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IRAQ Official U.S. Reaction Compounds the Rage


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Published in today's Los Angeles Times:

 

 

[iRAQ

Official U.S. Reaction Compounds the Rage

 

By Abbas Kadhim, Abbas Kadhim is a PhD candidate in Near Eastern studies at UC Berkeley and an Iraqi American.

 

 

BERKELEY — From the first moment of the Iraq war, President Bush and his advisors have failed to recognize that there are two Iraqs — one imagined in his postwar plan, the other real. The former was shaped by flawed intelligence, hollow Orientalists, cunning Iraqi exiles and wishful thinking. The latter remains a mystery to the U.S. occupiers.

 

After every dreadful event in Iraq, the administration's reaction reveals its dangerous attitude: It's all about the United States. Already, we have a pile of news articles and commentary on the effects the prisoner abuse scandal will have on the future of the occupation, U.S. credibility, Bush's chances for reelection and the reputation of the Army. What's missing is anything about the scandal's effect on the hearts and souls of the Iraqis. They are the ones who will carry the scars of this sad episode for generations to come.

 

The U.S.' self-absorbed angst plays well at home. But where it matters, in Iraq and in the Middle East, it only adds fuel to the raging fire. Arabs have a favorite expression for such behavior: "He slapped me and cried." The U.S. reaction to the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib has reinforced the prevailing view among Arabs that the life and dignity of an Iraqi — or any Arab, for that matter — is beside the point.

 

Equally damaging to the U.S.' standing was the spiritless language initially used by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in trying to dilute the seriousness of the misconduct. "My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe, technically, is different from torture," he told reporters after news of the scandal broke, as if this distinction would make all the difference in Arab minds. Such a technicality might impress an Army judge. But for a proud nation shocked by photos depicting the sexual abuse of its men, it represents callousness and insensitive rationalization in the face of a moral quagmire.

 

Most Iraqis feel their country has been raped twice, once by the U.S. military guards at Abu Ghraib and once by the indifference of their bosses. The recently resigned, handpicked Iraqi human rights minister was quoted as saying that he notified L. Paul Bremer III, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, in November about possible prisoner abuse, "but there was no answer." The minister was not even allowed to visit the prisons.

 

The apparent incuriosity of the top military officer in the U.S., Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, equally stands out. During his damage-control appearances on Sunday news shows last weekend, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff admitted that he hadn't read the Army's latest internal report on the abuses, claiming that it was working its way up to him. At the time, Rumsfeld said he'd read only a summary of the report. Yet both seemed at ease in theorizing about its contents.

 

U.S. officials' pretentious displays of disgust over the abuse photos have frustrated and angered Iraqis. They know that steps taken in early days of the U.S.-led occupation made it inevitable that such atrocities would occur. Most notorious was Bremer's Order No. 17, which immunized all foreign soldiers in Iraq against any local Iraqi scrutiny; practically speaking, coalition authorities recognized a complaint against a soldier only if it was filed by a fellow soldier.

 

On those rare occasions when an Iraqi's complaint is addressed, insult is often added to injury. According to the New York Times, one Iraqi man was given $5,000 in compensation for the accidental killing of his wife and three children by a U.S. missile. Iraqis say that a gallon of gas is more precious than a gallon of blood these days. Yes, Iraqis have not tasted freedom and have not practiced true democracy. But they are masters at detecting oppression and contempt.

 

Bush often patronizes Iraqis by calling them "a proud people." Yet he fails to recognize that the photos of U.S. soldiers abusing and humiliating naked Iraqis are a direct blow to the essence of their pride. There is no room for rape counseling in Iraqi culture. Cruel as it is, this is the reality of their culture, and it cannot be ignored. It is also a cruel reality that all the approximately 10,000 Iraqi detainees have been stigmatized by the shame at Abu Ghraib, no matter what these detainees claim. This helps explain why many released prisoners don't return to their neighborhoods and why many of them may join the resistance against the occupation as a means to reclaim their pride and dignity.

 

This cultural divide is the main contributor to the crisis in Iraq. Iraqis expect Americans to do no less than translate their democratic rhetoric into reality, to respect local culture and adhere to the rule of law. The Americans, in turn, expect Iraqis to show gratefulness for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the opportunity to build a democratic society.

