Sunday, July 17, 2005

 

Pit of Despair


London Blasts

I have not written about the London Blasts. I not only wanted the dust to settle, but I also wanted to unravel my own feelings first.

Loss of life is always that… a loss, a grave loss. It is sad. The feeling of sadness is always enhanced when the loss includes innocent life. But to be honest, while following the unfolding news from London on the BBC, I did not feel shock. I did not feel the shock and repulsion that I felt on 9/11.

This has become just like any other day in Iraq. Regular news. You don’t get shocked by regular news.

I felt anger, but it was an anger of another kind.

What angered me most was that I have somehow found out that I had less compassion than I should for those people who suffered or lost their lives. Have I lost part of my humanity and capacity for compassion… or the ability to feel for the suffering of other people?

It is a loss indeed. But it is also my loss… of part of my soul.

***


The following excerpt is from an email I received from an American gentleman about that particular tragedy.

“Last week I was watching NIGHTLINE on ABC with Ted Koeppel , it was the
evening of the day of the London bombings. He had three guests. One was a former terrorist from Ireland who had served prison time for his crimes…

“… Koeppel starts by asking the former terrorist about the causes of terrorism.

“The man patiently and eloquently answers and says essentially that policies that make life difficult for a certain group of people, can create a “pit of despair”. The population of this pit grows as the dignity and needs of the group are continually ignored.”

***


The words ‘pit of despair’ kept resonating in my mind. They reminded me of something I wrote somewhere.

Satan is called Shaitan in Arabic. Another word frequently used for the Devil is “Ibleess”. I once traced that word and found that it derives from something that means "extreme sadness caused by total despair."

***



To the British:

I am sorry for your loss. But you have to be patient. This is part of the war against terror. Your government never stops telling you that they will prevail. I am telling you that they will not; not along this path.

Be patient. Be strong. It may happen again.

What happened on that Thursday in London was horrible, wasn’t it? Well, it is an almost daily occurrence in my country.

These people have found the ultimate weapon and the ultimate motivation. How can you defend yourself against people who are so bitter and angry that they are not only prepared to die in the process of killing you… but actually look forward to it? The vehicle? Faith! For these people, Faith has been effectively used to stun their own self-preservation mechanisms. Add to that the fact that there are numerous other people who are not willing to die themselves, but nevertheless equally angry to the extent that they are prepared to assist in whatever financial or logistical way that they can.

Frankly I do not see much difference between those people and the people who bomb cities full of innocent people. In fact the latter group is worse… because they are acting in that violently criminal manner from outside that ‘pit of despair’.

You cannot fight faith, anger and despair using tanks and bombs. They tend to make them stronger. Yet this is exactly what your government has been helping the present US administration to try and achieve.

You cannot fight it by spreading ‘Freedom and Democracy’ the way the US administration has been trying to in Iraq. Britain is already free and democratic.

Nothing can be done unless the soil that produces these off shoots is tackled. Favorable conditions have to be altered.

But this is all premature at the moment. Perhaps after enough death, carnage and suffering, when your own self-preservation mechanisms, not irrational fear-induced anger, are triggered and the lives of your loved ones are at stake… we can start thinking about alternative approaches.

How many lives have to be lost between now and then? How much innocent blood has to flow?

But don’t listen to me; I may have a vested interest or an ulterior motive or my judgment may be impaired by my own suffering or the suffering of my country. Listen to others, Americans and British, who have a different perspective… just in case they are right.

***



Iraq’s G4

They all had excellent excuses: defending nations and values, spreading freedom and democracy… or defending country and religion.

But the result was always the same. Over the past three decades, these different people killed many, many thousands of innocent Iraqis:

1. Saddam Hussein
2. Islamic Republic of Iran
3. United States of America
4. International terrorists

Iraq’s Gang of Four: Members of this club since 1979, 1988, 1991 and 2003 in that order. The first lured the second and the third. The third lured the fourth.

In killing innocent people in Iraq…

They all think they are right.
They all think they have that right.
They all think they have God on their side.


Comments:

Circular,

Thank you for your concern. I'm ok…. sort of.

In addition to the intolerable heat, dust, senseless violence lack of water, power etc etc etc… (even I am beginning to find the constant reference to these things rather dull and boring!) there have been other 'deterrents'.

I also have no internet connection at the moment. I had to come to the internet shop to post a couple of comments and these scattered thoughts.

Have you ever been too angry for words?

