(Assorted thoughts on America's new colony)
by H. Millard (c) 2003

College Girls of BaghdadThere are a number of ways the Iraq situation can play out over the years to come. It is possible, but unlikely, that the neoconzis--who deny they want this--will be able to turn Iraq into a Middle Eastern version of the U.S. that will forevermore "love" the U.S. and be our ersatz colony. Get ready to see the Girls of Baghdad University posing nude in an American men's magazine if things go this way.

Then again, there are other ways this may play out, and we may imagine a few possibilities given what we know of history, the world, and human nature.

"The Mouse that Roared"Remember the 1959 comedy film The Mouse that Roared? In that film, the fictional tiny nation of Grand Fenwick declared war on the U.S. so the Grand Fenwickians could quickly surrender and thereafter receive millions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid. Not a bad plan, really, considering how the U.S. does things.

Remember the truism that a supposedly weak tree that bends when a hurricane blows, often survives by bending, while a tree that is supposedly strong and doesn't bend, is destroyed? Are many Iraqis just bending until the American hurricane passes over?

Remember the Minutemen of American history who refused to fight a conventional war against the much stronger British and who, instead, wore civilian clothes and who then melted away into the population after guerilla attacks on the Brits? Will we see more and more of this type of activity in Iraq?

Remember the street saying that if rape is inevitable, you might as well relax and enjoy it? Are the Iraqis giving flowers to American troops, just relaxing and enjoying the inevitable?

Remember the religious belief held by many Muslims that they will go to heaven if they are killed while fighting the infidels? More human bombs coming?

Remember the old saw: "He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day"? Where, exactly, did all those Iraqi soldiers go?

bullySo, what do the above snippets have to do with Iraq? Maybe nothing. Then again, maybe everything, and maybe all at the same time even if some may seem contradictory or mutually exclusive. In a nation of about 24 million people, there are bound to be lots of differing motives. It may be that many Iraqis, but not all, may have quickly adapted to the sure knowledge that they would lose the war and are therefore trying to turn the short term loss into a long term win. As I've written before, Iraq is a 98 pound weakling of a nation compared to the U.S., but even so, doesn't it seem that the war has been going a little too easy? Like a hot knife through butter? Like shooting sitting ducks? Like an adult professional baseball team taking on a grade school girl's softball team? At last count, we had about 7,000 Grand Fenwickians, er, Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered and who we are now taking care of. They mostly chose not to fight and surrendered as soon as they found someone to surrender to. While the neoconzis are praising the might of the U.S. military, it may be that the rest of the world sees it as an unfair fight, and will eventually look at the U.S. the way we look at a disgusting bully beating a defenseless baby.

The neoconzi propaganda machine is saturating the U.S. with scenes of Iraqis coming out and welcoming the Americans. Two weeks ago, many of these people would have been praising Saddam. Have these people really switched loyalties? Probably not very many, not genuinely. Most of our new best friends are probably just being pragmatic and doing the old shuck and jive to fool the man--the U.S.--and are doing what is necessary to survive or to gain business and social advantages they believe they may get by siding with the victor. If Iraq were suddenly invaded by a stronger force than the U.S., most of these same people now praising America would probably change sides in an eye blink. Also, most of those people seen around the now famous toppled statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, were actually Shia Muslims who have always hated Saddam, who is a Sunny Muslim and who is more secular than religious.

Shi'ite terroristsThe Shi'ite hatred of Saddam stems primarily from the fact that he tried to discourage the Shi'ites from practicing their version of Islam. With Saddam gone, the Shi'ites will once again be able to practice their religion. Should the neoconzis rejoice about this? What many Americans may not really understand is that some of the most zealous and extreme Islamic nations are overwhelmingly Shi'ite. Iran, for example, is primarily a Shi'ite nation. So, maybe what the neoconzis have actually done with this invasion of Iraq is free the extremists, who had been kept from extremist activities by the very government we just destroyed, to be more extreme. Ironically, Saddam Hussein's government was pretty secular and Western thinking. What may eventually replace Saddam's government, once the Americans are gone, may be government by Ayatollahs. Just as we see in Iran.

Also, despite all the neoconzis propaganda about the "dictatorship" of Saddam, the reality is that without such a heavy hand, the people of Iraq would have been less Western and would have relied more on their religion for their laws and government. In the purest forms of Islam, there is no separation between religion and government. None. Saddam forced such a separation. Saddam is now gone. Remember also, Islam is not organized in a pyramid structure such as the Catholic Church. There is no Pope or Pope equivalent in Islam who we can control or get rid of if we don't like him.

