Friday, February 11, 2005

An Iraqi on mistakes in Iraq

Question: What happens when we open our ears?
Answer: We learn something.

Mistakes in Iraq? Our cause is just and therefore our fight is righteous! We don't make mistakes! No battle plan survives the first shot! We have GOD on our side!

Sound familiar? I have even said some of these things. But every now and then, a particularly good piece of writing breaks through the fog and really SAYS something important. Thus it is with America's mistakes in Iraq on Free Iraqi. (Hat tip to Chrenkoff for the link that led me there)

I am not going to set up the article. I want you to read it for yourself. It's fairly short and definitely worth the click. Near the end, you will read:
I was asked many times what are America's mistakes in Iraq and I didn't answer for many reasons. First because I'm truly too grateful to count America's mistakes, second because I didn't think this was a policy but rather a mistake out of understandable ignorance and one that would be corrected fast.
When reconciling in my own mind the mistakes we have made in Iraq, I was always willing to blame ignorance but hoping that the people of Iraq weren't expecting perfection. It is a terrible thing that mistakes during wartime will cost lives but there is no other alternative. You just have to rely on the fact that the outcome will be worth the sacrifice. I think that Ali is just saying that he thinks so too.

But then he writes:
In my mind such mistake comes from two places; first from underestimating Iraqis and thinking that the only Iraqis that are willing to cooperate are those who can be bought in different ways, even if what they were asked was for their own country's good. And second because it seems that Americans themselves have a mixed feeling about what's happening in Iraq. They think that somehow they did something wrong to Iraqis while liberating them since it meant occupying their country and thus they think it's perfectly natural that even those who cooperate with them should have hostile feelings towards America. It hurts me because it wastes so much valuable time, effort, money and most importantly lives and also because it shows that Americans don't think highly of Iraqis.
Well Ali, I, and a majority of Americans, know that the action that we took in your country was right. We did not do anything wrong to you. Saddam Hussein was the one doing something wrong and now the "insurgents" are continuing the violence.

I may not be directly involved in the fighting but I do support those that are. I have to admit though, I had been having second thoughts. You see Ali, the "anti-war" voice in the United States (and the world over) is a very loud one. I wanted to stay the course even if all Iraqis actually did hate us but there was some doubt.

Forgive me for underestimating you. If I had even a hint of lack of respect before, it is gone now. The elections gave me encouragement but your writing gives me peace.