I can no longer stand any more lectures by naked emperors about the best way to dress. I no longer have the capacity to argue about those issues with sufficient calm and objectivity. All I come up with is anger and bitterness. Blogging would not be the wisest thing to do under such a mood.

I have finally reached my limit of endurance. I have had enough.

I am taking a break…
 
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Good riddance.

(From a Londoner who doesn't appreciate the load of crap I just read in your last post).
 
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What angered me most was that I have somehow found out that I had less compassion than I should for those people who suffered or lost their lives. Have I lost part of my humanity and capacity for compassion… or the ability to feel for the suffering of other people?

Some years ago I received a phone call at work from a neighbor asking me if I had left a screen off one of our windows. While she was on the phone, her husband said "I see someone in the house!" There was no one at home, thank goodness, but our house had been broken into. I told her to call the police at once. I had to wait helplessly, anxious to find out what would happen...
At that moment I undeerstood that my principles about conflict resolution, loving enemies and being a pacifist could vanish in a flash. I knew that if my children or family were at risk, I could willfully and unhesitatingly kill someone. It was an awful realization.
In some way that is what you are experiencing.
You will recover. Those with good hearts can and do recover, but only by choice. The evidence can be found in the aftermath of all wars. But you already know this to be true.
Thanks, by the way, for your help as a "translator."
 
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While watching the news on T.V. last night, something struck me as quite odd. Most of the program was devoted to the ongoing investigation of the London bombings. I sit and watch in disgust as I see new pictures and videos of suffering. I see the suffering that our friends, our allies, our fellow human beings went through on July 7th in London. Then in the 28th minute of the newscast the anchor says something to the extent of "In other news today, more than 90 Iraqi's were killed in Musayyib when a suicide bomber ignited a fuel truck across from a mosque." It just struck me as odd. Aren't those 90+ innocent people's deaths just as tragic and just as much of a waste of life as the 50+ dead in London?

Never mind the politics about why suicide bombers are blowing other people up in Iraq or London. We can argue that infinitely, and I don't care to. The bottom line is that innocent people are dying, and why do we treat some of those innocent's deaths as more tragic than others?

P.S. I mean no disrespect to any Brits here. I think what happened a week and a half ago in London is a tradgedy, I just also happen to think that what happened in Iraq yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, etc. is just as much of a tradgedy.

-Nick
 
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What has caused the "desdair" ? It is not poverty, it is not political. What? Could it be ideology and not despair? I think so.
 
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Who has killed most of the innocents ? Terrorists. Who are these "terrorists"? They are militant, jihadist, Muslims, aren't they !
 
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From Circular
Don’t know when or if you will read this, Abu, but I hope "take a break" means just that, and that you will be back eventually.
In the words of the old 1950’s song:
"I wanna be blogged by you, just you,
"Nobody else will do ..."
Just to depress you a bit further, can I play devil’s advocate for a minute?
Presumably you are aware, from my previous contributions, how much I despise the Bushies’ mendacious kleptocratic far-right, American Century mind-set that has got you into this mess. As a citizen of one of the world’s most truly free, truly fair and just societies, a real democracy rather than the crude and corrupt American attempt, I appreciate your anger at the "lectures by naked emperors about the best way to dress."
But didn’t you say once, many Blogs ago, that you made a conscious decision (in the 1980’s?) to stay in Iraq and work quietly towards a better society? I’ve always meant to ask, how realistic was that? How likely was it that the Hussein/Tikriti dictatorship could be overthrown, or would soften in time into a more benevolent and inclusive regime? Maybe from that perspective the only real hope was that it would be removed by external forces? My impression from the Iraqi Blogs is that the indignation arises mainly from the fact that the external forces turned out to be disastrous blundering idiots.
The only analogy that comes to mind is a crude one: a woman being slapped around by a cruel husband, along comes a big, perverted, clumsy, bullying kid and knocks him out. And then sits on her. And she’s going "Oof, thanks very much, could you get off me now please! Ugh. And please take your hand out of my dress ..."
He will get off eventually, for simple logistic reasons, but she’ll never be the same girl again, after his misguided attentions.
Maybe it wasn’t intended, but isn’t Iraq effectively now in it’s "Year Zero?" Whatever you hoped for, it wasn’t this, but as I’ve said before you can’t get the djinns back in the bottle. What Iraq do you realistically see in five years time? The one you hoped for when you decided to stay on? Or something new and totally unexpected? And might that just possibly be not a bad thing? To quote our hero, Donald Rumsfeld, "Freedom is messy!" The wisdom! The insight!
Moral of the story? If you are going to be "liberated," arrange for it to be done by someone who knows what they’re doing, not just by any old clapped out superpower that happens to be thrashing around.
Feeling better now, are we?
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
You need a break and so do I. In these awful times I found something that helps a little. Today, I sent a small bit of money to an Iraqi charity. I feel a little better. I think I will do something nice for a friend and I will try to be kind to a stranger. This sounds sappy, ridiculous, naive (to me also)!
Just a suggestion for those who wish to (momentarily) tune out the war.
 
