The Failure To Understand Who And What Is The Enemy

It has taken me a while to write this diary, not so much because I didn't know what to say as much as I was unsure how others would take it. I am not by any means an expert in military affairs or foreign relations. I am merely an observer, and I would have to say that from early 1990s, I have been at first perplexed, and than incredulous of what has been going on in my government and in governments around the world. The following is an excerpt from a live journal of a soldier in Iraq.

posted 2/20/06...
"I started reading [omitted] LJ [Live Journal] because he recently came to Iraq and he's the husband of [omitted]. In his LJ he talks all about the so called "AIF" which really got me to thinking. I haven't seen the term AIF since Fort Stewart nearly a year ago. They never dropped that term at the NTC and I haven't seen it here, in Iraq. But it seems the Army still likes to use the term 'Anti Iraqi Forces' somewhere, because that guy certainly believes in it. And I'm not picking on him.
        I really don't understand the term AIF. I guess there are people here that would be 'AIF', but they are very few. Care to follow a list of my enemies?
Outright Enemies:
*  AIF = foreign insurgents that don't want to see an Iraq and hate America, true AIF
*  AIF = foreign insurgents from Syria or Saudi Arabia that support the secular Sunni a regime of Saddam Hussein.
*  AIF = foreign insurgents from Syria or Saudi Arabia that don't support the secular Saddam Hussein but are supportive of fundamentalist Wahibbism
*  AIF = foreign insurgents from Syria or Saudi Arabia that don't support the secular Saddam Hussein or fundamentalist Wahibbism, but hate Freedom
       Lets not forget that though we have either a truce or alliance that we have these enemies; I'll put 'AIF' on them for fun, but they're just as likely to be coalition forces:
*  AIF = so called 'Kurdish ethnic group' peoples wanting their own country
*  AIF = so called 'Kurdish ethnic group' peoples wanting their own place in the government
*  AIF = Shi'ite Militants that are local
*  AIF = Shi'ite Militants from Iran
*  AIF = Shi'ite Militants with "their own agenda"
*  AIF = Sunnis 'Arabs' for Iraq but not with America
*  AF = Sunnis that aren't 'Arab' for Iraq but not with America
      And of course the ones here in Iraq that don't play to outsiders, and also are my enemies:
*  AIF = Sunni Arabs native to Iraq
*  AIF = Sunni Arabs native to Iraq that hate the Shi'ites but want an free Iraq
*  AIF = Sunni Arabs that are Baathist and like Saddam Hussein
*  AIF = Sunni Arabs that are Baathist and don't like Saddam Hussein but like Syria
*  AIF = Sunni Arabs that are native to Iraq, don't like Shi'as
*  AIF = Sunni Arabs that are native to Iraq that don't like Shi'as and other Sunnis
*  AIF = Sunni Muslims that don't associate themselves as Arabs but associate with a group above
*  AIF = Sunni Muslims that don't associate themselves as Arabs OR a group above
The Sunni list goes on and on.
      Should I start with the Tribal list that could constitute 'AIF'?
     Perhaps it helps the simple, letterless Regular Army soldier. The E3 and E4 in the Army that is 20 years old and doesn't know shit about the world. Maybe that's what the AIF thing is all about. But really, I do hope that isn't getting to the Captains and Majors that run our S2s and S3s.
     It's President's Day. George Washington could have been king. He wasn't though. And because of that one man, Freedom and Democracy rule half the world today. Had he been a religious man perhaps it would be another Saint George, but he was a deist, and just another man. Today you should have been celebrating his birthday. If you didn't, you're wrong, but you still can fix it because I'm many hours ahead of you. Without George Washington, Freedom would be a misnomer. They came to George and said, "So do ya' want to be King?" And Georgie, the man on the Dollar, the man who had defeated Empire, he said, 'No. No, I didn't do this thing to be a king. I believed in Freedom, and Liberty. Our LAWS say that it is the People that lead Our Nation. Let them choose Another. I shall go home, to Virginia.'

This journal struck me not so much because of the sarcastic honesty, but because it said much more than I think the author ever intended. It is something of a sick, depraved joke to say that we (whoever the hell we are, in which I am really not so sure about) are in a "Global War on Terrorism." How the hell can you be at war with a tactic? Can you punch out a ghost? It is ridiculous to me, a minority, that some of the most intelligent (?) minds can sit around on the television and pontificate on Iraq War strategy, Homeland (the very word actually sends chills up my spine) security and cartoon violence, while ignoring the elephant stomping all around you.  With the advent of personal computers, the internet, and various other leaps in technology, globalization on certain levels is unavoidable. That does not mean you sell out security, public safety, or national interest to the world market. You cannot have a successful government or prosperous country when ruled by pure forms of -isms (socialism, capitalism, etc.) You also cannot hope to lead a world you do not understand. Please stick with me moment while I explain.

