PC Thinking = Disaster, This Time In Iraq
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam
has just been sentenced to death—by a remarkable
coincidence, just a couple of days before the U.S.
The reason: It`s obvious to
everyone that things are not going well in Iraq.
There weren`t any AK-47`s in the
Prophet`s time either, but consistency is not the
gunmen`s strong suit.
These guys are like the Amish from
And if they really don`t like you,
drill a hole in your head.
One unmistakable sign that the war
is lost: its architects are now turning on each other.
The people who got America into this mess are sticking
their (metaphorical) knives into each other`s backs.
Ahmad Chalabi is
blaming it all on Paul Wolfowitz. American
neoconservative advocates for the war such as Richard
Perle, Michael Ledeen,
Kenneth Adelman, and Michael Rubin are
the President and other officials as incompetents who
botched their beautiful plan.
Why are we in Iraq? There are many
reasons, almost all of them bad.
But the one that deserves
recounting is this: supporters of the war successfully
bullied many skeptics into silence by declaring that
anyone who doubted that Iraqis were ready for democracy
was a racist.
Thus in a February 2003 speech to
the American Enterprise Institute,
George W. Bush said:
was a time when many said that the cultures of
Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic
values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq
today. They are mistaken. [Applause] … It is
presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole
region of the world—or the one-fifth of humanity that is
Muslim—is somehow untouched by the most basic
aspirations of life."
Similarly, in August 2003, the
Daily Telegraph summarized a speech by then-National
Condoleezza Rice to the National Association of
"Critics of US policy are racist, says Rice" [By
David Rennie]. An extract:
Americans should stand by others seeking freedom today,
she went on, and shun the `condescending` argument that
some races or nations were not interested in or ready
for Western freedoms. `We`ve heard that argument before.
And we, more than any, as a people, should be ready to
reject it,` she said. `That view was wrong in 1963 in
Birmingham and it is wrong in 2003 in Baghdad and in the
rest of the Middle East.`"
So supporters of the invasion
intimidated onlookers by insinuating that unbelievers in
bright promise of Arab democracy were despicable
bigots. Then they went on to spout even more bizarre
nonsense about how
Iraqis, a population notorious
even among Arabs for their self-destructive
homicidal lunacy, were practically
New Hampshireites in their readiness for self-rule.
For example, Mr. Bush told the AEI:
Are Iraqis "skilled and
literacy rate in Iraq is 40.4%, according to Mr.
Bush`s own CIA.
In April 2002, popular columnist
Mark Steyn had asserted:
Iraqi people are secular, tolerant, literate, the
antithesis of those
wacky fundamentalists in
Saudi Arabia. … Once you`ve got rid of the ruling
gang, it`s the West`s best shot at incubating a
reasonably non-insane polity." [
Say Goodbye, Yasser Arafat, Spectator,
April 6, 2002]
Likewise, the Wall Street
Journal Editorial Board called that month for
conquering Iraq on the grounds that
is why we believe the best chance for peace in
Palestine, and for stability throughout the entire
Middle East, goes through Baghdad. Iraq is a serious
country with a proud history …"[Arabs
and Democracy| Forget peace for now. Liberate
Iraq and all else will follow, April 3, 2002]
To anyone who knew anything about
Iraq, a ludicrous country with a shameful history, this
was obvious tripe.
As I responded in
A proud history? … Iraq has a proud history of
backstabbing and cowardice… This delusion could have
disastrous consequences after an American invasion. … We
could easily shatter Iraq into
three or more pieces, but if we invade with the
notion of making Iraq into a model nation-state, we`re
going need more than all the king`s horses and all the
king`s men to put Humpty-Dumpty together again."
political correctness is so pervasive in this
country that offering an
uncharitable evaluation of a people is normally
just not done—even when it could help save
America from starting a disastrous war.
Let me qualify that observation.
You aren`t supposed to speak seriously about any
group`s unfortunate tendencies. But if you are a
professional comedian, it is perfectly okay
to joke about them all you want, even if you are just
making up slanders
out of whole cloth, as Sacha Baron Cohen does about
the unfortunate Kazakhstanis in his new hit movie
In fact, it was always plain that
Iraq would be a problem. Arabs tell this joke about
scorpion asks a frog to let him ride on his back across
the Euphrates. The frog says, Are you mad? A scorpion`s
sting can kill me. But the scorpion answers, I can`t
sting you though, don`t you see? Because then I`d drown.
So the frog takes the scorpion on his back and
frog-swims out into the Euphrates, but halfway across
the scorpion`s habits get the better of him and he
stings the frog anyway. As the frog dies from the
scorpion`s poison he turns around and asks him, Why? Oh,
why? And as the scorpion goes down drowning, he answers,
Because it`s Iraq!
The Marrakesh One-Two,
a wonderful 1983 novel by the late
Richard Grenier, the distinguished
film critic for Commentary (and the
inspiration for my own fact-based
movie reviewing). It is a
picaresque tale about a Hollywood movie crew trying
to shoot a film similar to 1976`s
Muhammad, Messenger of God, which was made by
horror movie producer
Moustapha Akkad…who was
blown up by terrorists while attending a wedding at
a Jordanian hotel in 2005.
Grenier`s Hollywood filmmakers
stagger from one terrible Middle Eastern country to
another looking for oil money to fund their biopic film
in which Muhammad is never seen on camera due to the
Islamic ban on idolatry. Always looming over their
wanderings is the fear that they`ll eventually have to
go to that ultimate awful place,
After Qaddafi`s Libya turns out to
be a medieval-radical hellhole, the producer, Omar, asks
his screenwriter, "What`s so bad about Iraq?"
reminded Omar of the Kassem coup, and how after
machine-gunning the royal family, the Iraqis had hitched
Regent Abd al-Ilah to the back of a truck and
dragged him through the streets of Baghdad, with people
in the crowd screaming in delight and dashing up and
cutting off pieces of Abd al-Ilah for souvenirs, first
his sexual organs, then both his arms and legs … The
coup leaders laid the corpses out in the center of the
city and everybody joyously stamped on them and ran
automobiles back and forth over them for hours. Then
Abd al-Ilah`s body without the arms and legs was
hung from a balcony and the crowd went wild and stabbed
it with pointed sticks, and people climbed up and
whittled off slivers to celebrate.
he wasn`t popular,` said Omar.”
I don`t know why Iraqis are so
peculiarly bloody awful to each other. But there were
formidable reasons why they were always unlikely to form
a responsible government.
half of all Iraqi marriages are between
first or second cousins. While inbreeding causes
genetic problems, its
worst consequence is socio-political: it makes
nepotism into a moral duty. The more ways you are
related to your relatives, the more that
loyalty to your extended family overshadows loyalty
to your state.
Imagine how hard it would be, if
you were a government official, to resist giving a
sinecure to your nephew if he were also your son-in-law.
The bottom line: in the words of
science fiction writer
Philip K. Dick:
"Reality is that which, when you
stop believing in it, doesn`t go away."
By implying that doubters were
racists, war supporters bludgeoned skeptics and avoided
explaining to the public the reality of Iraq.
Not for the first time, our public
refusal to think rationally about race and ethnic
differences had resulted in bad—in this case,