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Abu Khaleel --

[abu khaleel] “Have you ever been too angry for words?

I can no longer stand any more lectures by naked emperors about the best way to dress. I no longer have the capacity to argue about those issues with sufficient calm and objectivity. All I come up with is anger and bitterness. Blogging would not be the wisest thing to do under such a mood.

I have finally reached my limit of endurance. I have had enough.”


I’m really sorry to hear this.

But I can understand. As a matter of fact, your exemplary patience has been most impressive, when dealing with all manner of clueless individuals from every side. The typewriter brigades of obvious ignoramuses telling you the “real” facts about Iraq in between pork rinds and porn make me boil over too.
I mean, just look at the genius who posted at 8:14 for an example of these shitheads.

The real problem here is that certain peoples have absolutely NO ability to put themselves in another’s shoes; even if they try, they imagine that their actions would be in accordance with what they currently believe, conveniently forgetting that if they WERE in another’s shoes, their entire cultural outlook would be different, and their expectations from the “Coalition” as well.

Simply put, many US and British (but mostly US) citizens have an incontestable image of their country as a force for good. No amount of counter-examples suffice to dispel this image. In their minds, the means justify the ends, because they have complete faith that the ‘ends’ are ‘good’. I have family in the US; I can speak from experience. So, when Iraqis resist the looting of their country, they MUST be ‘radicals’ and they MUST be ‘bad’, because everybody KNOWS (through their paradigm) the USA is the “greatest force for justice and freedom the world has ever seen” (Quoting one of these individuals.) To put it at its simplest: USA = good. Ergo, if you are against the US, you must be bad.

This is what you are up against.

As an Iraqi, even a heavily anti Saddam one, I would have an entirely different set of expectations and feelings towards the US. I would remember the first war with the US, and feel anger and shame at the defeat. I would, if I were Shii, remember the calls for rebellion and the subsequent failure of the US to support me. I would remember the crushing sanctions. Even were I completely overjoyed at the overthrow of Saddam, I would not want the US to linger too long. I mean, the casus belli (false, as they turned out) were WMD’s and Saddam. With these out of the way, what would the reason be for the US to stay?

But then, if the US DID stay, I would imagine that if Saddam could get the power back on in three months, the US could do it in three weeks. I would imagine that a country able to project that sort of firepower and military might would soon sort out the problems that plague the country. I’d imagine that businesses would flourish with sanctions gone. I’d imagine that the Iraqi bureaucracy left in place might continue functioning and that with the influx of cash from frozen accounts and oil revenues … Iraqis would soon be hired to fix things up themselves. After all, Bruno the Iraqi would reason, we have always managed before.

This clashes with the reality - Iraqi money has paid for foreign businesses to ‘rebuild’ at their own specs, time and standards; Iraqi bureaucracy dismantled and rebuilt according to foreign needs; services even worse than under Saddam – who would have thought? And when smiles at the removal of Saddam turn to frowns at continuing poverty and lawlessness, I can imagine Bruno the Iraqi getting mighty pissed off at this turn of events. Why, one could even say that these foreign types have come to stay. Their promises ring mighty hollow when compared to the solid concrete barriers I see every day.
Americans (not all Americans) on the other hand, only know of Iraq through another paradigm. They know that Iraq under Saddam was a horrific place to stay in. They know that the place is run down and chaotic. They know that it is lawless. They see it as a closed society in need of a good spring-cleaning. They KNOW that their intentions are GOOD. And so when Iraqis rebel against the magnanimous influence of the US, they simply don’t understand it. I mean, they got rid of Saddam. You OWE them, Abu Khaleel.

Well, that’s what they THINK, anyway.

I feel you have done an extremely eloquent job of trying to reach some sort of understanding between Americans and Iraqis, and at trying to understand the motives of the US. Nobody could have done better. Simply, the gap between your and their reality is too great. You know what I mean.

I think that the Bush Administration went into Iraq looking for another Germany and Japan. They thought that they could liberate these Americans in brown skins and funny clothes, and turn it into Florida. They would rebuild everything, and take Iraq firmly under their wing as a US strategic ally. There would be no resistance; the biggest violence would be the people of Iraq hanging all the Ba’athists from lamp posts. A nice pro US government would be installed, and the place would flourish.

