March 31, 2004

Iraqi Ingratitude

Fred Barnes has a good piece in the current Weekly Standard called "The Bumpy Road to Democracy in Iraq". At the end he expressed a sentiment that has occurred to me countless times in the last year.

I'd like to see one other thing in Iraq, an outbreak of gratitude for the greatest act of benevolence one country has ever done for another. A grateful Iraqi heart would be a sign of a new Iraqi attitude and a signal of sure success.

So as I view pictures today of the human scum dragging the charred bodies of murdered Americans through the streets, I try to remind myself that these barbarians are the exception and not the rule among Iraqis. And I am convinced that the "unrest" is ordered and orchestrated by the institutional enemies of Iraqi democracy, made up of largely imported Al Qaeda operatives and their local Baathist sympathisers. They are in their last gasp attempt to create enough chaos to start a civil war before governing authority passes to Iraqis on the proposed June timetable.

I refuse to believe that there is any real popular support among Iraqi citizens for the wholesale slaughter of Americans. And I know that 90% of the trouble is concentrated in a small geographic area, and among diehard Saddam loyalists. But the lack of gratitude still seems to me to be widespread. Barnes has more to say about the "attitude"..

Iraqis want help. Indeed, they demand it and are angry and frustrated when they don't get it instantly. But they appear to hate being helped.....For success to be achieved, they need to buy into the program fully--democracy, free markets, rule of law, property rights, political compromise, and patience. They need an attitude adjustment. Americans I talked to in 10 days here agree Iraqis are difficult to deal with. They're sullen and suspicious and conspiracy-minded.

That part I can understand and live with. It's the murder and dismemberment and mutilation of Americans and subsequent public celebration of same that makes my blood boil. Thirty years of brutal oppression does strange things to people, but can it really make them stupid enough to believe that the people who removed their oppressor and are now building schools, electrical plants, roads and businesses are their enemies? One more excerpt from Barnes:

Seventy years ago, Iraq's first king, Faisal I, described Iraqis this way: "There is still--and I say this with a heart full of sorrow--no Iraqi people, but an unimaginable mass of human beings devoid of any patriotic ideas, imbued with religious traditions and absurdities, prone to anarchy and perpetually ready to rise against any government whatsoever." Having been cowed by Saddam, many Iraqis seem to be making up for it by distrusting their American occupiers and hectoring them whenever the occasion arises.

After today, a little "hectoring" would look pretty good.

UPDATE: Andrew Stuttaford, at The Corner says;

I seem to recall that when the bodies of Sadaam's sons were put on display, we were told this was 'un-Islamic'. Lets see what the mullahs, the imams and the other holy men have to say about this incident.

Posted by dan at March 31, 2004 8:58 PM