KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Sunday, June 08, 2008

If They're Different, We Must Kill Them

The Iraqi team plays in the World Soccer Cup games
(Photo of Iraqi soccer team at World Cup games from Gorilla's Guides)

Click on the photo above and look closely at those faces—joyful, eager, and focused. They could be the faces of any group of people playing in any soccer game anywhere. They're the faces of people having fun and working together.

Why, then, are we Americans shooting at them and their brothers, cousins, mothers, sisters, wives, lovers, children, and friends? Why are we occupying their country? Simply because they're Iraqis.

Would we be at war with them if they were light-skinned and had European features? Or if they were Anglicans rather than Muslims? (Did you even know that there are Iraqi Christians?) Probably not. Europeans aren't sitting on lots of oil that feeds our cars and trucks and machines. Europeans have cultures and religions that we're more familiar with and more comfortable with. We can speak many European languages or find someone who can interpret those languages for us. Yet how often do we read about the scarcity of Arabic interpreters?

It's the ancient human story: Destroy those who are unlike us, those who look different from us, those who believe a little differently from we believe.


JACK ARMY said...

You really don't understand what is going on in Iraq if you believe that we are over there just shooting Iraqis because they look different. I spent 14 months in Iraq and didn't shoot a single one of them. In fact, I ate with them, slept with them, worked and sweated with them. I taught them things, they taught me things. If Americans were there just to kill them, why didn't I kill a single one?

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I'm glad, Jack Army, that you haven't shot any Iraqis. But many, many U.S. soldiers have shot and killed Iraqis, and not just members of insurgent groups but also civilians.

But read the rest of what I wrote: Iraq has oil; many Iraqis are Muslims. Our own deluded leader has conflated Islam with al-Qaeda. Iraq was even supposed to have weapons of mass destruction (which I didn't mention in this particular post), but that was a lie to get our soldiers over there to fight for oil that we wanted. And really, if conditions were the same in any white European nation, do you really believe that the U.S. military would have been sent in to occupy the country?

And why has our military not been sent in to stop the genocide in Darfur? It's because (1) there are no massive oil reserves to be found there (that anyone knows of) and (2) the people who live there have dark skin.

libhom said...

Considering how many Iraqis have been slaughtered by the US military, I think this blog posting is on the mark. Someone reading this blog can learn what's really going on in Iraq by watching Winter Soldier Testimony.

JACK ARMY said...

Yeah, Iraq has oil, and if that was the reason for going there, why is gas topping $4 a gallon five years into the war? That doesn't make sense. And al-Qaeda has conflated itself with Islam, not our leader. Everything that I have seen or heard coming from our commander-in-chief has reinforced that point: al-qaeda has hijacked Islam and perverted it into a destructive force. Again, having lived with Muslims, I've seen with my own eyes, heard with my own ears how Iraqi Muslims believe the same thing that President Bush is telling us.

As for the WMD argument, that's not the sole reason we went to Iraq. A UN-sponsored state of belligerency already existed since 1991 and President Bush and Secretary of State Powell enumerated the several UN resolutions and cease-fire agreements that Saddam Hussein ignored or broke. It is irrefutable fact that Saddam had WMD's, the fact that he got rid of them or hid them (in other countries like Syria perhaps) doesn't change the fact that he had them, used them against Iran and the Kurds which demonstrated well enough that he would use them again if he saw a reason to. You don't think someone like that should be stopped? I do, even at the cost of a few thousand all-volunteer military lives - including myself if that's what it came to while I was there, and it nearly did.

We did occupy a "white" European nation... in fact we still have troops stationed there over 60 years after hostilities ended. And just like we are doing now, we stayed there and performed humanitarian missions in addition to security missions. I know you are educated enough to have heard of the Marshall Plan.

Why haven't we gone into Darfur? No oil? Dark skin? Do you think that it is really that simple? How about the fact that Darfur poses no security threat to the US, our allies, or to neighboring countries? We had a liberal president who sent troops into a racial/religious genocidal war and we did practically nothing to stop the fighting there. They fought around us, NATO barely participated and all we got was some troops sent home in body bags.

But, there are folks who still haven't learned that lesson and still believe we should interfere in a sovereign nation's affairs just because they don't like what is going on there or because they don't think it's right. So, why the double standard? We can't interfere in Saddam's sadistic, murderous rule of his country, but we can interfere in Darfur?

Finally, I'll address your first point: yes, many US Soldiers have shot and killed Iraqis, and I'll even concede that not all of them were combatants. Such is the nature of war. We, the members of the United States military, did not and still do not deliberately target civilians or other non-combatants. But we do target terrorists and others who fight Coalition/Iraqi security forces, aid, shelter or otherwise provide assistance to them or allow the bad guys to mingle among them in order to shield them from our forces. In the instances when innocents were caught in the crossfire, it is tragic. But I would tell you that many more Iraqis were killed by al-qaeda and its adherents than by Coalition forces. Deliberately so. Hence the name, terrorists.

Again, I strongly disagree with your racially biased view of our military and our president. He's not perfect, but he's not a racist. And if you are projecting your beliefs onto his policies... or onto me and my fellow military men and women... then you need to reevaluate how you see the world.

Maybe even spend some time around these "brown people" you think even one else despises.

Rachel said...

You wrote, "But read the rest of what I wrote: Iraq has oil; many Iraqis are Muslims"

But Sudan has oil; and many Sudanese are Muslims.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Jack, you and I have two very different worldviews and so will likely never convince each other to change how we think. But I thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Rachel, thanks for the link about Sudanese oil. Perhaps the U.S. will eventually go after that oil. And yes, many Sudanese are Muslims. That, in addition to U.S. racism, might account for the reluctance of the U.S. to help stop the genocide in Darfur.

libhom said...

I find it amazing that anyone thinks that killing over 1 million Iraqis in a war based on lies is a good thing.

JACK ARMY said...

Fabulous point, Libhom. And Saddam killed far more than a million Iraqis and Iranians...

Good thing he's dead and a budding democracy is taking his place.

Anonymous said...

Katherine, While I may not agree with all of the reasons for sending troops to Iraq there is one that I cannot disagree with. Saddam Hussein was a brutal butcher who had the blood of millions on his hands. I personally worked with a Iraqi man here in the US who fled Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war. His father urged him to leave as they were trying to conscript him into the army. He left with his fiance got married and came to the US where her family had moved to. After the end of the first gulf war there were many attempts on Saddam's life. Although he survived those it turns out this man I worked with had two brothers who had been executed by Saddam for one of the many attempts. This man also had a sister in Iraq who disappeared and was never heard from again. The best guess is that Saddam's son's kidnapped her and who knows what they did with her. One day at work two men from the US State Dept came to visit this Iraqi man at work. They cautioned him to be careful because if Saddam wanted to get him, he would even here in the US.

Anonymous said...

I also forgot to add this one. Maybe you should also post a picture of that Iraqi soccer team when Saddam's one son was in charge of it. If you can find anyone from it that is still alive. Seems he liked to torture them to death if they didn't win. Amazing what a little taste of true freedom cna do for an athlete's morale!

Anonymous said...

How refreshing to read the cogent replies to "If They're Different . . .". Instead of answering EditorMom's rants with more of the same, intelligent discussion of the issues by Jack Army and Anonymous.

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