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"Why are they doing this to us?"

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Bolt this thought into your thinking of Iraq: US viewers have, in a month, been treated to more sustained disaster coverage of the Asian tsunami and its impact on human suffering, and have registered more empathy and action as witnessed by instantly offered donations and aid, than they have seen and acted upon in a year of Iraqi coverage. Think how differently that situation would be had we reacted to Iraq in the same manner of the tsunami.

What we have instead are widows screaming, "Why are they doing this to us?" Riverbend is a good reporter/blogger largely devoid of polemics so it all the more telling that a moderate, as yet unradicalized Iraqi can accept the possibility of US use of CW:

The situation in Falloojeh is worse than anyone can possibly describe. It has turned into one of those cities you see in your darkest nightmares- broken streets strewn with corpses, crumbling houses and fallen mosques... The worst part is that for the last couple of weeks we've been hearing about the use of chemical weapons inside Falloojeh by the Americans. Today we heard that the delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Health isn't being allowed into the city, for some reason.

I don't know about the chemical weapons. It's not that I think the American military is above the use of chemical weapons, it's just that I keep wondering if they'd be crazy enough to do it. I keep having flashbacks of that video they showed on tv, the mosque and all the corpses. There was one brief video that showed the same mosque a day before, strewn with many of the same bodies- but some of them were alive. In that video, there's this old man leaning against the wall and there was blood running out of his eyes- almost like he was crying tears of blood. What 'conventional' weaponry makes the eyes bleed? They say that a morgue in Baghdad has received the corpses of citizens in Falloojeh who have died under seemingly mysterious conditions.

The situation in Baghdad isn't a lot better. Electricity has been particularly bad. Our telephone has been cut off for the last week which has made communication (and blogging) particularly difficult. The phone difficulties are quite common all over Baghdad. It usually happens in an area after a fresh bombing… We spent the last week fixing up the house. [explosions] took out three of the windows on one side of the house [spent] spent two days gathering shattered glass and sticking sheets of plastic over the gaping squares that were once windows.

Driven by the convergence of NIC's Jihadist Islam implications with my own, I'd reimmersed myself in Iraqi blogs to orient myself around the sense of loss and powerlessness that ordinary Iraqis feel (not that they are all princes, mind you, but their middle is not a monster either) and a worldview singularly at odds with many US nationals who will reproach them for their 'ungratefulness.' Remembering that Arabs place an entirely different lens against US actions as opposed to their own despots (unless they are supported by the US), too many Iraqis feel that the US invasion and occupation 'liberated' them from - or the expectations of - human rights, functioning infrastructure, and entire cities in which to live.

The destruction on the ground is phenomenal, the collapse of the infrastructure nearly complete, and about 50% of Iraqis out of work. Black humor abounds. An Abu Ghraib detainee said, "The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house." Stories of "dogs eating bodies in the streets of [Fallujah] and of destroyed mosques have spread across Iraq like wildfire," thereby deepening Iraqi antipathy to the US and lifting support to the insurgents. Whatever US prison sentences and accountability meted out for Abu Ghraib have been sneered at by Iraqis. It does not matter what we think but what they think and thus how they will support what Watts Wacker calls What Comes After What Comes Next.

The failed infrastructure is seen in riverbend's "typical Iraqi Christmas wishlist":

  1. 20 liters of gasoline
  2. A cylinder of gas for cooking
  3. Kerosene for the heaters
  4. Those expensive blast-proof windows
  5. Landmine detectors
  6. Running water
  7. Thuraya satellite phones
  8. Portable diesel generators
  9. Coleman rechargeable flashlight with extra batteries
  10. Scented candles

Oh don't get me wrong- the governmental people have gasoline (they have special gas stations where there aren't all these annoying people, rubbing their hands with cold and cursing the Americans to the skies)... The Americans have gasoline. The militias get gasoline. It's the people who don't have it. We can sometimes get black-market gasoline but the liter costs around 1250 Iraqi Dinars which is almost $1- compare this to the old price of around 5 cents.

Patience is gone:

There was a time when pro-occupation Iraqis were able to say, "Let's give them a chance..." That time is over. Whenever someone says that lately, at best, they get a lot of nasty looks... often it's worse. A fight breaks out and a lot of yelling ensues... how can one condone occupation? How can one condone genocide? What about the mass graves of Falloojeh? Leaving Islam aside, how does one agree to allow the murder of fellow-Iraqis by the strongest military in the world?

To Allawi's "State of Emergency":

A state of emergency *now* - because previous to this week, we Iraqis were living in an American made Utopia

To Rumsfled's "Rule of Iraq assassins must end":

I couldn't agree more: Get out Americans.

Gordon Housworth



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