< HOME  Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Remember the people in the middle east

I recently came by this great article on the website of the Boston Globe that sums up a main factor of this whole mess in the middle east very nicely: The fact that the US Government completely ignores the people of the middle east while it carries out its policy in the area, especially in Iraq.
I was moved to read the cri de coeur of a young computer engineer from Bahrain, Ali Abdulemam, who observed that the Americans "talk about how they will reorganize the region in a different way, but they never talk about the people."

Indeed, in all the post-9/11 theories that have emerged from the Bush administration about the transformative power of democracy in the Middle East, the one thing that keeps getting left out is the concept of the people themselves. Indeed, the administration's quagmire in Iraq was to an unprecedented degree an intellectuals' war, based on political theory formed by men with little to no experience in the Middle East.
Touché.
The new "best and the brightest " had long felt that the United States was wasting an opportunity if it did not seize upon the defeat of the Soviet Union to bend the world to America's liking. When 9/11 came along early in President Bush's administration, they had a theory ready to fill the vacuum.

You hear the president repeatedly saying that his predecessors had mistakenly stressed stability over democracy in the Middle East, but that 9/11 had made that policy untenable. The president is not wrong to believe that democratic reform among autocratic regimes of the Middle East could lead to more open societies and fewer resentments and frustrations that turn to terrorism. But he seems to leave out the people actually involved, to forget that their version of the root causes that have to be addressed may not be the same as the administration's. The United States and Israel point to Hezbollah and Iran, for example, while most of the region's people would point to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian areas as a root cause.

Some of those President Bush chose to surround himself with had complete faith in the ability of American power to bend the world to its will, and in the idea that the American way could be imposed upon people who were just waiting for American-style democracy. It was the Cold War that formed their thinking. When the Soviet Union broke up, freeing the lands behind the Iron Curtain, the message seemed to them to be that democracy inevitably triumphs, and that those who sought accommodation with the Communists were misguided appeasers.

But the Middle East is not Eastern Europe, and, alas for this country, the Bush administration had no patience to understand the complicated interplay of ethnicities, religions, and tribal traditions of the peoples they wanted to transform. What did any of that matter? Democracy would solve everything, they said. Why bother about the people?
Sure, why bother? After all, we are the only valid form of government, and the only superpower that counts, and anyone who chooses anything else is naive and needs our education to bring them onto the right path..

/sarcasm
Thus followed what the writer Jacob Heilbrunn has called "the willful blindness of the Bush administration to Iraqi realities," which is another way of saying the Iraqi people were left out. All the administration had to do was remove Saddam Hussein, and Iraq would emerge as a true democracy, a light unto nations, transforming the region by example, as well as securing a reliable petroleum supply for the United States and, for some, ensuring the safety of Israel.
Well well, who didn't see that coming..
The Pentagon's refusal to hear any arguments to the contrary before the Iraq invasion, and the failures of the young, ideological occupiers afterward , are now famous. But even today, you hear attitudinal echoes. Bush's bewilderment that Iraqi Shi'ites could demonstrate in favor of Hezbollah is an example, as is his sad insistence that Iraqi leaders demonstrate their gratitude. The president seems not to realize that the changes he has wrought in Iraq aren't going to be to America's advantage. He doesn't seem to realize that what the Shi'ite-led government wants is an Islamic government that may not be like Iran's, but will be more so than anything the Bush administration bargained for.

When Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki came to make his puppet-like appearances before Congress, some Democrats, in a pathetic attempt to get to the right of the Republican Party on being faithful to Israel, threatened boycott because he seemed to favor Hezbollah over Israel. If you follow that logic, al-Maliki was being faulted for not being enough of a puppet.

The idea of Iraq as the laboratory in which all the neo conservative theories about transformational democracy could be proved has come unglued . Iraqis turned out not to be Poles, but then the actual people of the Middle East were never really considered.
Got anything to add? I don't.

7 Comments:

At Wednesday, August 30, 2006, Blogger prayingfortherapture said...

Creating and seizing 'opportunities' is straight from the machiavellian/zionist playbook, the global steering program running for some time now. These folks despise democracy, hence the dismissal of the common folk in the ME as well as the vigorous dismantling of democracy here in the US and elsewhere. To find out what they're up to, just pay attention to what they accuse their designated enemies of. Preemptive accusation, like preemptive warfare, immediately puts any opposition on the defensive, the position of weakness.

