Monday, May 10, 2004

Move Over Don...You're Fired

Move Over Don...You're Fired
Monday, May 10, 2004
5:15:00 AM CDT

10 May 2004

An old Air Force buddy sent out an email today that had an editorial cartoon titled, "The Arab Street Reacts." The frame marked March 31 shows three Arabs reading the newspaper and expressing elation at the headline, "US Contractors Ambushed, Mutilated." "Praise Allah!" and "Can I get 8X10's" are the responses. The next frame shows the same three on April 30 responding to the headline, "Iraqi POW's Abused." To which their responses are "The worst atrocity!" and "Unspeakable savagery!" (Reference COXANDFORKUM.COM)

My buddy agrees with the wording on the abuses, but wonders if the first frame is "pure caricature and reflects the sentiments of a miniscule portion of the world's people who are mentally misguided and characteristically flawed." He also questioned his niavity of this situation. I decided to respond to him. I have made some changes to the original for clarity, but my email response follows:

I don't think that you're being niave, but this view of "The Arab Streets Reacts" is more popular than even I would like to believe. AFter having lived in Iraq for the past three months now and traveled Qatar and Kuwait, I must say that dogs in the US are treated better and more humanely than most of their third country nationals (guest workers) that are brought into work in these countries in the Middle East. They have a very strange way of viewing people--especially when they are infidels (non-Muslims) who are scrubbing their toilets or protecting their sovereignty.

Second, I am very disturbed inside by the way the Arab world seems to always need someone to blame for their ills. If they want something good to happen, the say "inshala"--God willing. Their belief is that everything happens for a reason and that they can not change the future or outcome. That view changes however, when something bad happens or is instigated by them. Then, they want to assign blame to someone else. You can't believe the number of injured and wounded Iraqis in the US Hospital at CPA in downtown Baghdad being cared for on a regular basis. People whose booby traps (IED's - Improvised Explosive Devices) went off in their own hands before they were able to lay them down for our soldiers to stumble on and lose eyes and require brain surgery to remove nails and other material in these little roadside bombs.

The Arabs almost seem to use God or the US as an excuse for their own shortcomings. When God doesn't provide the outcome they want, they rabidly look to find someone else to blame for their screw-ups and bad lives. Notice how no one in the Arab world would dare to speak badly of Saddam. No matter how many of his own people he silenced or gassed, no matter what bad things he did to his own people, no Arab ever spoke badly of him (and lived). Even his own people dared not move against him. But the minute someone outside of the Arab world does try to change that, we have assumed all the blame for every problem and issue of the past generations. The Russians also felt this in Afghanistan and are still feeling it in Chechnya.

Why didn't the US plan/prevent museum looting? Why didn't the US plan for electric restoral right away? Why didn't the US provide for water and sewer problems? If the US hadn't invaded, we all would have had jobs now in Iraq (no tongues because Saddam would have cut them out!, but jobs.) The US isn't providing us with food. The insane crime rate in post war Iraq is all the fault of the US too! As long as the Arabs don't have to assume responsibility for anything themselves, they won't and don't. Where are their "Arab Brothers" volunteering to provide neccessities now? It is always much easier to blame someone - anyone for all your problems when you don't have to carry any of the burden. Then you don't look like you have failed in the eyes of God. What ever happened to "The Lord helps those that help themselves."

Now, onto the Abu Ghraib issue. There is no doubt in any of our minds that what occured was wrong. What is terribly wrong is Rush Limbaugh trying to justify, sanitize and minimize the blame of those that should be held responsible for those crimes. I did read his website this week. An article on his website carrys-on about how Iraqis in exile still living in the US actually feel like the criminals in Abu Ghraib are getting what they deserve. Pardon me, I thought that that was what a justice system was for -- or at least a war crimes commission!

At any rate, I'm sorry that there is absolutely no room for excuses in this matter. The writing was on the wall concerning these human rights abuses and certain individuals *chose* to ignore those warnings. This issue has *NO* gray area whatsoever! It is wrong, wrong, wrong and should feel wrong to everyone of us down through our bone marrow.

Our civilian population and especially our military people can not continue to create excuses for what has happened. This crime has compromised the views of peoples around the world concerning our trustworthiness, our honesty, our values and our reputation around the world. I know in my heart that I'm not exaggerating this point.

Please don't apologize or worry about being politically correct in this situation. This isn't an issue to be handled in the political arena (yet). This needs to be dealt with on the human rights front first and foremost. The people who should be admitting guilt (this requires more than "I'm sorry", cards and balloons) are busy justifying their lack of initial response to Congress and hiding behind a curtain of excuses and lies.

Thanks for letting me vent some. Ultimately, all parties will need to answer to the Big Man. But for now, that isn't going to change the events that have occured. It may however, change the entire outcome of our actions here in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other places where the US has been working to establish important strategic friendships around the world. No more excuses, Don! Fix it NOW, or get the hell outta the way.
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