Saturday, August 12, 2006

We write letters, which are rejected: Part 2, of a long and continuing series

Here's another Times reject. This one was written in response to a May 15, 2005 article called "The Mystery of the Insurgency." I'm prompted to post it now since there was an op-ed in today's Washington Post with some similar head-scratching over the puzzling question of why Iraqis tend to greet American troops with IEDs instead of flowers. Mind you, I don't want to be too hard on WaPo: unlike the Times, they have published most of the letters I've written, or issued a correction when I pointed out some error in their reporting on Slovenia (a country most people have never heard of but one I happen to know a lot about).

Anyway, here's the letter.

To the editor:

There is nothing “mysterious” about the Iraqi “insurgency.” When the troops of a foreign occupying power lay waste to Iraqi towns, kill, maim and orphan Iraqi children, break into and loot Iraqi homes, forcibly incarcerate Iraqi citizens in ghastly prisons where they are humiliated, tortured and brutalized, defame a religion which is revered by the local population, and attempt to commandeer the country's territory and resources for the needs of the foreign power rather than those of Iraqis, resistance is only to be expected.

Americans would never tolerate this kind of treatment. Why do they think Iraqis would welcome it? Americans would fight to the death to expel a foreign invader from their country. Why are they surprised when other nations do the same?

No mystery here. It’s more like “duh.” And the obvious solution to the “problem” of the insurgency is to withdraw the offending foreign troops who should never have been sent there in the first place.


Blogger Airborn Press / Gordon Long said...

Dear Jean,

I read your letter which the Times did not publish. The article you were responding to sounded so stupid that I was beginning to wonder if he was being sarcastic!

However, while I do agree that the Americans shouldn't have gone into Iraq, the question is what they should do now? Let's assume a new American President decides your troops shouldn't be there. What do you think would happen in Iraq if the Americans and British were to just drop everything and leave?

Thanks for the opportunity to comment,


10:08 AM, August 13, 2006  
Blogger Ayyam said...

Thanks Jean for your letter, I also feel that the article you were responding to is so naïve and lacks many simple facts about how insurgency was created from first place. Perhaps he is not alone to think that way. I remember, back in Feb. 2003, I had a discussion about the war with one American friend, a very Bush loving person, told me the war will take no more than few days… it will be so fast and everyone will be happy later on! I told him I don’t think so, it won’t happen because you lack the legitimacy here. Iraq didn’t have any WMD, didn’t invade America and had nothing to do with Sept. 11 tragedy, so you will automatically create very strong insurgency that could go on for years with no foreseeable end to violence. He didn’t believe me and sadly I was right. Now after all this mess, I still believe, if America wants to win the hearts and minds of people in the middle east, she could do so easily. Unfortunately, there seems to be some kind of benefit for the current American administration to see that part of the middle east boiling for years to come.

6:11 PM, August 13, 2006  
Blogger Jean said...


If the Americans and British left today, I expect the violence would continue as a result of internal forces unleashed as a result of the Anglo-American invasion, to subside eventually as Iraqis worked things out, conditions stabilized, and civil society became re-established. It will take a generation or more. An inflow of economic aid, with no strings attached (i.e. not tied to the imposition of the American neoliberal economic model), some of it the form of war reparations paid by the aggressor (ha! I know, never gonna happen, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't), would help get the society back on its feet faster. The occupation itself is a major source of the violence and destabilization; personally I suspect that a low-level civil war was part of the Bush plan for the region, to keep Iraqis weak and divided and unable to mount a united resistance against the occupier; Anglo-American black ops have engaged in deliberate provocative acts of violence (dressed up in Arab garb), and may have been behind the Samarra bombing. Certainly they have close ties to the government security forces going around terrorizing the population, and it's an odd coincidence, isn't it, that these Interior Ministry sectarian death squads began to flourish during John Negroponte's tenure as ambassador to Iraq. (Google Negroponte and Salvador option for more.)

Anyway. Yes, there will still be violence and chaos if the U.S. withdraws, but eventually there will be progress towards peace, reconstruction, economic development, stability, and dare I say it, democracy as Iraqis take control of their own future. The USA has no credibility and no useful role to play in the region and is making things much worse. Troops out, CIA out, black ops out, US media manipulation out, US economic advisors and contractors out, permanent military bases abandoned and dismantled, or converted to other purposes, US Embassy ditto. The sooner the better.

Ayyam, I wish I knew Arabic. The photos on your blog are beautiful. Wish I could read more of the content.

9:16 AM, August 15, 2006  

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