Saturday, December 18, 2004

Iraq and the Left

Chrenkoff interviews Steven Vincent who "has spent four months traveling through Iraq meeting its ordinary and less ordinary people; Shias, Sunnis and Kurds, poets and housewives, mullahs and feminists, insurgents and activists."

Chrenkoff: While your book is primarily about the Iraqis and their experiences and stories, there are a few Westerners that appear on the pages of "In the Red Zone". Hardly any of them come across as people I would like to have a drink with. Please tell us a bit more about what the Iraqis themselves call "the people of the Slogans".

Vincent: That's what my Iraqi friends called the anti-war and anti-Coalition activists they met in Baghdad. "I always feel like they are talking in slogans," my poet friend Naseer told me. They also called the activists "The 'Oh, my God' Club." This was a running joke based on an anti-sanctions march my friends witnessed before the war. As the marchers passed by, an American woman turned to the TV cameras and shrieked, "Oh my God, what are we doing to the children?" My friends found her carefully-staged "concern" hilarious - they couldn't tell the story without doubling up with laugher.

One of my greatest surprises in Iraq was the contempt many younger people had of Western leftists. They ridiculed "human shields" who suddenly vamoosed out of Baghdad when it became clear a war was really going to take place - or activists who tried to enlist them in pro-Palestinian causes (Iraqis hate the Palestinians because the Baathists showered such largesse upon them). But the worst, the absolute worst, were the "humanitarians" who claimed that the U.S. was as bad as Saddam. This deeply pained my friends, not because they particularly loved America, but because the activists had no conception of Iraq's suffering under the dictator. "They should examine their moral consciences," Naseer would grumble.

Well worth the read and Vincent has his own blog.


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting connection.

But the Bush Administration made some terrible mistakes. Not enough troops, to begin with - and not enough military police to do the kind of constabulary work hunter-killer Marines are now doing. More troops and more MPs would have helped stop the looting. I can't stress how disastrous and demoralizing the pillaging of Baghdad was to Iraq. Not only did it damage the country's infrastructure and destroy many buildings, it weakened Iraqi faith in the U.S. Imagine if your police department suddenly stopped pursuing criminals - how much respect would you have for them? I remember an Iraqi man clutching my arm and pleading, "If you're going to occupy our country, occupy it!" Others said we could have stopped the plunder had we publicly hung a few looters at the beginning of the disturbances - which gives you an idea of the Iraqi sense of justice

Americansoul said...

Great piece on Slogans! "Oh My God", America is at war with terrorist's, and liberated 50 million people (from the evil regimes holding these Muslims captive), pulled the sword from our military sheath both at home and on other shores, even protected the protestors, performed thousands of funeral marches from Ground Zero and the Pentagon to the grave, began to rebuild a Freedom Tower, taller, defiantly, resolve with steel, victoriously, gave credence to UN sanctions by having a backbone, and discovered an "Oil For Food" scandal and who were recipients per country, seeing those that loose their head and UNITED STATES that see RED but stay the course until they're dead, "Oh My God", Militant Islamic Radical Terrorist killed children in Beslan, "what are they doing to the children"! America, the single greatest force in the world for freedom! Always was, always will be!

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