Learning from history
Posted by aogMonday, 24 March 2003 at 17:14 TrackBack Ping URL
I ran into another article of gloom and doom about the invasion of Iraq. I suspect that many of its worries are accurate because most of the Arab population shares this delusional view of history.

The article starts out with the predictable

To Washington and London, this week's attack against Iraq is part of a historical process to promote Arab peace, liberty and democracy. To most Arabs, it is a cruel reappearance of demons that have haunted them for centuries
What are these demons? It's not made clear but I suspect that they are not the real demons of oppression, civil strife, poverty, tyranny and corruption. The author seems to view all of those as better than a peaceful, prosperous liberal occupation by Evil Foreigners™ (but remember kids, it's the Americans who are xenophobic!). We have the obligatory “Zionist” reference:
Washington is seen as exacting the biggest of double standards: It musters, for the second time, an Anglo-American armada to enforce U.N. resolutions in Iraq, while applying no comparable political, economic or military clout to implement 50-year-old U.N. resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or others.
We'll skip the legal point that the resolutions against Iraq were of a different type than those against Israel and instead point out that the UN resolutions on the Middle East conflict require actions from both sides, actions which have not been forthcoming from Israel's enemies. That's ignored for the most part in the Arab world because it seems unacceptable for outsiders to place obligations on any Arab state.
Washington is further criticized for unilaterally determining which regimes to change, along with when, how, why and by whom. Many Arabs fear that a regime change in Iraq will lead to continuing instability and violence.
Unlike Iraq unilaterally determining to change the regime in Iran and Kuwait, or most of the Arab states doing so for Israel multiple times. Or the Saudi Entity funding Caliphascists with the goal of regime change across Europe, Africa and Asia.
For many Arabs, this revives historical ghosts from 1915-22, when British and French armies brazenly rearranged our region into strange- shaped countries with Euro-made power structures. [...] The consequences have been catastrophic: nearly a century of chronic wars and insurrections, unstable frontiers, underachieving and distorted economies, and the most persistent modern legacy of political autocracy anywhere on the planet.
Unlike, of course, the situation before the French and British showed up. Yep, Arabia was an oasis of peace and plenty before that, with no domination by an empire. Except the Ottomans. But they were peaceful – just ask the Armenians.
a hapless U.N. and its spirit of the rule of law expediently used, then discarded, by Washington
Unlike, say, Arab nations that can' discard the rule of law since they never had it. The US is abandoning the UN because of its unwillingness to follow its own rules and laws, brought on by the lawless of Iraq, an Arab regime.
This is the recurring historical horror show that most Arabs see as they watch the bombing of Baghdad. This terrible and haunting saga of Arab weakness, failure, vulnerability and chronic humiliation cumulatively has led to mass degradation and dehumanization that leaves most Arabs numb in disbelief. We desperately want change, reform, democracy, prosperity and modernity, but few of us believe that this will come through the barrels of Western guns. Those guns have been firing at us for centuries, and all we have is continuing failure, perhaps now to be repeated in Iraq.
As far as I can tell, those Arabs who actually want change, reform, democracy, prosperity and modernity are the ones happy about having Western guns help bring that about. Those against the invasion of Iraq seem to be precisely those against all of these things. Maybe you should ponder why that is and what it means for the likelihood of a repeat disaster. You might also consider that if the problem in Arabia is due to Western support for thugs like Saddam, why are you so unhappy about clearing that up?