Thursday, June 16, 2005

Why Americans pee on your holy books

Dr. Black raises a topic I’ve been ruminating on.

I recently saw the movie Control Room which showed me how confusing it must be for Arabs to have the US Army come over and arrest them in the middle of the night, haul them away, pee on their holy books, and shove objects into their various body cavities. I’d like to take a moment and explain exactly why it is we are doing this.

First of all, it isn’t because anyone wants to steal your oil. That is way too blatant. The worst that we’ll do to the Iraqi economy is give you USA brand machines so that after we leave, you have to buy USA replacement parts with your oil money. So this might make you a little worse off if French (or Russian, or Japanese, or whatever) replacement parts are less expensive, but only because we are giving away the machines in the first place and buying all new French machines is too expensive. So all in all, Arabs benefit.

Second, there really wasn’t any real chance that the invasion would help Israel in any way significantly different from the way it would help Turkey or Saudi Arabia. America knew that if we were successful in making Iraq a rich stable country, all countries in the region would benefit from not having to worry about a big unstable cesspool of criminals and outlaws. However, should we fail and Iraq descends into chaos, Israel would almost certainly be harmed more then the rest of countries in the region, mostly due to its position as scapegoat.

So how do we as Americans benefit from the invasion? Well, if successful, the invasion would have created a stable country in Iraq and possibly provide a moderating influence on the region. But going in, there were many who knew we did not have a good chance at succeeding. So why did we still do it?

First, understand that it is not the entirety of the American people who wanted to go through with this invasion. The opposition’s reasons are about as varied as the reasons of the invasion’s supporters. Personally I am in the opposition because of the low chance the invasion had of turning Iraq into a rich successful country.

So who are these supporters and why did they support the war? The real impetus for the war came from a group of businesses that work to steal from the American people. Similar to the way your leaders may blame hardships on foreign businesses driving hard bargains, our leaders impose hardships on us that they justify by blaming faraway peoples. This manner of the leaders stealing not for themselves, but for the benefit of foreign thieving leaders (who then steal from the foreign people for the benefit of the native corrupt leaders) is not detected by some of the usual methods of detecting corruption, since they may blame the foreigners.

What is happening is these businesses, who are run by the same people as the people who are currently in control of our government (Bush and the Republicans) are taking money from Americans (in the form of taxes) and using some of it to help Iraq, but also keeping much for themselves, and sending much to their partners in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The reason the average American may have supported the invasion (and as I said, many did not) is that they are too busy with their everyday life to understand the complicated corruption going on. The media are partly to blame, since they could explain the situation. But they didn’t because they had a reason to go along with the war, and not inform the people of the corruption. This is because, effectively, the American people are going to pay for an expensive and exciting new show for their television networks. So they are also stealing from the American people in a way similar to Bush and his Republicans and their businesses.

None of these actors bears any particular malice for Arabs or Iraqis in particular. In fact, I suspect they have a mild wish for good things to happen to the Iraqi people since it would make further theft easier. However, even though the problem is not hatred, a possibly worse problem is the apathy of these interests. They simply don’t care if a lot of people (both American and Iraqi) die. They don’t care if Iraq succeeds. Much like Chalabi, they only care about enriching themselves, and helping or hurting others only in so much as it enriches themselves.

For similar reasons we are imprisoning random Arabs in GITMO. The corrupt interests in charge do not actually care about helping or hurting anybody, they simply do what they can to give the appearance that they are trying to help Americans (at least). Rounding up civilians within our borders that we can label terrorists is a lot easier and cheaper then actually attempting to prevent future attacks by making genuine attempts to create peace and justice. In addition, advocating for the rights of these detainees does not serve the purpose of giving the appearance of fighting terrorism. This creates the dangerous disregard for the well being of the detainees, the results of which you see in the torture scandals. This is definitely not intentional, since it does nothing to help steal more money, and in fact makes it harder. So the result is policy intended to minimize scandal only in as much as it minimizes costs.


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