I can almost promise you that that is what they thought.

Now, everything has turned into a pile of shit, and they simply don’t know what to do any more. They would dearly like to leave, but that means the radicals they have created / unleashed would have a new base to operate from. So now they divide and conquer, trying to turn Iraqis against each other (really, 140000 soldiers and nobody speaks Arabic? What were they thinking?) and hoping for the best. This is the “bad” America you are now witnessing. The El Salvador option.

They will try to intimidate and crush the Iraqi people into obedience. Look at what has happened to Khalid Jarrar. He was abducted and thrown into jail for speaking out against the Americans and their stooges. He is still there – six days now.

I wish I had a more encouraging post to post. Perhaps the best would simply be to thank you for one of my favourite blogs on the net and wishing you well on your break.

Let us know when you return.
 
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"An Iraqi blogger wrote me in a private e-mail: We are a problem, and if we won't make it this time while having the chance, then we better forget about Iraq for good. The biggest problem we have is our own people and how barbaric, ungrateful, self-centered, shameless and delusional we can be."

http://fayrouz.blogspot.com/2005/06/stop-whining-and-start-rebuilding.html#comments
 
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Abu Khaleel:

I hope you come back at least from time to time.

I hope you'll discuss the future of Iraq as you see it.

It seems to me that the US had two objectives in invading: Removing Iraq as a potential strategic threat to Israel for at least a generation and gaining the ability to use Iraq as a base for further actions in the Middle East when it suits them in the future.

If Iraq is headed for disintegration, then that accomplishes the first objective. If disintegrated Kurdistan accepts US bases, that accomplishes the second objective.

So with that as an intro, I have two questions for Abu Khaleel:

1 - If Iraq does disintegrate, what do you think is the best way to divide the country?

2 - Who, if anyone, is in a position to prevent Iraq from disintegrating?
 
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"Who has killed most of the innocents ? Terrorists. Who are these "terrorists"? They are militant, jihadist, Muslims, aren't they !"

No, the USA armed forces have killed way more in the last 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 100 years.

This post by abu khaleel really does show how violence begets violence, and war begets war.

And I am sick of those war-mongerers who think pacifists are naively stupid..... in light of the fact that war creates as many, if not more, problems than it solves.

I hope we find a way to live together on the planet without war one day. If we don't, we may wipe ourselves off the earth.
 
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Abu Khaleel,
We all get tired. We all lose patience with those who do not deal with the world on a more logical basis. We all become despondent at times. Do not lose hope. Do not fall into the depths of despair. Take a while, come back to us, and tell us what it REALLY is like in Iraq. We need you.
 
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The situation in Iraq is deplorable. If I did not feel that pulling out now would only worsen the situation for the whole world I would be protesting in the streets. Whatever the reasons America has come to Iraq the fact remains that we have.

It is this fatalist concept that I have been forced to accept in my own life. What has passed cannot be changed. All we can do is try to effect the future. If America pulling out of Iraq would create world peace then that would be the only alternative I would support.

We all know that at this juncture it would only strengthen the resolve of the radical groups that lend themselves to terrorist activities.

Unfortunately I beleive we have allowed a world where terrorism is to be a fact of life for a long time to come. We have grown comfortable and content in our way of life, and we will fight to defend our comforts. The same is true of Iraq, of Iran, and Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The same is true of Islam.

As long as the minority fights and the majority sits no change will be effected.

It is not government policies that need a shift it is a shift in the fundamental faith that would allow someone to die, worse, to KILL for an ideal that is no longer viable in the world.

Capitalism cannot be fought, it is a fact of life. The sooner these islamic fundamentalists realize that they could win this war if they bought stocks instead of bombs the sooner Iraq will be left in peace and the world will be allowed to continue on a path to a paved earth and humanity spreading through the stars.

Because the only alternative to that is armegedon. Perhaps the human race truely is evil. Perhaps we need to be wiped out so the earth may survive, and the universe with it.

Is this what islamic groups are fighting for? No. They only want to wipe out everyone who does not follow their system of belief.

They represent a far more bloodthirsty, barbaric future, than an American future where everyone works to support everyone else.

Eventually systems will be put in place that make it so much easier to join the system than to fight, and then Iraq will be at peace, and so will the world. Until the next revolution, which will have to come in terms the world can accept.

A revolution of principal. A revolution of words.

