PC Thinking = Disaster, This Time In Iraq


Former Iraqi dictator Saddam
Hussein

has just been sentenced to death
—by a remarkable
coincidence, just a couple of days before the U.S.
mid-term elections.

But this doesn`t seem to have
occasioned the turning-point euphoria we`ve seen several
times in the past, for example when

Saddam was captured
in

2003
or after the national elections in

January 2005
.

The reason: It`s obvious to
everyone that things are not going well in Iraq.

Iraqi death squads are shooting
vendors for selling

falafels
(because falafels are not mentioned in the

Koran
) and tennis players for wearing

shorts
(ditto).

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
Hell.

And if they really don`t like you,
they

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
denouncing
 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:

"There
was a time when many said that the cultures of

Japan
and

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
Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice
to the National Association of
Black Journalists:

"Critics of US policy are racist, says Rice"
[By
David Rennie]. An extract:

"Black
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
the

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:

"The
nation of Iraq—with its proud heritage, abundant
resources and

skilled and educated people
—is fully capable of
moving toward

democracy
and living in freedom
[Applause]."

Are Iraqis "skilled and
educated?"
The

literacy rate
in Iraq is 40.4%, according to Mr.
Bush`s own CIA.

In April 2002, popular columnist

Mark Steyn
had asserted:

"The
Iraqi people are secular, tolerant, literate, the
antithesis of those

wacky fundamentalists
in

Egypt
and

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

"This
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

April 2002
:

"Iraq?
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."

Yet

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.

There`s nothing more improper these
days than recounting a

stereotype
—even though the reason it is a

stereotype
is that it is

statistically true.

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

Borat
.

In fact, it was always plain that
Iraq would be a problem. Arabs tell this joke about
Iraqis:

A
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!

That`s from 
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
style
of

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,

Iraq
.

After Qaddafi`s Libya turns out to
be a medieval-radical hellhole, the producer, Omar, asks
his screenwriter, "What`s so bad about Iraq?"

“I
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.

"`Maybe
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.

For instance, as I pointed out in
January 2003 (in an

article
selected by Harvard`s

Steven Pinker
for his anthology 
Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004
)

that about

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
class`s

refusal to think rationally
about race and ethnic
differences had resulted in bad—in this case,
catastrophic—public policy.

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic
for


The American Conservative
.
His website

www.iSteve.blogspot.com
features his daily
blog.]