These folks are not rocket scientists. For the most part they're very simplistic and completely without ethics. And Bush is only their puppet. He's not even up to their speed. The only thing he ever really wanted was to show up his dad. He is developmentally stunted, probably from the age of seven or so. Would not be surprised if his handlers end up eventually doing away with him, if only to create sympathy, fear, and a justification for vengeance. Another 'opportunity'.

Stop listening to what they say--they're liars. And quite proud of what good liars they are. George can hardly suppress the smirks.

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006, Blogger Lew Scannon said...

al-Maliki was being faulted for not being enough of a puppet.
That's what I said! Both parties are clueless to the reprecussions of American policy on the citizens of the middle east.

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006, Blogger superslave2 said...

the only real "playbook" is to let nature , race and land take the path that destiny (and or God) has for them - not what Perle and Krauthhammer think it should be. Johnson had the "wonder kids" of Mcnamara , etc, Bush has even more clueless crew : the wonder yids...

(there's an 800 lb. gorilla in the room and it's wearing a yarmuka)

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006, Blogger M. Shahin said...

It is really quite sad to see the Bush administration bully the people of the Middle East to accept their form of freedom.

When Muslims look at the freedom Bush brought to Iraq, it does not look very appealing. After all, who wants to die and see their country destroyed.

And some people wonder why Muslims are rejecting the democracy of the West. It should be quite apparent, people.

What right do we have to go into another country, bomb it and kill the people and install governments that we like?

Would we like Iran to come into America and overthrow Bush and install a regime favorable to Iran?

Citizens in Iran who before opposed the Iranian government, have now decided to support it because they don't want what happened in Iraq to happen in Iran.

Bush, as usual is quite stupid. Everything he is doing in the Middle East, is going right against what he is working towards.

The Muslims are finally getting tired of being pushed around and killed because of the resources they sit on, and are getting tired of America dictating to them how they should live and who their puppets should be.

Until Bush recognizes the Middle East not as a resource to grab, but as human beings who are living and breathing, and have a right to live as they like and form their own leaders, he will never find success.

 
At Wednesday, August 30, 2006, Blogger steven andresen said...

Hi,

My first thought was to repeat the thought of others, that people in Iraq are probably not opposed to democracy, they'd like to have control over their own lives and the countries they live in and care about. Their problem with the United States is that they don't see the U.S. really trying to create or support democracy. Instead, they see the elected government of Iran, for instance, being overthrown by the C.I.A. in favor of the Shah who would ensure that there was western control of Iranian oil resources.

There are countless other examples of the same kind of hypocracy.

The other issue I'd like to raise is what we can do about the problem, and how our way of understanding the problem allows or prevents us from seeing a solution.

I think that saying Bush and his handlers are just greedy, or have no regard for the people of the middle east, does not get at what they are thinking. It does not get at it because it does not explain how they can be oblivious to the stealing and the murdering for which they are responsible.

Why don't they see the point of all our arguments that they are doing a bad thing in the middle east? I cannot believe it is just because they are obtuse or blinded by the unusable piles of cash.

I am open to explanations. I have one of my own, which is that they are concerned about survival, their own survival, and they don't see any value in thinking about the survival or comfort of others in their calculations.

Whereas for some reason we might think everyone should work together to resolve conflict, without resorting to stealing and murdering others, this is not the goal or way of doing things of those who've been trying desperately to accumulate power.

It seems to me the important argument to make is about what might be wrong in their belief that survival at the cost of everyone and everything else should be their goal in life.

What's wrong with it is that it is completely self destructive in both the short and long run.

 
At Thursday, August 31, 2006, Blogger Brother John said...

It's all about continuity(cryptome.org/ntia082506.htm) of formless entity(ThreeWorldWars.com/albert-pike.htm).

 
At Thursday, August 31, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Re: American inability to understand why Arabs do not easily fall in line - Americans underestimate the tenacity and resourcefulness of the desert tribes.

Arabs may not have technology on their side, but they have faith and determination - a much more valuable asset in the desert. Arabs will never be defeated, like seeds scattered to the wind, Arabs eventually rise again to haunt them.

 

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