Monday, November 13, 2006
"American values" posted by Richard SeymourThis sort of racist drivel from the New York Times is supposed to be 'antiwar' criticism. Let's sample: "It is something ordinary Iraqis say with growing intensity, even as they agree on little else. Let there be a strongman, they say, not a relentless killer like Saddam Hussein but somebody who will take the hammer to the insurgents and the death squads and the kidnappers and the criminal gangs who have banished all pretense of civility from their lives. Let him ride roughshod, if he must, they say, over the niceties of due process and human rights, indeed over the panoply of democratic institutions America has tried to implant here, if only he can bring peace." And more: "Of the many hard lessons America may take from its enterprise here, the impracticality of grafting American political values onto a society as different as Iraq’s, by measure of culture, religion and historical experience, will surely be one." And: "America’s 150,000 troops are caught in the middle, hunting killers on both sides, but finding little partnership from the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki." Finally: "The leading candidate for strongman, among secular Iraqis, at least, would be Ayad Allawi, whom the Americans named prime minister in the first post-Hussein government, in 2004."
This hateful stupidity is presumably offered as a substantive critique of the war. The war planners had high and noble ideals, intended to "graft" something called "American values" and a "panoply of democratic institutions" onto Iraq's body politic, but Iraqis are too mired in their culture and religion and history to adequately handle such delicate gifts. America, the innocent, stands between vicious warring parties, mired in the thick of it, finding no support, always amazed by the native capacity for ruthlessness. America, not at all involved with death squads and kidnappers and torturers, not at all promoting political sectarianism. And now that the US finds itself receiving "little partnership" from the man they put in power, they are considering another coup, this time to implant a "strongman" like Allawi. And, conveniently, this is what "ordinary Iraqis" desire "with growing intensity". Iraqis couldn't handle democracy - we tried to give it to them, but they keep voting in these religious weirdos (rather than Allawi whom they overwhelmingly shunned) and now they realise they shouldn't have been trusted to do any such thing, and desire only to be crushed under an iron fist sheathed in the stars n stripes. Iraqis can only aspire to a "pretense of civility", provided by an enlightened "strongman".