Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Iraq's New Surge: Gay Killings
September 14, 2009 5:31 PM   Subscribe

The lynching of gays in Iraq is on the rise, according to ambassador Christopher Hill's testimony before the house today."Hamizi, a computer science graduate, is at the cutting edge of a new wave of violence against gay men in Iraq. Made up of hardline extremists, Hamizi's group and others like it are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 130 gay Iraqi men since the beginning of the year alone." WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE, POSSIBLY NSFW
posted by Acromion (53 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think your first link was supposed to go here, which is the first page of the article.
posted by alona at 5:34 PM on September 14, 2009


.

I have no words. What can we do? Seriously. I can't just sit here and look at this. I need to know what I can do.
posted by alona at 5:42 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I need to know what I can do.

Write your Congressmen and women about what the US military is actively not doing to protect targeted minorities in Iraq.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:52 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have no words. What can we do? Seriously. I can't just sit here and look at this. I need to know what I can do.

Yeah, seriously this is fucking awful. Just, disgustingly hateful. It makes me feel sick inside.
posted by dubitable at 5:52 PM on September 14, 2009


I realize it's totally the wrong reaction, one that's entirely emotional and stupid, but when I hear things like this, I just start going, "Y'know what, fuck you, Iraqis. That's why you need someone else to come in and run your fucking country, you fucking barbaric retards."

Obviously, we don't do such a great job with making sure that gays here get the full rights they deserve, and occasionally some of them get killed for being gay and the killers escape justice. But seriously? Promoting tolerance is hard and takes a long, long time to work—it's even complicated to think about. Imagining force solving everything? Easy as pie, and a lot more emotionally satisfying.
posted by klangklangston at 5:55 PM on September 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Once upon a time Iraq was a modern country.
posted by hortense at 5:57 PM on September 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


I wonder if Hamizi learned much about Alan Turing in his computer science classes.
posted by TedW at 6:07 PM on September 14, 2009 [12 favorites]


Hey, nice work destabilizing one of the few secular nations in the Middle East and helping eliminate one of the major checks on fundamentalist shit like this. Good work, America.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:08 PM on September 14, 2009 [17 favorites]


"That's why you need someone else to come in and run your fucking country, you fucking barbaric retards"

Launching an illegal war to "come in and run their fucking country" is precisely what has led them to this pass. Or has that part passed into the mists of time for you already?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:18 PM on September 14, 2009 [10 favorites]


In fact to quote TFA:

"Homosexuality was not criminalised under Saddam Hussein – indeed Iraq in the 1960s and 1970s was known for its relatively liberated gay scene. Violence against gays started in the aftermath of the invasion in 2003."
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:19 PM on September 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


I love how some people here are getting all up in arms over these, quote, "barbaric retards" lynching gays, no doubt convieniently forgeting all the home-brand hate crimes happening in their own civilized neck of the woods.

I've not seen the NSWF pictures (I'm at work) and no doubt they're awful, but some perspective, please.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:23 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, if WE can treat OUR people poorly based on archaic bullshit from an ancient book, then I'm not so sure we have much of a leg to stand on when denigrating the Iraqis for treating THEIR people poorly based on archaic bullshit from THEIR ancient book. They're learning from us and we set a pretty piss-poor example in a lot of areas, this being a prime example. We may not be helping spread much freedom around the world, but we're getting better at spreading that good ol' American intolerance.
posted by jamstigator at 6:27 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


"They Want Us Exterminated," the Human Rights Watch report alluded to in the article
posted by kid ichorous at 6:29 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


There was an article about this earlier in the year at Iraq Oil Report which quotes one HRW analyst speculating, inter alia, that the surge in murders and abuse is part of an attempt by Shia militias to reassert control in their neighbourhoods lost during the earlier major military operations that tried to wipe them out.
posted by Abiezer at 6:30 PM on September 14, 2009


Violent conservatism of this sort is a function of various sociological parameters such as standard of living, access to liberal education, freedom of the press and a genetic/personality component. The perpetrator of these crimes is but a babe of his circumstance. The appropriate response from a foreign policy perspective is to spend trillions of dollars funding a pseudowar in the area for reasons only the elite of the elite vaguely understand while the home economy collapses like a house of cards. Only this action will inform the world about the dangers of groupthink and the import of independent rational thought, human empathy, and the social welfare maximizing prospects of a liberal democracy.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 6:35 PM on September 14, 2009


And if we're into Monday morning quarterback territory, the West should never have fostered Islamism as a counter-balance to leftist nationalism and communism in the Middle East back in the mid-twentieth century. Which is not to say it wouldn't have risen anyway given the various other resentments, but maybe local progressive forces would have stood a better chance. If modernity was the aim, we backed the wrong horse, but of course the actual goals were not so lofty.
posted by Abiezer at 6:40 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I love how some people here are getting all up in arms over these, quote, "barbaric retards" lynching gays, no doubt convieniently forgeting all the home-brand hate crimes happening in their own civilized neck of the woods.

