Friday, October 21, 2005

Those Iraqis Better 'Get Their Act Together'

There's a good web site called "" that I recommend. But even there, one often finds an amazing American arrogance that it seems to me is a big part of our problem.

A columnist there called Alan Bock, for example, writes eloquently about his hope for something in Iraq to go right. But Block's analyses are fatally flawed by certain implied assumptions. They include, that the U.S. invasion of Iraq had something to do with American interest in helping Iraq improve its government. And that the U.S. actually COULD make it better if it wanted to.

On October 14, Bock wrote "I suspect [the Iraqis]are ready now [to run their own country]." This single statement presumes four important falsehoods: (1)as noted already, that the U.S. ever had any real interest in Iraqis truly running their country; (2)that the American presence is in any real way preparing them to better run a country; (3) that we Americans have the wisdom to decide when they are "ready"; and, (4) that they ever actually needed our help.

Then Bock, on October 21, says the Iraqis have "a few weeks to get their act together" if things are to work out well there. If that's not blaming the victim, then at best it's arrogant and condescending.

Call me crazy, but it might be that a few people in the world would like to see the U.S. get ITS act together. Or that the Iraqis, having had their country stage-managed from England or the U.S. for ninety years (which included our greatest gift to them, Saddam Hussein), finally deserve the right to see if they are "ready" to "get their act together."

And it might be that if the U.S. and every other foreign invader walked out of Iraq this afternoon, the Iraqis could not possibly do any worse for themselves than 90 years of arrogant Western-style long-distance-government has done for them.

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