 

But Americans and their allies must understand that Iraq is not a pragmatic society when it comes to religion, culture and sexual mores. It is never acceptable to touch a woman and then come back later to express regret or, worse, offer money. In their culture, Iraqis would accept money and a public apology for the killing of a family member. But in matters of honor — sexual assault, for example — an apology is accepted only when it comes with the head of the perpetrator. Those who are unable to pay such a price had better not commit the offense in the first place. This is why Bush's appearance on Arab TV last week was insulting and meaningless. He can never have enough money to cleanse the shame that his soldiers inflicted upon the Iraqi prisoners, and no words can do this either.

 

The magnitude of this scandal is increasing so rapidly because there are no statesmen in charge of the situation. Bush had a golden opportunity to come clean and apologize to the Iraqis, but he didn't. When he did offer an apology, he seemed to direct it to Jordan's King Abdullah II, not the Iraqi people.

 

Talking points, creative definitions and legal jargon will not heal the wounded pride of the Iraqis. The prisoner abuse crisis is too overwhelming to simply go away. Therefore, prudence cries out for doing the right thing: The administration should stop treating the scandal as a political crisis or a public relations setback.

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Guest Guest_Tajer
This helps explain why many released prisoners don't return to their neighborhoods and why many of them may join the resistance against the occupation as a means to reclaim their pride and dignity.

 

This might be very true , I heard from inside Iraq, that a lot of the "resistance" elements are thinking twice today before get captured a live. They remind me of that policy by Saddam , when he used to spread rumers about the way women get abused inside the prisons.. Those women were so mentally disturbed by these rumers "might be true or not" that they couldn't persue their normal social life.

 

There are a growing demands by Iraqis to move the control of all prisons in Iraq to be under direct controll of Iraqis.. This would only give the sufficient assurances that such thing might not be happened again.

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Guest Guest_Tajer

http://www.nahrain.com/d/news/04/05/10/nhr0510c.html

 

An article in Arabic by the known Shia writer Hamza Aljawahree..

While condeming the abuse by the US soldgers to seven Iraqi "criminals" .. He also hight light the irony of Arab media silence while a whole population of Iraq get raped and abused by Saddam regim.. At a time they are turn the world upside down for the seven Saddamies elements abuse..

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Guest_Tajer

Over the last week I got a lot of emails attached with an image showing an American soldier with two Iraqi kids smilling and holding a card board , but with different writtings on the board.. Some of them are shocking

http://electroniciraq.net/news/1444.shtml

 

Other goes "We like Sddam.... Be in the rat's hole" in arabic

I am not sure which one is the original, but this need to remind us of not to beleive any thing we get before double check, especially when come from Arab or libral westren media.. The real enymy of Iraqi freedom!

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Over the last week I got a lot of emails attached with an image showing an American soldier with two Iraqi kids smilling and holding a card board , but with different writtings on the board.. Some of them are shocking

http://electroniciraq.net/news/1444.shtml

 

Other goes "We like Sddam.... Be in the rat's hole" in arabic

I am not sure which one is the original, but this need to remind us of not to beleive any thing we get before double check, especially when come from Arab or libral westren media.. The real enymy of Iraqi freedom!

Hi Tajer,

 

I am certainly glad to see that you are on top of this story! Here is a link that gives a partial explanation:

 

http://www.snopes.com/photos/military/boudreaux.asp

 

This website shows how easy it is to do this:

 

http://www.ryano.net/iraq/

 

You can add anything you want to the sign in the picture, which is why so many different sayings on the sign have appeared recently. This feature was placed on the 'Net to show how easy it is to make fake pictures with good computer software. As I am a computer artist, I'm well aware of what can be done.

 

The way I understand the story, Lance Corporal Boudreaux, the Marine in the picture, e-mailed a copy of the original image to his mother and some copies to friends. One of his friends evidently thought it would be funny to change the words on the sign and post it on the InterNet, obviously ignorant of the kind of storm it would cause. However, Boudreaux says that the copy he sent to his mother, the original image, says, "Welcome, Marines". The image the mother received hasn't been released to the InterNet, but I see no reason to disbelieve Boudreaux's story. My father was a Marine, and that's the sort of thing a Marine would put on a sign. Marines are very proud of their military service.

