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Friday, October 20, 2006

iraqi bloggers respond to the lancet report

LI has been intrigued by the reaction, among the English writing Iraqi bloggers, to the Lancet report. Apparently it was trashed by Iraq the Model – a famous site among the pro-war crowd, that supplies a consistently pro-Bush line. This was too much for a blogger who goes by Konfused Kid (see our links), and he contacted other Iraqi bloggers. In the back and forth, a lot of fascinating, and very, very depressing stories fell out. Instead of listing all these blogs, go to this post at Treasure of Baghdad and read the informal survey he took.

LI’s position has been, consistently, that peace would consist of two parts: American withdrawal, and peace with Iran – since I don’t believe Iraq can be at peace, for one thing, without the latter condition. But because the American occupation has been such a crime against humanity, I recognize the one slimy truth in the stay the course option – American withdrawal might increase the violence. Practically, that means some of the voices surveyed by Baghdad treasure could be murdered. If you go through the Iraqi blogs, murder prowls the posts. And the question is: wouldn’t an American withdrawal be equivalent to the disbanding of the army and security services accomplished by the Americans – the one leading cause of the violence, without any doubt?

The problem with that argument is that it ignores what the Americans are doing. While keeping a rough and ready order, it is in the service of a larger disorder. The Americans will never allow the things that have to be done in Iraq – the negotion between all parties without any conditions; the possibility of universal amnesty; the serious discussion of disarming the militias, which can only come about if one of those militias isn’t favored (at the moment, the U.S. is favoring the Badr Brigades, by the way). In our analogy between American withdrawal and the disbanding of the Iraqi army, we should add this likeness – the American army, officially headed by the Bush administration, is like the Iraqi army still being headed by Saddam Hussein. Discussions about what the Americans do, or their humanitarian function in Iraq, are pointless if the discussion doesn’t include that the American forces are headed by a petty, incompetent and irresponsible tyrant. This is what happens when a volunteer army is used for mercenary purposes. The double aspect of ownership is, here, a fraud – they are “American” forces, insofar as they are paid for by American money, but they are “Bush’s paramilitary”, insofar as the executive, illegally, has so far extended his executive power as to fling them into Iraq, and refused any feedback from Congress as to what they are doing there. The victims of Bush’s vanity war are the Iraqis. They die. The Americans pay. The Bush white house gets redder and redder with Iraqi blood.

Reading the Iraqi blogs brings this home. These are like voices from inside some disaster that we caused. They are still alive, and God willing, will survive the American criminal regime. But, in fact, these people will die if American policy isn’t changed radically, and soon.

2 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

Really interesting blog. I found it at Chabert.

I enjoy reading the Iraqi bloggers. What is frightening and thrilling, is they usually make sense from their regional, parochial view.

I think the Lancet article has accurate enough numbers. I wonder about the causes of death. Both Islamists and imperialists, have more in common than not.

roger said...

Thanks, RE.

Well, the occupiers and the Islamicists were allies for almost forty years, in the double cause of fighting Nasserism and communism.

But in a way, concentrating too much on that old history is a diversion. What is interesting is that enemies can become allies as their interests coverge. This is a good thing. Eternal war between absolutes is a bad thing. I don't think Iraq will become like Liberia if the Americans leave. But it is definitely a risk. Most of those bloggers don't want the Americans to leave. After all, the post-American prospect looks like rule by the biggest thug.

However, I actually think that there are enough educated Iraqis, and enough civil society structures that have been built up over time, that the thugz won't rule.

And I don't think the enmity between the U.S. and Iran, that shapes much of America' M.E. policy, is necessary or healthy.

But the American withdrawal stance is one that has been with me from the beginning, and I should consider whether circumstances have so altered that even the occupiers are better than the alternative. I could change my mind, at least. But at the moment, I don't see any reason to -- and all my fears about the occupation from the start, in 2003, have been realized.