Sunday, March 18, 2007

How Does An Iraqi Know How Good They Have It Without Watching Fox News?

In comments to my earlier post on how the uber-right are spinning the facts from a recent poll on Iraqi attitudes, a rightwing commenter snarkily asked "What do the Iraqis know about the hopelessness of their situation? How many of them watch CBS or read the Daily Kos?"

Here's his answer.

First, from prominent anti-war advocate and campaigner for moderate Islam Anas Altikriti in The Guardian today:
Exactly four years after the decision to launch a massive military assault on Iraq, the country lies in ruins. Whatever remained of a once proud and united nation following a brutal and inhumane 13-year sanctions regime, has been obliterated as a result of a military action of gigantic proportions to serve the interests of a handful of politicians and political agendas in the west, Israel and Iraq.

Millions of Iraqis, indeed the vast majority of the population (myself included), regarded the Ba'athist regime as one of the most brutal and evil dictatorships in the world. We dreamt of seeing the back of it for decades while the US, UK and a number of other western countries provided it with unlimited military, economic and political support in return for lucrative commercial and financial gains. Now we find the country and its people facing times much worse than they ever were, even in those dark days.

There has been a total and complete collapse of a modern society, which once boasted one of the most advanced healthcare, education and industrial systems throughout the developing world, and which saw the total eradication of illiteracy and the rate of infant mortality reduced to levels better than even those of Spain and Italy. It produced dozens of scientists from all walks of life every single year. This is an indictment of the western values that George Bush and Tony Blair continuously flaunt going to war over.

...And what of those that have seen their lives obliterated? What of the children who can no longer venture outside their front doors, never mind go to school? The academics who can no longer study or produce works of science; the women who constantly fear rape, abduction or the loss of a loved one; the sick who cannot find treatment; the detained, abused and tortured on mere suspicion or for being at the wrong place at the wrong time; the afraid, the traumatised, the terrorised, the injured, wounded and the disabled? What of the nation which never in its modern existence came to see its citizens according to their sect, ethnicity, religion, or nationalistic orientations, yet now finds that not only its political system and constitution - parachuted in all the way from Uncle Sam's back yard - but their entire social and civil structures divided along lines that were, until March 2003, invisible (indeed, non-existent)?

If anyone is still counting, the victims of the war in Iraq are all the Iraqis. All 25 million of them, apart from the handful who made political or financial gains out of the destruction of a country, the division of a nation and the mass-scale embezzlement. More than $350bn of Iraq's riches has been siphoned, either through ghost contracts, corruption on a massive scale or the unmonitored selling-off of Iraq's oil on the cheap to middle-men who then see to it that affluent countries, such as the UK, continue to get their fill at an affordable price.
Or, in a shorter and more empassioned version from Iraqi blogger Riverbend on February 20th:
Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It’s worse. It’s over. You lost. You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison walls as well as the ones we see in our streets. You lost when you brought murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as Iraq’s first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile.
And from Riverbend again on December 29th:
You know your country is in trouble when:
1. The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.
2. Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.
3. The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.
4. The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.
5. An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country's 'Golden Years'.
6. Your country is purportedly 'selling' 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.
7. For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it's going to cut back on providing that hour.
8. Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is 'sectarian bloodshed' or 'civil war'.
9. People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that's been missing for two weeks.

A day in the life of the average Iraqi has been reduced to identifying corpses, avoiding car bombs and attempting to keep track of which family members have been detained, which ones have been exiled and which ones have been abducted.
Iraqis, of course, don't realize how wonderful their situation is. They don't watch Fox News or read Blogs For Bush...

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