, he who was in power and control still is. These sanctions made the Iraqi people hostages in the hands of this regime, tightened an already tight noose around our necks. A whole nation, a proud and learned nation, was devastated not by the war but by sanctions. Our brightest and most creative minds fled the country not because of oppression alone but because no one inside Iraq could make a living, survive. And can anyone tell me what the sanctions really did about weapons? Get real, there are always willing nations who will help, there are always organizations which will find his money sweet. Oil-for-Food? Smart Sanctions? Get a clue. Who do you think is getting all those contracts to supply the people with �food�? who do you think is heaping money in bank accounts abroad? It is his people, his family and the people who play his game. Abroad and in Iraq, Iraqis and non-Iraqis.
What I mean to say is that things could have been different; I can�t help look at the Northern parts of Iraq with envy and wonder why.
Do support democracy in Iraq. But don�t equate it with war. What will happen is something that could/should have been avoided. Don�t expect me to wear a [I heart bush] t-shirt. Support democracy in Iraq not by bombing us to hell and then trying to build it up again (well that is going to happen any way) not by sending human shields (let�s be real the war is going to happen and Saddam will use you as hostages), but by keeping an eye on what will happen after the war.
To end this rant, a word about Islamic fundis/wahabisim/qaeda and all that.
Do you know when the sight of women veiled from top to bottom became common in cities in Iraq? Do you know when the question of segregation between boys and girls became red hot? When tribal law replaced THE LAW? When Wahabi became part of our vocabulary?
It only happened after the Gulf War. I think it was Cheney or Albright who said they will bomb Iraq back to the stone age, well you did. Iraqis have never accepted religious extremism in their lives. They still don�t. Wahabis in their short dishdasha are still looked upon as sheep who have strayed from the herd. But they are spreading. The combination of poverty/no work/low self esteem and the bitterness of seeing people who rose to riches and power without any real merit but having the right family name or connection shook the whole social fabric. Situations which would have been unacceptable in the past are being tolerated today.
They call it �al hamla al imania � the religious campaign� of course it was supported by the government, pumping them with words like �poor in this life, rich in heaven� kept the people quiet. Or the other side of the coin is getting paid by Wahabi organizations. Come pray and get paid, no joke, dead serious. If the government can�t give you a job run to the nearest mosque and they will pay and support you. This never happened before, it is outrageous. But what are people supposed to do? thir government is denied funds to pay proper wages and what they get is funneled into their pockets. So please stop telling me about the fundis, never knew what they are never would have seen them in my streets.
Lengthy but essential reading. Another piece of the puzzle: read this Tacitus post. He interprets it differently than I do.