We Shall Overcome
Iraq the Model has an interesting post which speaks volumes about the two parallel American interventions that have taken place in Iraq.
There's one rumor in Baghdad these days that has become so big and spread beyond the normal limits of rumors…
This rumor speaks of an American plot, namely one of President Bush to orchestrate a military coup in Iraq, install a Pervez Musharraf-like general as head of state with a treaty signed between the US and the general to guarantee an honorable pull out from Iraq as well as Iraq's loyalty to the US to prepare for America's exit from the country and that this coup is to be carried out by the Iraqi army under command of a Sunni general from the former army since the American administration-according the rumor-believes officers of the former army are the only ones capable of understanding and controlling the security situation in Iraq.
The implied context of this rumor is that America is so desperate to pull out at any cost from Iraq that it would be willing to essentially restore control over the country to one of Saddam's underlings in exchange. What's the psychological basis for this rumor? The battlefield situation in Iraq? No. The Iraqi perception of the political debate in the United States. Omar continues.
It seems that this rumor in particular was created by a pro; he made a long and somewhat convincing (to the less informed) story on the origin of this coup scenario; the rumor says that President Bush was advised by former national Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzenzinski to give Sunni officers a free hand in Iraq to control the security situation and according to the rumor, this meeting of Bush and Zbigniew Brzenzinski was written about in the New York Times! Of course I didn't even bother to search for such a Brzenzinski statement or NY Times report as the story in its entirety sounds illogical.
The key thing to remember is that in Iraq, not very many people read the blogs. They get their information from the MSM. They watch CNN and Al Jazeera and what the person who manufactured this rumor did was take elements long highlighted by the MSM and woven them into a fictional scenario based on a plausible perception of the political situation in the US based on those elements. And what picture emerges? That President Bush or his inevitable Democratic successor are on the verge of ordering the Last Helicopter out of Iraq.
What's not often recognized is that there are two campaigns being fought inside Iraq. The first is the obvious one waged by the US military and the diplomatic establishment. But the second has its troops too who came in on the same wave that washed away Saddam Hussein; the one that let Iraqis watch the MSM for the first time. Every battlefield result in Iraq caused by the first force is represented in parallel by the second force. The US fights the Battle of Tal Afar and alters the battlefield. Time Magazine and Al Jazeera report it and alter perception. Ding. Dong. And what Omar is talking about is based on the Dong. Omar continues:
This reflects that there's still a big chunk of the population here in the Middle East that is having a hard time believing that the change has happened, understanding democracy and throwing behind the old conspiracy theory mentalities; a tough but essential struggle for establishing a new system. What worries me a lot is hearing people in Iraq in particular and in the Middle East in general saying that this region not good enough a land for democracy and that these countries will always need dictators to put things in order and preserve security and stability; these are remarks I hear all the time and some even go as far as saying that Saddam's reign was good for Iraq.
The line that alarms Omar so much -- "hearing people in Iraq in particular and in the Middle East in general saying that this region not good enough a land for democracy and that these countries will always need dictators to put things in order and preserve security and stability; these are remarks I hear all the time and some even go as far as saying that Saddam's reign was good for Iraq" -- could have been uttered by any respectably nuanced and sophisticated non-neocon. It was the genius of the rumor mill manufacturer to attribute this idea to Brzenzinski and the NY Times. Neither may have said it, but it sounds right enough to build the rumor upon. Omar goes on:
The important point here which should be taken into consideration is that we are not forming a government but we are forming a state and a system from scratch so naturally the difficulties we'll face during each stage will be much bigger than the difficulties that would face other states that are already democratic during similar stages, say after elections. Patience and hard work are the key to victory and in the same time obstacles, violence and disputes are no excuse for quitting; just like al-Qaeda and its allies concentrate on Iraq and consider it the nucleus for their Islamic state, we and the whole world must unite to rescue Iraq and present our model of freedom and justice.
The plausibility of the rumor Omar reports is constructed precisely on the impression that a sell-out is in the works. Anyone who watches the MSM can feel a desire so strong it can almost be tasted. An a sell-out may not be a pretty phrase to describe what the Left proposes, but that is precisely what it is. And the nice thing about these kinds of sell-outs, as the older Vietnamese and Cambodians can readily attest, is that they can be accomplished with a perfectly clear conscience. The sound track on the way to the Year Zero was "We Shall Overcome". Indeed sell-outs can be consummated with every appearance of moral superiority.
Of the two interventions in Iraq, who do you think has the upper hand?