Saturday, October 01, 2005

The world is watching

As the old saying goes, a cat can look at a king. So, too, does the world look at the United States. Thanks to history's most powerful military, economic and political machine to date, America does as it pleases anywhere on the planet, world public opinion be damned. I don't have any illusions that my little light can shine too brightly in a dark corner, but I keep trying to point out ways that we might do things better.

Helena Cobban and a few others continue to write about the war pictures for porn site that I noticed last month. Aside from the obvious moral implications of such a site, the manner in which officials deal with it carries serious political implications affecting public opinion in other countries. That is a matter of no consequence for U.S. politicians who know well that the only opinions which matter are those of their constituents. I still hope that some individual or group with enough character to break away from isolationist thinking will rise to the challenge of confronting what seems to be a widespread systemic infection that needs to be controlled with strong medicine.

This comment is very good. The language and spelling are awkward, but the meaning is very clear. I have the feeling that the writer, whoever he or she may be, knows well how information finds its way through a social system controlled by a tyrant. Americans are not in the habit of distinguishing between "rumors" and "mouth to mouth" information "censored by the authorities." We in America think little about such things because we have a "free press." Consequently, if we don't see it on television, we are apt to believe it's not important. Bad assumption. Very bad.

Information about real abuse in US prisons in Iraq always makes its way to the Iraqi society as a whole. Information tralvels mouth to mouth if it is censored by the authorities. This kind of information is different from rumors. Rumors travels through the general population which are unrelated to the issue. Torture information travels through those who have experienced it, especially those which are highly reagrded by their respective communites. Thus Iraqis know what kind of treatement they were subjected to. Thusreleasing these photos will only make US citizens aware fo the problem and is not addressed to the Iraqis.

The collection of images the Iraqi public has accumulated of the US tactics and behavior makes any US move very suspicious. Actually anyone who associates with the occupation becomes suspicious from a nationalist Iraqi point of view.
The vote on the constitution will show the strenght of nationalism in Iraq, especially that Sistani has not directly endorsed the constitution. I do
not think he wants to be responsible for such a historical phenomena as the division of Iraq.

Thus continued US intervention even after withdrawal will be cause for division within Iraq.The reason is that Iraqis are convinced that the US is not capable of being benovelant as a goverment. All its actions are based on its own interests. We could further state with confidence that if the US public was to vote on a proposition that would make all US intervention in Iraq solely to help rebuild Iraq even at the cost of military sacrifices and billions of dollars such a vote will fail.

Only when Iraqis are dealt with as equals, and Iraqis believe that they are equals, and capable of enforcing that elusive sovereignty, only then will US intervention have a positive influence and be accepted.

This does not sound like a terrorist to me. It sounds like someone from the street who is just expressing an opinion that happens not to be in agreement with what is happening. When we ignore the voices of opposition abroad, we do so at our peril.

This comment is important because it links two stories that I have not found clearly linked anywhere: the prison abuse story and the pictures for porn story. Together they present a very tawdry image of the military that authorities should be quick to correct rather than deny. "Correcting", of course, involves people in high places accepting responsibility. So far that seems unlikely.

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