We all know truth when we hear it, we're just waiting for someone to speak.
 
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"They represent a far more bloodthirsty, barbaric future, than an American future where everyone works to support everyone else."-american parrot (I mean patriot)
America is the final stage of human evolution,eh?
ROFLMAO
You're such a brainless bore.
 
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Abu Khaleel wrote "Frankly I do not see much difference between those people and the people who bomb cities full of innocent people. In fact the latter group is worse… because they are acting in that violently criminal manner from outside that ‘pit of despair’."
So ture indeed. Let us also remember that every thing the British did in their colonial wars was pure terrorism too, and we still have people living today who remember the British terror very well.
Peace / Nadia
 
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Abu Khaleel & Bruno:

You may remember the discussion that Bruno and I had regarding U.S. relations with the nasty Karimov regime. Apparently, Karimov has decided to end U.S. basing rights in Uzibekistan rather than having to submitt to increasing U.S. pressure for improvement on his regime's abysmal human rights record. See the link http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4732197.stm . Perhaps, this apparent example of the U.S. placing human right concerns over military convenience can help to chear Abu Khaleel up in some small way.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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http://mslspg-experiment.blogspot.com/
 
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Mark-In-Chi-Town, actions speak lauder then words. U.S words don't mean anything anymore. By the way August 6 and August 9 will mark the 60th anniversaries of the US atomic-bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Pure terror too. I have visited Japan and I leared a lot from people there. Pure terror attack.
Peace/ Nadia
 
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Mark-in-Chi-Town
I think what might cheer Abu Kahleel up would be to see the US giving primacy to human rights concerns in any country where they decide to base large forces. Iraq for example.
Kahlid Jarrar’s recent experience with the CIA-supported Mukhabarat doesn’t seem to give much cause for optimism about the prospects for human rights in Iraq.
Nor does it exactly encourage Iraqis like Abu to continue blogging in an attempt to reach out to the world.
I hope he can find some way out of his ‘pit of despair.’ It will be our loss, the world’s loss, if he can’t.
COME BACK, ABU. ALL IS FORGIVEN!
Circular
 
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Nadia:

Your sloganeering has trivialized one of the most important issues debated in the study of modern history and ethics. As I hope you are aware, there has been enormous output of scholarship concerning the military necessity and moral propriety of the use of the atomic bomb on Japan with the concensus view being that its net effect was to save lives by avoiding a U.S. invasion of the Japanese home islands. The Wikipedia entry has a good summary of opposing views on this matter. The link is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki .

As to who's word to trust in the world, the statement that U.S. basing rights are being terminated came from the Uzibek government and has now been confirmed by U.S. sources. Further, the Financial Times reports that, "[A]nalysts believe that as relations have cooled with the US, Uzbekistan has been cementing ties with Russia and China with both countries expressing strong support for the Uzbek government's response to the May rebellion." See http://news.ft.com/cms/s/6751f306-01e8-11da-9481-00000e2511c8,dwp_uuid=d4f2ab60-c98e-11d7-81c6-0820abe49a01.html . Of course, the "May rebellion" refers to the slaughter of 750 peaceful protestors by the Karimov regime. So much for the vaunted Chinese and Russian commitments to human rights.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Mark
I’ve always found you to be a rational and objective commentator. What have you been drinking? What are you saying with this snide statement:
"So much for the vaunted Chinese and Russian commitments to human rights."
What a strange thing to say. Can you please quote me one source, in this blog or in the known universe, who has "vaunted" the Russian or Chinese commitment to human rights?
You seem to be saying, "other countries are corrupt and hypocritical, therefore my country is justified in being corrupt and hypocritical."
Do you apply the same reasoning to the people around you? Some of them are doubtless nasty and brutal. Do you therefore feel obliged to be nasty and brutal yourself?
I had expected better of you.

Circular
 
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Circ:

You misread my use of "irony and sarcasm." What I was saying (with the use of both sarcasm and irony) is that it is hypocrytical (and intellectually dishonest) for a critic of U.S. foreign policy, like Nadia, to fail to recognize when the U.S. does something that it consitent with her values, such as choosing to put pressure on Karimov instead of keeping quiet and maintaining basing rights.

In contrast to the U.S. position, the German goverment has been treading on "cat's paws" in Uzibekstan so that it can maintain access to a different Uzbek base. As the Financial Times has reported:

Begin Quote:"Berlin yesterday played down the implications for its base at Termes in southern Uzbekistan, from which it supplies its 2,200 troops serving with the Nato-backed Isaf peace-keeping mission in Afghanistan.

