"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Friday, December 10, 2004

Hearts and Minds

This is a bit dated, but I just became aware of this letter (hat tip to my Blogspot colleagues Omar, Ali, and Mohammed at Iraq The Model, who by the way reportedly met President Bush the other day). Your browser may not be able to display the Arabic characters, and you may not even be able to read Arabic anyway, so here's a translation of portions of the letter:

In the name of God,

Sir, President George W. Bush, President of the United
States of America.

On behalf of the families of the victims of the mass graves, on behalf of the martyrs of “Halabja” and “Anfal” and on behalf of all the Iraqis that you liberated from dictatorship and oppression; we have prayed for you and now we want to send you our congratulations on being reelected as a president of the United States.

Mr. President, we’d love to congratulate you and the people of the United States on the beginning of a new phase of democracy, freedom and prosperity and we wish you and the American people the best, as they have led the liberation of Iraq and sacrificed their sons and daughters for the freedom of the Iraqis; the historical achievement that the United States has accomplished together with the other liberating countries. The United States and the coalition, among all other nations were the ones who recognized the suffering of the Iraqi people and saved them from a regime that was more lethal and more destructive than any weapons of mass destruction. A regime that murdered, slaughtered and enslaved Iraqis for long, dark decades, denied them their freedom and their right to live a decent life until God inspired you and helped you to rescue us, liberate our country and put us on the road of freedom and democracy.

Mr. President, we--the Iraqis--are on your side and we’ll keep supporting and blessing your efforts in eradicating terrorism inside and outside Iraq and all those who carried weapons against the liberating coalition forces and the new Iraqi police, hunting down the criminals who murder innocent civilians, whether Iraqi or American civilians...

We’re also determined to establish a strategic, permanent relationship with our friends; the government and people of the United States to whom we hold the utmost feelings of gratitude, love and friendship for what they have given us and what they’re still offering. We will be united on the road of freedom and peace and we will always be supportive to all the efforts of America in bringing peace to the region.

In the end, we ask God to guide you and bless all your efforts to do the best for humanity as a whole. All the glory to the American and Iraqi martyrs. Long live America, long live Iraq, free and allied nations.

The letter so far has been signed by over a thousand Iraqis from all walks of life.

Now, let's go back to April of this year, when Michael Moore wrote:
The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow--and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?

...There is a lot of talk amongst Bush's opponents that we should turn this war over to the United Nations. Why should the other countries of this world, countries who tried to talk us out of this folly, now have to clean up our mess? I oppose the U.N. or anyone else risking the lives of their citizens to extract us from our debacle. I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe--just maybe--God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.

Until then, enjoy the "pacification" of Falluja, the "containment" of Sadr City, and the next Tet Offensive--oops, I mean, "terrorist attack by a small group of Baathist loyalists" (Hahaha! I love writing those words, Baathist loyalists, it makes me sound so Peter Jennings!)--followed by a "news conference" where we will be told that we must "stay the course" because we are "winning the hearts and minds of the people."
Consider the following:
  • Moore seems quite gleeful in his belief the U.S. will be defeated in Iraq.
  • In equating the insurgents with the Minutemen of the American Revolution, Moore is insulting both the Iraqis and the Minutemen. He is making the outrageous assertion that the average Iraqi supports the murder of U.S. servicemen and Iraqi citizens, and the beheading of charity workers and reconstruction contractors. And he defiles the memory of brave American militiamen whose honor would never have permitted them to deliberately target innocents.
  • Moore is opposed to the idea of other countries "clean[ing] up our mess." Well, there are some of us who believe that our effort in Iraq constitutes cleaning up the mess of others. Like the UN, whose corrupt Oil-For-Food program enabled Saddam to negate the intended effects of sanctions. Like Russia, France, and Germany, who were Saddam's primary sources of arms.
  • He suggests that we may only be forgiven by "God and the Iraqi people" when "enough blood has been let" from the "children" [servicemen] of "the majority of Americans" who "supported this war." This is repugnant. It is also nonsensical. What about the parents who did not support the war? Will the blood of their children not be counted in the volumes required for forgiveness? It is also condescending. Moore consistently refers to servicemen as "children". Except when he's accusing them of war crimes.
  • Moore uses ironic quotes when he refers to the "'pacification' of Falluja." Since the time that this brilliant, insightful, and prescient analysis was written, Falluja has in fact been pacified. No quotes.