Hey, if WE can treat OUR people poorly based on archaic bullshit from an ancient book, then I'm not so sure we have much of a leg to stand on when denigrating the Iraqis for treating THEIR people poorly based on archaic bullshit from THEIR ancient book.


There's a considerable difference of scale between "home-brand" hate crimes and what's described here, which is unchecked armed militias pounding down doors and asking "Where's your faggot son" and then ritually torturing and killing their captives unless they repent and convert to a "traditional life."

So, yes, some "perspective," please.
posted by blucevalo at 6:40 PM on September 14, 2009 [4 favorites]



I realize it's totally the wrong reaction, one that's entirely emotional and stupid, but when I hear things like this, I just start going, "Y'know what, fuck you, Iraqis. That's why you need someone else to come in and run your fucking country, you fucking barbaric retards."


Well, the problem is if you did think that, people would be pointing out what a complete moron you'd be not to have noticed that the repression, segueing into butchery, of women and gays in Iraq started after the united States came into Iraq to "run their country for them", often happening at the behest of the people the United States has decided are the Iraqi groups they wish to work with.
posted by rodgerd at 6:40 PM on September 14, 2009


Hey, if WE can treat OUR people poorly based on archaic bullshit from an ancient book

Yeah, we have our problems and should probably work on them, but at least we've gotten to the point where even a lot of the religious folks know it's not OK to assault and kill gay people.

On the other hand, we appear to have been the catalyst for this particular turn of events in Iraq, so, no, we don't have much of a moral high ground.

Homosexuality was not criminalised under Saddam Hussein – indeed Iraq in the 1960s and 1970s was known for its relatively liberated gay scene

Heheh Sodom Assein amirite?
posted by namespan at 6:42 PM on September 14, 2009


Yeah, that whole "carpet bomb them with democracy, enlightenment, and tolerance" strategy worked out so well for everyone involved. Like just about all of our other fabulous regime changes, it'll be back to the usual in a few years, some fresh new enemies, and with a trillion or two dollars spent on our side and an unknown (I'm still leaning closer to the half million mark) number of dead on theirs. Plus a fantastic opening for all kinds of tensions boil over and second-class players to make their plays for power.

It's incredibly weird if you think about it. We could have just ... handed a million dollars to every dead Iraqi and spent less, and come out of it with better results. I'm visualizing this as large bales of cash falling out of the sky and crushing random people, then bursting into flame.
posted by adipocere at 6:50 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, we have our problems and should probably work on them, but at least we've gotten to the point where even a lot of the religious folks know it's not OK to assault and kill gay people.

Exactly. Let's not equivocate. An occasional gay bashing, as awful as that is, does not equal a systematic pogrom as described here.

On the other hand, we appear to have been the catalyst for this particular turn of events in Iraq, so, no, we don't have much of a moral high ground.

Yeah sad but true. When you torture innocents, repeatedly bomb civilians, and make a mess of your country in general, you can't expect much of a warm reception to American values of peace and tolerance.
posted by Acromion at 6:53 PM on September 14, 2009


Some friend sent me something about approximately the same thing in Brazil - hate crimes against gays in Brazilian slums. The difference is that in Brazil it's less about religion and more about Clockwork Orange-style violence as entertainment. And this is in Rio (large metropolis, fairly sexually liberal, large GLBT community and fairly GLBT friendly on the upper class regions). I guess the comparison would be if LA gangs in the poorer/more gang-ridden districts just started systemically beating up/terrorizing/killing gays just because (actually I wouldn't be surprised if this was actually happening as well).

Depressing.
posted by qvantamon at 7:07 PM on September 14, 2009


"Launching an illegal war to "come in and run their fucking country" is precisely what has led them to this pass."

Yeah, these ideas didn't exist until America came along.

Look, the war was illegal and Wrong. But ruin their country? Hussein was a dictator. He engaged in genocide. During the 70's and 80's Iraq was too focused on killing Jews and Iranians to worry about homosexuals. After that it was the Shi'a and the Kurds. Then one of the most destructive and costly wars (in blood, money, resources) in the 20th century.
Pretty sure we can blame policy for a lot of that. But the conflict in Islam, the schism in the Arab world, all that, goes back a long way.
Not to mention those wonderful religious concepts that lead to, among other things, homosexuals being persecuted and killed.

So I slightly disagree with you in that I don't think this is the U.S.' fault, at least on that level. That region was strife filled long before the U.S was even formed and stability under Hussein was a temporary break in the series.