A defence ministry spokeswoman said co-operation between German and Uzbek authorities continued to run smoothly. "We don't have any indication that this will change in the foreseeable future."

But a government official warned that any attempt by the US administration to increase diplomatic pressure on the Uzbek regime could have repercussions on Germany's presence in the region. Should Washington decide to confront the Uzbek government over the closure of its base it would first seek the support of European nations, the official said.

"In that case we'd have to be ready for the Uzbeks taking a closer look at Termes." End Quote.

(DANGER! HEAVY SARCASM AHEAD!) So much for the vaunted German commitment to human rights.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Abu Khaleel:

You wrote: "Frankly I do not see much difference between those people and the people who bomb cities full of innocent people. In fact the latter group is worse… because they are acting in that violently criminal manner from outside that ‘pit of despair’."

I have hesitated to address this passage since you have expressed your frustration and despair. However, every time I read the passage it really bothers me.

Your quote over looks the important element of "intent" in morality, ethics and law. While both reckless killing and intentional killing are undeniably immoral, intentional killing has long been appropriately recognized in most ethical an legal systems as the more egregious offense. For example, under U.S. common law, it was traditionally the only grounds for a finding of the crime of 1st degree murder.

Terrorists often adopt the tactic of intentionally attacking innocent civilians solely for their psychological/political effects. Morally, I can't think of anything worse, whether the terrorist is lashing out from the "pit of despair" or to bring about political changes in line with fantically held political/religious beliefs.

Indiscriminate aerial bombing of civilians is also certainly morally reprehensible. If done with complete and utter reckless disregard for the lives of innocent civilians and the knowledge that they will perish, it is not too different, morally, from intentionally killing. It would be nearly morally indistinguishable if the sole purpose of the bombing is its psychological effect.

However, the amount of recklessness and, in the case of a war, the availability of alternate means of reaching a military objective (as well as that alternate mean's cost in human suffering) certainly have a bearing on the morality of aerial urban bombing. Thus, there is a far more complex moral calculus involved as is recognized by the law of war. For a good discussion of the legal (as opposed to moral) constraints on urban aerial bombing, see the following link: http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1175/MR1175.chap2.pdf .

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Circ:

You wrote: "Kahlid Jarrar’s recent experience with the CIA-supported Mukhabarat doesn’t seem to give much cause for optimism about the prospects for human rights in Iraq."

While certain CIA agents have been guilty of prisoner abuse in Iraq (See the following link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8803972/ for a particularly nasty example), there is no evidence that Khalid's interrogators had any link to the CIA or were trained or supported by the CIA. Unfortunately, as the Stanford Prison Guard Experiments have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt, a significant percentage of those in charge of prisoners will abuse their position of power, unless they are very closely supervised and scrtutinized.

Given the propensity for a significant percentage of any prison guards and interogators to abuse prisoners, I would be quite suprised, in the current atmosphere of chaos and violence in Baghdad, that all Iraqi interrogators and prison guards (particularly those that have received little training) were scrupulous in their respect for the human rights of prisoners. Accordingly, blaming the CIA for every violation of human rights standards by the Iraqi security forces seems to be quite a stretch.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Mark
I hope Abu doesn’t mind us arguing "behind his back," so to speak.
You seem to be adopting the "attack at all costs" discussion tactics of the late-lamented Charles. Translating "... the CIA-supported Mukhabarat ..." into " ... blaming the CIA for every violation of human rights standards by the Iraqi security forces ..." is exactly the sort of thing he would have done.
Not nice, and not worthy of you.
(And frankly I couldn’t see any irony in your earlier snide remark about "the vaunted Chinese and Russian commitments to human rights." The only interpretation I could draw from it was, "Anyway, the US isn’t as bad as some other countries, so there." Which is a bit childish. Surely if the US is to be THE superpower in the 21st century, it needs to lead the way in morality and honesty, as well as in brute strength, if it is to be worthy of any respect? Always assuming of course that you actually agree to remove your base.)
Jarrar wasn’t seriously abused during his detention, and we can’t know the truth of his stories about others. The worst thing about his account was the galloping ignorance and stupidity of his interrogators. If they’ve picked that up by CIA infection its bad; if it just comes naturally to them then as I said "it doesn’t seem to give much cause for optimism about the prospects for human rights in Iraq."
Just to end on a positive note, most of my reading on the subject has usually led me to the view that the atomic bombing of Japan was, in the context of the time, probably justifiable. But you seem to me to oversimplify in speaking of "the morality of aerial urban bombing ... in the case of a war." There are wars and wars, and it is perhaps doubtful whether tactics, which may have been appropriate in the mid 20th century in an incredible total war for survival between nation-states, have much relevance to a 21st police action. Or "liberation."
Circular
 
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21st century
 
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Circ:

If you didn't mean to "blame" the CIA in some way, why did you mention them?

