Should Americans feel indignant at Iraqis for not liking us?

Ben W. writes:

I thought we had gone into Iraq for THEIR freedom. Check out these quotes. We are the invaders who caused Iraq to lose its freedom?

“I feel the same way as any Iraqi feels—I will feel my freedom and liberation when I don’t see an American stopping an Iraqi on the street,” said Awatef Jwad of Baghdad.

While many Iraqis publicly said they are glad to see Americans out of their neighborhoods…

Tuesday marked the deadline for American troops to pull out of Iraq’s towns and cities—a long-anticipated date that has been met by street festivals in Baghdad.

MET BY STREET FESTIVALS? We have been a constraint on their freedom?

See the picture of the celebrations:

“Iraqi security forces celebrate the departure of U.S. troops in Ramadi”

“The Iraqi government is holding a massive celebration to mark the redeployment as National Sovereignty Day.”

NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY DAY? Our leaving marks this?

LA replies:

But how could it be different? How could Arab Muslims possibly welcome the presence in their country of occupying infidel troops, even if, as most of them acknowledge, those troops have kept them safe and have done much to help re-build their country? No one is affectionate toward an alien on whom his life and livelihood depend; to acknowledge such dependence is to devalue oneself. (It’s the same with blacks receiving benefits from whites in America; it only makes the blacks resent us more.)

All this points to the larger truth that nothing good can come from close American involvement with Muslims, whether through a conspicuous American role in the internal affairs of a Muslim society, or though the large-scale presence of Muslims in our society. Muslims are commanded by their god not to be friendly with us. So what do we expect from them—affection and gratitude?

However, having said that, I am still surprised and offended that Prime Minister Maliki himself spoke of the U.S. withdrawal as a “victory” for Iraq, as though Iraq had driven the Americans out, when in fact the Americans have made Maliki’s own government possible. But Maliki’s stunning ungraciousness only proves my point, doesn’t it? Muslims cannot be friends with us. It is as impossible as the lion lying down with the lamb.

You write:

“We are the invaders who caused Iraq to lose its freedom?”

You seem to forget that we did invade Iraq, and that our invasion and occupation, by destroying the only existing order in Iraq and not replacing it with another, propelled that country into hell on earth. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been horribly murdered and maimed in the largest terror campaign in history, a terror campaign that was sparked into being and, for three years and nine months, longer than our involvement in World War II, given virtually free rein by the U.S. occupation. Yes, we—at long last, and probably only temporarily—helped reduce the terrorism (which has now returned). But our congratulations of ourselves over this achievement misses the point that there were no terrorists in Iraq prior to our invasion. We were the ones who opened the doors of that country to terrorism. Even if many Iraqis are happy not to be living under Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, do you expect them to feel grateful to us for the continuing mass horror that was a direct result of our invasion and occupation of their country?

LA continues:

Relevant to this discussion, and expressing the feelings of Ben and many Americans about the Iraqis’ ingratitude toward us after we gave them their freedom, is this verse from Bob Dylan’s 1967 song, “Tears of Rage”:

We carried you in our arms
On Independence Day
And now you’d throw us all aside
And put us on our way.

- end of initial entry -

James P. writes:

Gratitude might be appropriate if we invaded Iraq for the sole purpose of liberating the Iraqi people, which of course we did not do. Even if we had done so, the practical result of the “liberation” was, as you say, immense suffering, death, and destruction, and any initial gratitude would evaporate very quickly under those circumstances.

LA replies:
Thanks for adding that point. Of course it is not correct to say that we went into Iraq “for their freedom.” Their freedom was secondary to our main (ostensible) purpose, which was our own defense. Later, of course, their freedom become our entire justification for our being there.

Mark P. writes:

I have no problem with American troops leaving Iraq. All I saw there was an American-underwritten welfare state and security service provided to the benefit of the Iraqi people. Now, with our presence gone, they can all go back to battling each other to fill a power vacuum until another Saddam Hussein comes to power.

A reader writes:

Remember, they were going to throw rose-petals in 2003 as we marched in? We were just off by half a decade and a preposition.

LA replies:


Bill Carptenter writes:

You are right. We may be indignant but not surprised. I would like to believe this is the beginning of the implementation of Separationism, but this Administration will not move to limit Moslem immigration, and will probably admit refugees from the chaos its abandonment of the battlefield will create.

Peter H. writes:

I certainly agree with most of your analysis. But we should also remember that the Iraqi leadership, at least according to several Bush statements over the last several years in response to people asking why we weren’t leaving Iraq (and I’ll assume he was telling the truth), continued to request the presence of American troups to help with security. It’s dishonest and laughable for Maliki now to be claiming victory over an American “occupier.”

Having said that, it’s ridiculous for us to have been involved in the internal workings of this Muslim country for as long as we have, for all the reasons you’ve mentioned.

Paul K. writes:

Speaking of Iraqis celebrating our withdrawal, I am reminded of this widely circulated video showing an interaction between a U.S. Marine and an Iraqi at a checkpoint. It was considered quite funny to see the Marine joke with a seemingly uncomprehending Iraqi about insurgents. When I saw it, all I could think of was how humiliating it must be to have to answer to foreign troops in your own country, however good-natured and well-intentioned they may be.

Kidist Paulos Asrat writes:

No, it reminds me of the awful Somali incident, and the American soldier dragged around the streets of Mogadishu in furious revenge. There is a global hatred (I will use that word) for America, and I think it lies simply in envy.

But I am sorry to say you are sounding a little like the anti-war crowd, who say “never any war” and who don’t come up with anything better.

But, I think you already have. Your previous ideas, quick, retaliatory military interjections to stop the likes of the Iranians’ nuclear development, or the Somali pirates jihadi terrorism in international waters, and many more such world-wide incidents, is the answer.

America at its best—that is, not when hijacked by Bush-like pseudo-Christian do-gooders—does indeed safeguard the world. Of course, the big question is how to bring that spirit back after what happened in Iraq.

LA replies:

But of course I’ve never said “never any war.” I’ve said we should not occupy long-term or involve ourselves in the internal workings of a Muslim country for the purpose of reforming that country.

Kidist replies:

You wrote:

“But of course I’ve never said ‘never any war.’ I’ve said we should not occupy long-term or involve ourselves in the internal workings of a Muslim country for the purpose of reforming that country.”

Yes, I think regular VFR readers understand that. It is the difficult life of contrarian conservatives that at times we might be giving all those “other sides” grist for their mills. It seems that we have to keep repeating our original ideas so that people won’t think we’re capitulating on our principles.

Robert B. writes:

No—consider it a lesson learned and why we should stick to our own business—the way the Founding Fathers intended.

LA replies:

I argued a few years ago that the lost lives of U.S. servicemen in Iraq could be seen as not in vain but as serving a positive purpose after all—teaching us a lesson that we had to learn and will never forget, a lesson that may greatly help our country and save many more lives in the future.

Paul K. writes:

You wrote, ” … Iraq could be seen as not in vain but as serving a positive purpose after all—teaching us a lesson that we had to learn and will never forget, a lesson that may greatly help our country and save many more lives in the future.”

Unfortunately, that lesson seems to require a refresher course every generation, at least for some of our leaders. Some, like Colin Powell, learned it from Vietnam. I think the Powell Doctrine, a list of questions, all of which have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States, is well considered—my only objection is to the last one, which I don’t think should be of primary concern.

Is a vital national security interest threatened? Do we have a clear attainable objective?

Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?

Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?

Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?

Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?

Is the action supported by the American people?

Do we have genuine broad international support?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 30, 2009 02:52 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):