Support for Iraq’s occupation growsDialogue is the way to start [Archives:2003/693/Opinion]

December 8 2003

By Jane Novak
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

The Yemen Times has taken a noble stand by calling for dialogue and mutual understanding on the subject of the American occupation of Iraq. Cultural integration is not pretty, not easy, not fun. The clash is the engagement, the anger the drive toward unity, and on both sides, the accusations partially true. Dialogue is mutually beneficial.
Saddam may have perpetuated the myth of WMD, like the myth of the Republican Guard, to scare the world; he succeeded. After 9/11, America was heavily criticized for not being proactive in the Arab world and for support of repressive regimes. America subsequently took down the most brutal Arab dictator and still is strongly denounced. History shows the US occupation of Iraq can and probably will bring Democracy or a non-lethal government with accountable and reflective intuitions. An Islamic monarchy seems the latest idea.
As noted by James Dobbins in the Wilson Journal, US nation building has failed or succeeded depending on the level of US commitment and on a unified civil and military command: Japan, Germany, Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Haiti.
President Bush appears very committed to Iraq. Americans are committed to spending blood and billions to create a non-lethal, child-supportive Iraqi state. The American military is fully committed. Giving, not lending, unrecoverable billions, the US motivation is not to enrich the America ten trillion dollar economy. Jed Rubenfeld notes the 1999 “illegal” US intervention in Kosovo did not advance US interests but rather sought to prevent Muslim genocide.
The Iraqi people appear committed to a life without Saddam, who murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The sentiments of the Iraqis toward the US remain mixed. As the Yeman Times has noted, some Iraqi teenagers “cheer as American blood flows.” Ahmed Al-Jarallah, editor of The Arab Times, has noted that Iraqi schoolgirls are sporting shirts which say: “Iraq is not afraid of kicks by dying mules.” While a small number have participated in protests, a genuine popular Iraqi uprising against the US has not occurred.
Perhaps recognizing the consequences of an early US withdrawal, more Iraqis support the occupation now, according to Reuters:
In November 2003, 71.5% thought “the US occupation is necessary at least for a while,” compared to 42% in June. Perhaps in Baghdad, as in Riyadh, Istanbul, Bali, Gaza and New York, civilians have begun to strongly support the concept of civilian immunity in warfare and to support the War on Terror.
With the Iraqi infant mortality rate of 55 deaths per thousand and the US rate of 6.75 per thousand, perhaps Iraqis recognize that American meddling will probably result in more living babies, possibly babies with political rights and a choice of over 200 uncensored newspapers. The Iraqi police, brave heroes who voluntarily fight for their country and children, get more support and respect from the New York City Police Department than from their Arab and Muslim neighbors and brothers.
As an alternative response to support of the occupation, there is the French model: stand back and criticize as Muslims die, become a counter weight to “liberte, egalite, and fraternite.” The French Ambassador to the US, Jean David Levitte believes in “an early transfer of sovereignty” to the Iraqi people under the auspices of the UN. If French ideas are “taken on board,” France will assist in training the Iraqi Army. If not, the French will do nothing to help the Iraqi people. Because the French care so much about the Iraqis.
Strong and divergent opinions on the legitimacy, the motivation and the expected outcome of the US occupation of Iraq may result from widely different interpretations, viewpoints and backgrounds but similar values. Coming from opposite sides of the mountain, Americans want Iraqis to be free from both Saddam and the US, as do Arabs and Muslims. The question becomes what is the best path for the Iraqis to take in liberation from the US: a constitution or another suicide bombing? What is the moral path for the world and its peoples: support and investment, or criticism and neglect?