 

So, while there is presently no way to prove what the sign originally said, anyone who doubts that the picture is fake can look at the faces of the two boys. Do they LOOK as if the soldier in the picture had just killed their father? No! :rolleyes:

 

Thanks again for reminding us that these things are not always real! We must always be suspicious of photographs that appear on the InterNet!

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Guest ripama
Published in today's Los Angeles Times:

 

 

[iRAQ

Official U.S. Reaction Compounds the Rage

 

By Abbas Kadhim, Abbas Kadhim is a PhD candidate in Near Eastern studies at UC Berkeley and an Iraqi American.

 

 

BERKELEY — From the first moment of the Iraq war, President Bush and his advisors have failed to recognize that there are two Iraqs — one imagined in his postwar plan, the other real. The former was shaped by flawed intelligence, hollow Orientalists, cunning Iraqi exiles and wishful thinking. The latter remains a mystery to the U.S. occupiers.

 

After every dreadful event in Iraq, the administration's reaction reveals its dangerous attitude: It's all about the United States. Already, we have a pile of news articles and commentary on the effects the prisoner abuse scandal will have on the future of the occupation, U.S. credibility, Bush's chances for reelection and the reputation of the Army. What's missing is anything about the scandal's effect on the hearts and souls of the Iraqis. They are the ones who will carry the scars of this sad episode for generations to come.

 

The U.S.' self-absorbed angst plays well at home. But where it matters, in Iraq and in the Middle East, it only adds fuel to the raging fire. Arabs have a favorite expression for such behavior: "He slapped me and cried." The U.S. reaction to the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib has reinforced the prevailing view among Arabs that the life and dignity of an Iraqi — or any Arab, for that matter — is beside the point.

 

Equally damaging to the U.S.' standing was the spiritless language initially used by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in trying to dilute the seriousness of the misconduct. "My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe, technically, is different from torture," he told reporters after news of the scandal broke, as if this distinction would make all the difference in Arab minds. Such a technicality might impress an Army judge. But for a proud nation shocked by photos depicting the sexual abuse of its men, it represents callousness and insensitive rationalization in the face of a moral quagmire.

 

Most Iraqis feel their country has been raped twice, once by the U.S. military guards at Abu Ghraib and once by the indifference of their bosses. The recently resigned, handpicked Iraqi human rights minister was quoted as saying that he notified L. Paul Bremer III, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, in November about possible prisoner abuse, "but there was no answer." The minister was not even allowed to visit the prisons.

 

The apparent incuriosity of the top military officer in the U.S., Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, equally stands out. During his damage-control appearances on Sunday news shows last weekend, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff admitted that he hadn't read the Army's latest internal report on the abuses, claiming that it was working its way up to him. At the time, Rumsfeld said he'd read only a summary of the report. Yet both seemed at ease in theorizing about its contents.

 

U.S. officials' pretentious displays of disgust over the abuse photos have frustrated and angered Iraqis. They know that steps taken in early days of the U.S.-led occupation made it inevitable that such atrocities would occur. Most notorious was Bremer's Order No. 17, which immunized all foreign soldiers in Iraq against any local Iraqi scrutiny; practically speaking, coalition authorities recognized a complaint against a soldier only if it was filed by a fellow soldier.

 

On those rare occasions when an Iraqi's complaint is addressed, insult is often added to injury. According to the New York Times, one Iraqi man was given $5,000 in compensation for the accidental killing of his wife and three children by a U.S. missile. Iraqis say that a gallon of gas is more precious than a gallon of blood these days. Yes, Iraqis have not tasted freedom and have not practiced true democracy. But they are masters at detecting oppression and contempt.

 

Bush often patronizes Iraqis by calling them "a proud people." Yet he fails to recognize that the photos of U.S. soldiers abusing and humiliating naked Iraqis are a direct blow to the essence of their pride. There is no room for rape counseling in Iraqi culture. Cruel as it is, this is the reality of their culture, and it cannot be ignored. It is also a cruel reality that all the approximately 10,000 Iraqi detainees have been stigmatized by the shame at Abu Ghraib, no matter what these detainees claim. This helps explain why many released prisoners don't return to their neighborhoods and why many of them may join the resistance against the occupation as a means to reclaim their pride and dignity.

 

This cultural divide is the main contributor to the crisis in Iraq. Iraqis expect Americans to do no less than translate their democratic rhetoric into reality, to respect local culture and adhere to the rule of law. The Americans, in turn, expect Iraqis to show gratefulness for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the opportunity to build a democratic society.