Of course, my use of the phrase "vaunted Russian and Chinese commitment to human rights" was intended as sarcasm, since no one other than someone who is blinded by Anti-American bias, like Nadia (or perhaps a couple other utopian true believers in the perfection achieved by communist/socialist values), would believe those countries to have much of a human rights record.

I agree with you that the U.S. should lead in respect for human rights. That is why I linked to the article regarding the trial of the U.S. military personnel that killed Abed Hamed Mowhoush. There is no excuse for the type of treatment of any prisoner. Those involved and any other in the chain of commend who authorized this type of brutal behavior should be criminally prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law.

As to morality and legality of aerial urban bombing, these are contentious issues about which I confess having mixed feelings. I think that most people would agree with me that both the morality and legality of such tactics depend upon the facts of each situation with the ability to discriminate between civilian and military targets and to limit civilian death and destruction being of paramount importance.

I am not sure that I agree that the type of war, total versus limited, is a good rationale for upholding the morality and legality of the nuclear bombing of Japan during WW II. The better rationale, in my view is that, without it, unconditional surrender would have been unlikely without a massive invasion of the Japanese home islands. Without such an unconditional surrender, the Japanese military/political leadership may have remained in power and the spectre of renewed Japanese militarism would likely have haunted East Asia to this day.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Murder is an act of ignorance, not an act of faith. It is a sinful act of of cruelty, not an act of justice. No sane person can believe otherwise. Those who use their own bodies as schrapnel are not sane, they are not worthy of respect, and they are not worthy of mercy.

Pardon me if this sounds angry and undiplomatic.
 
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Murder is what all armies do. No sane person can believe otherwise. Armies are not worthy of respect, and they are not worthy of mercy.
 
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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
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Actually terrorism by radical Islam against Americans started in 1979 with the seizure of the U.S. embassy, not in 2003, as you claim.

We all make mistakes, and we all have our opinions about what is right and wrong. This doesn't change the fact that the dead are silent, and it is the winners who will write the history books explaining what happened and why it happened.

I love the way that the mental cockroaches come out of the woodwork to argue over scraps of what you've written.

I hope your country turns out OK. I'll help where I can.
 
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If you start mentioning the seizure of the US embassy in Iran in 1979, you have to mention 'October Surprise' (google) as well. Carter running for US president. Daddy Bush head of CIA. Ronaldino Reagan as the puppet on the strings, weakmind pushed into presidency. The appointment was: to break the weapon embargo against Iran, but only if Iran would NOT release the hostages before the US elections. Because then the chance was big that Carter would be elected. The Iranians agreed. Apparently. So: exactly five minutes after Reagan took the oath of office the hostages in Iran were freed. You don't want to know who really were all there, gathered at this presidential election party.
I am wondering what's next? cheerio!
ohh well: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1992_cr/h920205-october-clips.htm
 
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i only say that most of the people that comment in a negative way.. don't really have a leg to stand on.. Are they living in a war ravished country...No most of them are not...
I am glad I found your spot..
Oh and by the way yes I am adult enough to know this is your opinion.. I can decide on my own what to believe.. Just as those other should.
m
 
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I hope you are alright.
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
Please come back. I know that watching a [your] house burn down is an agony but oddly, commenting in an 'objective way' can clear the mind. I see that phenomenon in victims of disasters. At any rate, I hope you are not too angry with your readers or the dismal situation to give it another shot.
 
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I second that, Abu.
At least could you leave a comment as to your intentions?
I feel as though I have lost a friend. A wise and sincere friend, with a unique voice.
I think many others may feel the same.
Circular
 
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Friends,

I have been away in Jordan enjoying a spell of civilization, electric power, security… and cool weather.

Part of my holiday was to keep away from the internet… and the blog.

Following a refreshing 'phone chat with dear Cecil about an hour ago, I came to the internet shop to post this note. I had a look at my email box and was overwhelmed by the number of messages in it. I only managed to read through a small fraction… and was touched by the genuine concern of some of them. I had always endeavored to respond to all sincere messages, but it does not seem possible this time. Please allow me some time to put my life, home and farm into some sort of working order before writing again.

