Charlie Rose had a conversation about Iraq yesterday with Alissa Rubin, deputy bureau chief in the Baghdad bureau of The New York Times. She seemed very knowledgeable with some intuitive understanding of the kind of problems and challenged Iraqis are facing these days. The video is not loaded yet but I'm marking the place so you can watch it when it becomes available in a couple of days.
Her estimates echo the cautiously optimistic and worried reports by Michael J. Totten.
It is kind of funny that Iraq's occupation is seen as exacerbating hatred and mistrust of US. This seems the chief source of concern and lamentation by many Americans. The main question should be not the tarnished American image but the fate of the people of Iraq, if abandoned to their own devices by an impatient USA which suffers from a collective form of ADD. Another irony is of course that if, perish the thought, the Americans were to take out their forces as soon as Obama or Ron Paul assumes the presidency, the hatred and mistrust of America will merely migrate to other parts of the region. So while Iran and Syria may be prevailed upon to extend their good will towards America (whatever that "goodwill" might be, rest assured it will not involve any more inclination to stop working towards the destruction of Israel), the betrayed Kurds will become embittered and resentful, and with good cause. A bitter Kurdish people will not serve Turkish interests in the least, so we can see the levels of anti American sentiment in Turkey drop even bellow the 9% it is today.*
Responsible thinkers know what the priorities should be.
And nothing illustrates better what those priorities ought to be, than this interview on Radio 4:
Fergal Keane interviewing the director of Iraq’s National Library, Dr Saad Eskander.
Thanks to George Szirtes, of the Drenched Trots who posted a link to this interview:
* Madeleine Albright provided this statistics in an interview with Charlie Rose, following Alissa Rubin. She attributed this low level of American popularity to the situation in Iraq without even giving a nod to an altogether different explanation that might account more reasonably for this scarcity of love: The passing of the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress, insisted upon by Nancy Pelosi last year. This is widely taken by the Turks as a direct assault upon their good name and honour and we know how honour/shame cultures react to any perceived impeachment of their national reputation.
It somehow never occurs to the Albrights of this world that the esteem of Turks might not be all that worth courting, if their humongous resentment is predicated upon their own mega self denial of historical culpability.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Thursday, January 10, 2008