 

But Americans and their allies must understand that Iraq is not a pragmatic society when it comes to religion, culture and sexual mores. It is never acceptable to touch a woman and then come back later to express regret or, worse, offer money. In their culture, Iraqis would accept money and a public apology for the killing of a family member. But in matters of honor — sexual assault, for example — an apology is accepted only when it comes with the head of the perpetrator. Those who are unable to pay such a price had better not commit the offense in the first place. This is why Bush's appearance on Arab TV last week was insulting and meaningless. He can never have enough money to cleanse the shame that his soldiers inflicted upon the Iraqi prisoners, and no words can do this either.

 

The magnitude of this scandal is increasing so rapidly because there are no statesmen in charge of the situation. Bush had a golden opportunity to come clean and apologize to the Iraqis, but he didn't. When he did offer an apology, he seemed to direct it to Jordan's King Abdullah II, not the Iraqi people.

 

Talking points, creative definitions and legal jargon will not heal the wounded pride of the Iraqis. The prisoner abuse crisis is too overwhelming to simply go away. Therefore, prudence cries out for doing the right thing: The administration should stop treating the scandal as a political crisis or a public relations setback.

Saddam understood Iraqis better than George Bush.

 

The French understood Iraqis better than George Bush.

 

The United Nations understood Iraqis better than George Bush.

 

The Iranians understood Iraqis better than George Bush.

 

The Syrians understood Iraqis better than George Bush.

 

We Americans don't understand Iraqis like their other "friends".

 

 

Iraqis don't know Americans as much as the think they do. Even the British don't really know us. You can learn a little about America from books, TV or movies, but America is also an experience.

 

Travel across America to understand America, Talk to Americans to understand Americans. Then tell me what America and Americans want from Iraqis.

 

If you can't do any of this then I will tell you. Americans want nothing from Iraqis except for you to have what we have.

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Travel across America to understand America, Talk to Americans to understand Americans. Then tell me what America and Americans want from Iraqis.

 

If you can't do any of this then I will tell you. Americans want nothing from Iraqis except for you to have what we have.

Well said, Ripama.

 

To our Iraqi friends:

 

"Freedom" is one of the few things in life that can be shared with others without depleting our own stock. ("Love" is another.) The more people there are who are free to persue their dreams, the wealthier the society they live in becomes and the more safe and secure the entire world is.

 

And why would we care if the rest of the world is more safe? Because we don't want to see another plane flying into the Sears Tower in Chicago or the Capitol Building in Washington. Making sure countries that had once been a source of trouble become free is the only way to assure that in the long run. We have already seen that the temporary fixes offered by the UN do not work. So we took matters into our own hands.

 

You can assign all sorts of motivations to why we are in Iraq, but the simple fact is that a free Iraq will RESULT in a safer world. And it is the end result that we are most interested in :).

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Guest laith
This helps explain why many released prisoners don't return to their neighborhoods and why many of them may join the resistance against the occupation as a means to reclaim their pride and dignity.

 

This might be very true , I heard from inside Iraq, that a lot of the "resistance" elements are thinking twice today before get captured a live. They remind me of that policy by Saddam , when he used to spread rumers about the way women get abused inside the prisons.. Those women were so mentally disturbed by these rumers "might be true or not" that they couldn't persue their normal social life.

 

There are a growing demands by Iraqis to move the control of all prisons in Iraq to be under direct controll of Iraqis.. This would only give the sufficient assurances that such thing might not be happened again.

when bush decide to remove saddam and create a democratic system in Iraq

some are not happy with that.....media mentioned that removal of saddam is not good,Iraqiies cant live in democratic society.....those not want democracy in Iraq not only talk but take action, hired people from Sudan ,jordan and Yemen to kill Iraqies, american troops, keep Iraq unstable...

 

........................Democracy In Iraq Is A Must................

 

Those Bloody People will not stop us from building Democracy

 

 

LAITH

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Guest Bostonian

I am not sure which one is the original,

 

Visit the link below to know the secret

http://www.ryano.net/iraq/

 

There many other Aljezer like tools!

I'm not even sure about that picture--why pose with a blank sign?

 

The kids are definitely smiling, though. It's a lot harder to fake that.

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