Saturday, May 5, 2007

End the occupation

I need to say this: it's not a war in Iraq; it's an occupation. The war ended four years ago. The neocons had a stated vision of Iraq as a "pro-American democracy", but what they really wanted was a colony of a new American empire. The stubborn refusal to leave Iraq is based on this desire, but it is doomed to failure. The age of empire is over. Throughout history the middle east has resisted foreign occupation, and the current situation in Iraq reflects this. As we continue to fight "insurgents", we should ask ourselves "Who are they? What is their motivation?".
Put yourself in the position of an Iraqi citizen: foreign soldiers and tanks are on your streets, people who don't speak your language or understand your culture rule your lives. Remember that before the foreigners came, you had a stable society despite the brutality of the dictator. Now you are surrounded by chaos. Would you resist the foreigners?
As Americans, we believe that we're innately good and benevolent. We need to realize that this is a myopic view that the Iraqis do not share. We cannot remake their society into our ideal.
The reality is that at some point in time we will have to leave Iraq, whether tomorrow or ten years from now. Our continued occupation will only lead to more death and destruction, destroying more Iraqi and American lives.
The administration's rhetoric is patently false. They can't even tell us who the "enemy" is. Vague terms like "terrorists" or "insurgents" are disingenuous. They can't define "victory". A "free and democratic" Iraq? How can they be "free" while our tanks roam their streets?
I'll end this rant with this from Riverbend:
I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn't know what
our neighbors were- we didn't care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one
bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.

On a personal note, we've finally decided to leave. I guess I've known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?

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