Just to clarify, I meant there are two types only who are still fighting. Those baathists who have no future because of their actions under the old regime and foreigners.The mercenary tag is meant in a very broad sense, no-one is fighting Coalition (note: not just American) forces for money. It is clear that there are non-Iraqi muslims fighting, as there were non-Aghans fighting for the Taleban and non-Bosnians (albeit more nobly) fighting in former Yugoslavia and there have been several reports, I’ll see if I can find you a few links. To answer your question, it is only western style projection” that leads you to assume that there Iraqis sufficiently resentful of the presence of foreign troops to fight against them. there’s a huge difference between common-or-garden anti-american sentiment (as is found throughout Europe) and the motivation to kill and risk death. It is easy to understand the notion of “the resistance” and it is sloppy reporting to characterise what is happening in Iraq as some kind of spontaneous “resistance to occupation” like the mythical, false French “resistance” to the Nazis.
Im not so sure Frank. I was at a debate on Saturday and had the pleasure to meet Lindsey Hilsum from Channel 4 News. She characterized the feeling in Iraq for me.
From her experiences in Iraq she believed that the Iraqis “resent the Americans, they believe they are being colonised”. She noted a piece of graffitti scrawled on the plinth of the famous statue that was pulled down by the Americans, written now: “All done, go home”.
I dont think there is evidence either way to support a claim that it is a “Western style projection”, nor would I say that the anti-Americanism present in Arab nations is entirely the same thing as anti-Americanism found in Western European nations, I think they are perhaps two different kettles of fish.
Here’s a thought for you Gavin: Do you think the US army is composed entirely of practicing Christians? There are Muslim, Jewish and atheist soldiers too.
No i don’t. But let me throw it back, do you think a majority or a minority of soldiers in the US army would claim to be Christian? I don’t doubt the existence of other religions in the US armed forces. But like my original point, it is Christianity that would be associated with Amercian invaders/liberators more than any other – not least in the eyes of Iraqis.
By referring to the use of religion in such a broad context (different methods, different extremes) you dilute the point until it is almost meaningless. What will have a tangible effect is if religion is used coercively and to extreme, that is more relevant and interesting than a statement that the leader (or some of the soldiers) of one country prays to God as does the leader (or soldiers) of another country pray to Allah. What matters is if that country places a sanction on you because you don’t conform to the majority religious practice. I couldn’t give a stuff if Bertie Ahern and the whole Dail prayed to Satan as long as they don’t require me to join their rituals
How do I dilute the point? My point is a meaningful one. The observation of religious belief and practice is fascinating. The upsurdity in many ways, the contradictions, the sheer hypocricy of religion.
3 thoughts on “The War”
Let me first state that I am an atheist and I consider religious practice to be superstitious. That said, it is a form of intolerance, no different to the intent of the mullahs, to insist that everyone disavow religious practice. A cornerstone of a free society is the freedom to pray to whomever you wish. That is why I say it is irrelevant to note that the leaders of some countries are religious and use religious rhetoric. What matters is not their own feelings but what they would have others do. This obsession with intent over action is a bugbear of political thought. Intent only helps us to understand an action, it doesn’t affect the value of the action on the person concerned. Thus: if you are restricted from practicing, say, Buddhism, it doesn’t matter to you whether this restriction is done in the name of Christianity or “A pluralist society”. If your child is freed from Saddam’s prison it doesn’t matter to you what the intent of the liberators was. It would be cold comfort, while your child remains rotting in jail, to know that the integrity of the UN security council and the pride of Jacues Chirac has been upheld.
I am more convinced by polls showing Iraqis don’t support the continued fighting by remnants of the old regime than I am by a Channel 4 hack’s anecdotal evidence.
Interesting Hilsum used figures from the same survey to back up her ideas..
It seems important for pro-invasion/occupation politicians to answer this, if you believe in democracy, and believe the Iraqis embrace the U.S. military occupation, why not hold immediate elections, and conduct a MASS CENSUS of all Iraqi adults, asking whether to keep the U.S. military in country? That seems to be both democratic and the only way to be sure!
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