Slain cleric Abdel Majid al-Khoei In Islam, leaders bubble up from the people--all over the place. The leaders may have titles, but they are honorifics and these leaders are no more equal than any other believers. The leaders are followed only if others respect them, and they become more powerful than other leaders only if more people choose to follow them than some other leaders. If a religious leader loses respect, he is not followed and may be ignored or killed if he goes against the popular will or is seen as a tool of a non-Islamic power. Most religious leaders lead spartan lives and have little use for wealth. The point here is that the system is inherently decentralized, not built on greed, and is difficult to bend to the will of the U.S. which usually tries to bend others with promises of money.

So what have we accomplished by attacking and invading Iraq?
We've caused the deaths of many people.
We've angered the Muslim world.
We've angered the Arab world.
We've become known as a bully around the world.
We've alienated many European nations.
We have destroyed a secular and somewhat Western oriented government.
By contrast, the things that really matter for a sea change in the region haven't been changed and these things may have a cumulative effect that may come back to haunt us.
The religion hasn't changed.
The genes of the people haven't changed.
The land hasn't changed.
The Arab culture hasn't changed.
There are still about 24 million Iraqis.
Iraq is still surrounded by other Arab nations.

Japanese baseballThose who may argue that we can simply Americanize Iraq as we did with Germany and Japan after WWII don't understand the dynamics of the Middle East and Islam. Germany and Japan were lone nations. Iraq is part of a pan-Arab culture. When Arabs refer to the Arab nation, they're not usually referring to one nation, but to all Arab nations. The present national boundaries between Arab nations are relatively new and artificial. There's not much difference between an Arab from Iraq and an Arab from Palestine or Jordan or Saudi Arabia or any other political state. When non-Iraqi Arabs see American soldiers in Baghdad, they don't see this as the way Americans see it. Baghdad is not a foreign capital to Arabs, no matter where these Arabs live. Baghdad is one of the capitals of the Arab nation.

Something else to think about as we sort through the propaganda is that one of the stated goals of the neoconzis was to bring freedom to the people of Iraq. True freedom means personal freedom. Personal freedom means being able to do what you want. Many of the people of Iraq are now demonstrating they appreciate this true freedom and are looting and taking what they want. They appreciate being freed from the lack of freedom imposed on them by Saddam. On our TV newscasts, we see smiling Iraqis giving thumbs up signs as they drive away with truck loads of looted merchandise. It's almost as though they're saying, "We love President Bush!

Iraqi lootersThank you for the free furniture and TV sets, Mr. Bush. That despot Saddam Hussein wouldn't let us have them for free." Complete freedom can't help but mean chaos as each individual does what he or she wants with no constraints. That's what the people in Iraq have now. Complete freedom. It is the freedom experienced by the strong over the weak. In a sense, the looters are doing the same thing as the neoconzis had the American government do. They are doing just what they want with no fear that they will be held accountable. Eventually, the chaos in Iraq will be sorted out and some order will be imposed on the people of Iraq once again. With order comes lack of freedom. The U.S. wants to impose the American version of freedom on the Iraqis. Muslims want the Islamic version of freedom. They aren't the same thing.

anti-war protestAnd, those war mongering neoconzis in this country who say that this invasion, that they pushed, will stop terrorism, not cause more, don't understand the new age we have just barged into. The neoconzis also don't understand that most Americans who are opposed to this invasion probably wouldn't protest a truly just war. It isn't about fearing that we did something right, and as a result that we will then be targeted by bad people, that motivates many of those who didn't want this war. It's about fearing that we did something wrong, and that we will be targeted by good people or even by some sort of cosmic karma seeking to balance the scales of good and evil. It is about doing evil and having evil returned to us.

VengeanceWith the invasion of Iraq begins the age-old hatred of America and Americans to be talked about a hundred years from now. Now is the time of the beginning of the blood feud. With this unnecessary war and invasion of the Arab nation, the neoconzis have been able to make the U.S. as hated by Arabs and Muslims as Israel is hated by them, and for the same reasons. This gives an advantage to Israel which can now, more than ever, seek aid from the U.S. because of our "mutual enemies"--all Muslims and all Arabs. We have entered a fight that was really not our business and not in our best interests. Now, more Americans than ever will die for Israel and wrongly think, as they lie dying, that they are dying for America.

We have entered the age of blood vengeance.

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