1.)    Iraq is a manufactured country, put together by Westerners who never really understood tribal or ethnic differences. It is more than the differences between someone from New York and someone from Alabama. I have heard on the Sunday talking head self gratification vest no less than ten times how Arabs in Pakistan Iran, etc, etc, fell about the West. The problem is, in the vast majority of places mentioned, there are very few Arabs. Iran is populated by a majority of Persians. The people of Pakistan are largely of Indian decent. And what about the Turks, they are something altogether different. IT IS NOT THE SAME THING. African-Americans think, act, speak and behave far differently than Somalis, who think and act far different from Liberians. Culture is not basically the same from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, but policy makers insist on lumping anyone who is Muslim into this one Arabian category, where they do not fit. The Shi'ite and the Sunni have beef that go back thousands of years. Colonization has a nasty after bite, and surprise when the oppressed are given the opportunity for revenge, they generally take it. Think of it as capital punishment for something your great-great-great-grandfather did. Maybe it is simplistic to say if they want to split, let them split. The problem is the oil, which is the say, the cash crop. No one is willing to give that up. We can put a man on the moon in the 60s, but we can't find an alternative to oil? The country that does will be the next superpower, and it doesn't look like that will be us.

2.)    I spent a month and a half in the U.A.E. in 1993. At the time, the general population of the West was really just becoming aware of the fact that we had an ever growing problem in the region. I asked regular citizens, the kind without oil wealth  "Why do most Muslims hate American?" Two men, one young and one quite a deal older I spoke with almost every evening and received the same answer. They told me, they do not hate Americans, but what they really despise are western companies and western governments supporting and propping up leaders that are at best corrupt, but generally tyrannical. Me, as an African-American woman, had very little to do with their plight. (Of course, this was pre-Condi.) I sat with these men for hours talking about the differences in cultures and religions and came away with a completely different prospective of the Middle East and its people. Since that time, I have found it far easier to find common ground with those from various parts of the Middle East than I can with my Republican brother-in-law. Ten and a half years later, in Paris, I had similar conversations with many Persian, Arab, African, and Pakistani immigrants in the open markets. I was there with a friend from Israel, who could not believe that after 9/11 I would not only proudly pronounce myself to be an American, but be accepted as if I was one of "them." The answer is really simple. I, like the vast majority of progressives, can communicate, exchange ideas and find commonality with those that are different from me without losing my own identity. The people in power now cannot fathom a democracy that does not look like Western democracy; the simple truth is the Middle East has had different form of democratic governments before Europe. Democracy comes at the will of the people, not the will of another. The forms of democracy bubbling the Middle East today will not be same as ours, but then again, it cannot be the same. It must work for the people for which it serves. It doesn't make it right or wring, it makes it different. The same general principle applies in our own hemisphere. Of course governments in South America are increasing socialistic. The majority of the people (the have-nots) have greater need for some forms of socialism. Good for American companies? No. Good for the people of South America? It is for them to decide.
3.)    The protests over Danish cartoons just might be about something more than Danish cartoons. Possibly, probably, opportunistic religious fanatics have used this issue to fan the flames of discontent, but it would not have been possible if there were not for deep angry undercurrents in their societies. All too often, western media and politicians speak of the Middle East as if these people were all ignorant peasant people who cannot be trusted with their own destiny. Since the great victories of Alexander the Great, it has been all too easy of the west to look upon the cradle of civilization as if it were populated by some backward country bumpkins without the ability of cognitive reasoning. Friday on Hardball, Rita Crosby proclaimed that Democrats were going after the "hoodlum vote," which she qualified as going after the vote of felonies in an obvious bid for Black votes. I have been Black all my life, as have my father, my husband, my grandparent, etc. None of us have ever been felons. I don't know any felons, and I know a lot of African-Americans. The comment was not upsetting because it was racist, it was infuriating because she had no idea what she said was racist. This is the main problem most African-Americans have with the Republican Party. It is not that they are blatantly racists, it is that most have no idea they are being racists when they open their mouths. People of the Middle East are not stupid. They know true racism when they see it. The way in which address problems in the Middle East are oft time racist. The comments by people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and the like don't help.

Well, that's my little rant of the day. I hope it wasn't too juvenile or naïve. I don't know it was just a thought.

Tags: foreign policy, international relations, Iraq War (all tags)



No longer worshiping stability

I thought the most interesting part was section 2.  About how they despise the west supporting dictators.  I have to completly agree.  That is one reason why I support the Iraq front.  It was a true shift in foriegn relations from supporting the tyrants, which is safe, to supporting the poeple.  It is definently a sacrafice of stability, which was our primary goal before, but at least we are no longer supporting and defending tyrants.


by Classical Liberal 2006-02-28 03:01AM | 0 recs
Re: The Failure....

The part about the AIF was sarcastic, and it was actually me flaming another person on LJ for being a simpleton.

The part about George Washington was totally serious.

by qp4 2006-09-17 07:52PM | 0 recs


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