Saturday, August 14, 2004


I have thought often of writing a little something. I suppose the fact is that I really have little time. I have on occasion fired up the laptop and actually began banging away at keys but each time I have not gotten very far.

I am well, things here have taken a helluva turn in the hyperdrive mode. I have been very busy out and about doing my little bit. I have several observations that I have made on an entire range of topics. None of which I will broach here that do not directly relate to my current topic.

I have received several emails from many of my few “faithful” readers and I appreciate all of them. I apologize that I have been remiss in responding. In all honesty I barely have time to read my personal email much less respond a lot. There are many questions that I intend to answer. Some in private and others that I will eventually answer here. I am certainly not ignoring anyone that has written. Your letters are appreciated and your questions will mostly all be answered in time. Iraq is what it is. I suppose that if you could transport yourself to some distant future where historians are able to write the real truth of all of this you might understand some of the things I understand. For now I suppose my best recommendation would be to read Rudyard Kipling. The plight of the British in the 19th century is a pretty true synopsis of the reality here in a geopolitical sense.

When I have time for deeper more meaningful thoughts my ponderings have often turned to the issue of just what constitutes a “bad person”. By bad of course I mean the sort of person that is worthy of killing and unworthy of self-determination as it pertains to the sort of government they establish for themselves.

Over the years I have often questioned just what the eternal fate of a person born in another culture and taught to practice a religion other than Christianity would be. As a Christian I am taught that there is but one way to heaven and all other paths lead to damnation. It may be arrogant of me to think that I know the mind of God but I have always wondered if there was not more to that story.

What of a good kid that grows up a Hindu. His parents are Hindu as are his grandparents, friends and neighbors. His society is based on Hindu beliefs. If he hears the message of Christianity it is most likely from a foreigner. Not many of us are likely to listen to the teachings of a foreigner if it contradicts all that we have been taught and have lived all of our lives. I have always wondered if in God’s plan of mercy there was not some measure of hope for such a person.

Do not take me wrong. I am not advocating that in each religion there is truth and that one can merely pursue an al a carte eclecticism and still go to heaven. It is just something I have wondered about.

This leads into the observations I have made here. Really many of the same observations I have made before in other lands. Beyond a doubt religion plays a key role in the cement that builds societies. In the early stages of government religion plays a role in giving legitimacy to rule. In time religion becomes the enemy of the government it once empowered. History bears this out and we can look around the world and see this to be true. More “advanced” governments turn on religion as intolerance; less “advanced” governments use religion as a support.

Realizing this to be true it is apparent that it is impossible to merely say a person is “bad” and worthy of being called enemy because they desire a government based on their religious preference. After all in a less “advanced” nation without the benefit of a couple centuries of republican government it is logical to accept that people need a religious based government. Again, history bears this out. In the United States we relished our religion until the point we collectively decided we were too “advanced” for such notions.

As I look across Iraq I do not see “good guys” and “bad guys”. I see instead a very diverse collection of groups, each seeking different goals. We, the US, try as best we might to label everyone as good or bad; with us or against us. In this we are wrong and because of this ultimately we will fail. Sure we will continue to win every battle and eventually some sort of government will survive here. We will fail to achieve a drastic change in principles and without that we will fail to change the environment.

Take for instance some of the groups struggling for their own goals. Again, whenever any of these groups diverges too far from the plan they are labeled as bad.

The Kurds: These are the best folks in Iraq. They were they only group to rise up and attempt to overthrow Saddam, with the open encouragement of Bush I. For their audacity they were starved, bombed, murdered and dislocated. Kurdish villages and towns in the south practically ceased to exist in the 1990’s. In the north the Kurds enjoyed a large degree of autonomy. They established their own security forces, rebuilt industry, governed themselves and lived as a defacto free people from 1991 until we invaded Iraq. The Kurds are moderate Islamics, they hold little animosity toward Israel, embrace free markets, capitalism and democratic republicanism. In short, the Kurds in northern Iraq are the best hope for a reasonable Muslim government in the Mid-east.

The Shia: This folks comprise about 60% of the population of Iraq. They subscribe to the most radical version of Islam, they hate Israel and the West. Iran is a Shiite republic and has been so since 1979.

The Sunni: This is of course the brand of Islam practiced by Saddam. The Sunni are a minority in Iraq, numbering just a bit more than the Kurds. The Sunni are divided into two groups; those that still support Saddam and those that support a return to the Baath party pre-Saddam. The Sunni are less fundamental in their version of Islam and tend to act more out of matter of expediency rather than religious fervor.

Then of course there are the foreign fighters. There is no doubt that these people are in Iraq. After all the US is here and it is a good place to pick a fight. The agenda of these people is pretty much what US propaganda says it is; to thwart any efforts at stabilization.

The problem with our approach to explaining the situation here is that we attempt to lump anyone and everyone that disagrees with OUR plan into the enemy category.

I have no problem at all with our fight against foreign troublemakers. They are here with a mission similar to ours. They want to influence the outcome of events. They are here picking a fight and for that they die in great numbers each week. As a very good friend puts it often; “if they are so anxious to go meet Allah, I will help arrange their travel”. These are the same sorts of troublemakers that would fly a plane into a building or strap explosives to their bodies in a crowd if they had a chance. Better to let them pick a fight here rather than back in South Carolina I say.

I do have a real problem with our view of the other groups. First there is the Kurds. They were willing to fight for their freedom and died by the thousands for it. When it was convenient for the US we supported their bid for autonomy. Now that their goals no longer match ours we demand that they give up their independent existence and join with the rest of Iraq to become a mere minority in a nation that loathes them.

We preach that we are here now to establish democracy. Of course you know I hate that term and everyone that speaks it ignorantly. Democracy in Iraq, well let’s see, the Shia outnumber everyone else so that means any democratic government will quickly turn into a Shia government and become very much like Iran. I do not think that is part of the “grand plan” so when the leaders that be speak of democracy they really do not mean “democracy”. The problem is the Shia are not stupid. They have realized this. They understand full well that the intention is to limit their influence on the eventual government. This is exactly why the formerly oppressed Shia are now rising in great numbers to fight the US as their current oppressors and occupiers.

This leaves of course the Sunni. We have gone to great strides to give the Sunni a voice in the new government to quiet their support for the Baathist. Still a large percentage of Sunni do not embrace the “grand plan”.

To a simple country boy like me the solution is rather simple. None of these groups really want to live together. There is no democratic solution that will prevent the Shia from dominating the other groups in a forced country. Why not simply let them each go their own way? The Kurds were well on their way, the Shia and Sunni live in different sections of the country. It seems too simple to let secession be an example that would work here. Of course such notions simply do not mesh well with neo-conic thought. We were stupid enough to think we could force the Balkans into peaceful living conditions when the best choice was division. We only succeeded there after the killing and genocide had changed the demographics enough to allow some cohabitation. Even still it requires a lot of “peace keepers” to ensure the killing does not resume. How foolish.

Yes I know that the neighboring countries do not want a divided Iraq. I say to heck with them. The US is going to be here for many years to come no matter what form of government arises. It would be far better to be here protecting people that were happy with the government they have rather than fighting to force people to accept something they do not want. I am not so sure that we can classify people fighting against a form of government that they do not want as “bad”. Seems a little hypocritical to me.

Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem
El Cid

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