I will try to keep in touch, but I still have no mood for blogging… Circular's generous forgiveness notwithstanding!
 
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Well thank goodness he’s still around! Even if he is on holiday in Jordan - some people have all the luck. Wish I could afford a holiday!
In anticipation of your eventual return, Abu, refreshed and firing on all cylinders again, could I mention that the Iraqi experience reminds me irresistibly of the poem "Easter 1916" by the great Irish poet W.B. Yeats -particularly the last verse:
Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead.
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse --
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
Isn’t that what has happened to your country? With the generous assistance of the stupid, ignorant, arrogant, blundering, incompetent, dishonest, murderous, greedy Americans, it has indeed been "changed utterly."
Whether a "terrible beauty" will be born is another matter. Clearly America won’t "keep faith" for "all that is done and said," even if there is still some chance that they will finally simply acknowledge their mistake and just go home, and leave you to it.
Have you been hoping for too much all along? You were conquered by the New Barbarians, Bush is definitely the 21st century equivalent of Atilla the Hun - certainly in his own mind. And Atilla left chaos in his wake, didn’t he?
Far as I can see, the worst case scenario is that the Americans will end up supporting the "legitimate" Shiite Iranian-allied government in a fratricidal, genocidal civil war against the Sunni areas, conducted by rag-tag militias dressed up as an Army. (The Marines have given up any pretence that they’re not targeting civilian "sympathisers" of the insurgents.)
It’s going to get much worse before it gets better? Enjoy!
Boy do I feel for you!
Circular
 
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Abu Khaleel:

Welcome back. It is good to hear from you and know that you are safe and sound. I hope your mood will improve to the point were you become motivated to share your thoughts on the current political situation in Iraq.

I, for one, would be interested in your views on the political wrangling regarding the draft Iraqi constitution as well as the likelihood that the submitted draft will be approved in the referendum in December?

I am glad to hear you had the oppurtunity for a holiday. My own experiences have lead me to wonder whether the extra stress of preparing for and returning from a holiday significantly outweigh its benefits in providing needed relaxation. I hope that you find that the balance for your recent trip is heavily skewed to the benefit side of the scale. Best of luck reorganizing things.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Dear Abu Khaleel,

thanks be to God that you are all right!

I do hope you'll be able to keep blogging, but, please, do not take any unworthy & unnecessary risks.
The case of Khalid Jarrar had many of your readers (including me) worrying about your silence. It seems that the very right of 'free speech' the supporters of the American adventure in Iraq claim they have graciously given you do entail now the right of 'free kill', of 'free kidnapping' and of 'free torture' (nice 'Fweedom & Democwacy', ain't it?).

I would be very interested in your comments about the present situation (to all foreign observers who do not belong to the war-groupies crowd, Iraq seems to have become a hellish sectarian gangland); and about the way out from such situation, if any way out is at all possible.
But, again, do not take any risks.
 
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Well good news indeed, I had speculated that you were off to Jordan, but I never like talking about such things.
I hope you had a nice vacation. Can't wait to hear your opinion of the latest draft of the new constitution.
I don't like it.
 
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Those who have followed the tragedy of Nihad's family may be interested to know that Nihad's father has just been released (the day before yesterday) after 7.5 months of detention without trial.

Before I part with my holiday mood, I have posted a few Iraqi jokes in the 'Glimpse of Iraq' blog.

Latest jokes on the political front:

Iraqi Constitution is in a state of constipation.

[All the king's men acting as mid-wives are, so far, unsuccessful.]

Centcom: "90% of armed insurgents in Iraq are Iraqis". Brilliant!! Reminds me of an English university lecturer in the 1970's: "Exam results were average… but some were above and some were below the average"!
 
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And yet another "welcome back" from me.

I thought about you a lot, wondering if you were safe. I have read enough not to worry too much about your character or mind (hard-headed old men, you know...takes one to know one) but physical safety is another matter.

Not much time to blog this morning before going to work, but I posted a couple of your jokes.
 
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Welcome back Abu. Thanks for the jokes. I think.
"Iraqi Constitution is in a state of constipation.
[All the king's men acting as mid-wives are, so far, unsuccessful.]"
???
Maybe I'm missing the subtleties of Iraqi medicine, but I wasn't aware that midwives dealt with gastro-intestinal problems. Wrong orifice?
Perhaps you better have a few more week's holiday? Or an enema?
Circular
 
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hello abu, circ, bruno probably? well, this is not so much of a joke, but has to do with the london blasts...
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,1558066,00.html
 
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