That said, if they're the irrational totalitarian theocratic nuts for persecuting homosexuals, fighting with each other, bombing their enemies in costly pre-emptive wars that result in little or no change of any kind, then as the democratic and reasonable folks - yeah, what's our excuse?
We're not hunting and killing homosexuals, no. But the war itself, all the other damage, and indeed, the policies, are something we can be held accountable for.
I do think if we walked more what we were talking, we'd make better inroads.
As it is, we screwed even the semblance of moral high ground that we had.
U.S.: "Hey! China! Stop torturing people. It's wrong and the international community won't..."
China: Yeah, qu nide. Go wǔdǎyī in Gitmo.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:09 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a considerable difference of scale between "home-brand" hate crimes and what's described here, which is unchecked armed militias pounding down doors and asking "Where's your faggot son" and then ritually torturing and killing their captives unless they repent and convert to a "traditional life."

I do not doubt for a moment that there are many places in the global West that would, were they subjected to 1/10th the stress, go feral — and, yes, we would see unchecked armed religious militias pounding down doors and cleansing the evil from their city/county/state.

There is an uncivilized 20% batshitinsane who rein in their seething hatred only because there is a threat of consequence; and, hell, even that hasn't proven quite enough in our own nations.

Religious fundamentalism is a dire threat in all societies. It is just is not compatible with a varied culture. It's as true in Iraq as it is everywhere else.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:39 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey, nice work destabilizing one of the few secular nations in the Middle East and helping eliminate one of the major checks on fundamentalist shit like this. Good work, America.

A lot of people don't realize this. A female Iraqi friend told me that, in the 1970s, under Saddam Hussein, women could wear miniskirts, but if a woman did that in Iraq now, she'd be putting her life at risk.
posted by jonp72 at 7:41 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Smedleyman: Saddam Hussein was an evil ruler and committed heinous crimes -- no doubt about that. But I don't see why it's controversial to blame the US for things that changed for the worse after the war, especially when we know that the Bush clique bypassed all the people and planning who might have made it turn out so that the ends justified the means.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:04 PM on September 14, 2009


Write your Congressmen and women about what the US military is actively not doing to protect targeted minorities in Iraq.

I live in Israel.
posted by alona at 8:06 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


So 4662 Americans and allies, and untold number of Iraqis, died so that we could secure Iraqis' freedom -- freedom to live in the closet or die according to sharia law.

I guess George Bush was right: they hate us for our freedoms. We may be able to ghold on to oil concessions, but no, we'll never be able to force our way of life, our mores, down the throats of another culture at the point of a gun.
posted by orthogonality at 8:07 PM on September 14, 2009


I do not doubt for a moment that there are many places in the global West that would, were they subjected to 1/10th the stress, go feral — and, yes, we would see unchecked armed religious militias pounding down doors and cleansing the evil from their city/county/state.

You are right -- and, in looking back at my comment, I see that I could have conveyed that I thought otherwise. Perhaps a signal that I need to take a step back and look at the way my own mind reflexively labels "my" civilization as versus the "other" civilization.
posted by blucevalo at 8:22 PM on September 14, 2009


This is hardly a new trend.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 8:35 PM on September 14, 2009


What can you do?
posted by treepour at 9:31 PM on September 14, 2009


This makes me want to throw up, and I'm too afraid to even click the links.

Hey, if WE can treat OUR people poorly based on archaic bullshit from an ancient book, then I'm not so sure we have much of a leg to stand on when denigrating the Iraqis for treating THEIR people poorly based on archaic bullshit from THEIR ancient book.

It doesn't mean you get to sit around with your thumb up your ass, going "Well, we're not any better so I guess I can't say anything." That's a bullshit attitude that only promotes complacency and inaction. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Don't have a congresscritter? Write letters to/on behalf of Amnesty International. Blog about it. Twitter about it. Talk about it. If your government has coalition forces serving in Iraq, write to your representatives. Whatever you choose, don't choose silence.
posted by rtha at 9:45 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Five fresh fish is exactly right. If the US suffered the kind of destabilization Iraq has, you'd better believe the "guns at town-hall meetings" nutters would be perfectly happy to get the ball rolling on their own sectarian violence.
posted by Amanojaku at 9:56 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do not doubt for a moment that there are many places in the global West that would, were they subjected to 1/10th the stress, go feral — and, yes, we would see unchecked armed religious militias pounding down doors and cleansing the evil from their city/county/state.

By destroying the (evil though it was) Iraqi state, the United States broke the monopoly on violence which existed. Through the epic incompetence of the Bush Administration and Rumsfeld in particular, there was a period of months where large areas of the country had no real civil administration whatsoever. You know what happens then?

Militias and criminal gangs and tribal gangs and all kinds of violent groups start to arm and try to assert their authority into the vacuum. No doubt there were a few nuts who wanted to kill all Iraqi homosexuals before this, but they were kept quiet by the threat of Saddam's gallows which would have been waiting for them had they tried to assert any kind of extra-judicial(whatever 'judicial' was in Saddam era Iraq) authority.

So yeah, these small minority nuts run the show now. It only takes 10 guys with guns to terrorise an entire neighborhood of tens of thousands.
posted by atrazine at 10:26 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Hey, nice work destabilizing one of the few secular nations in the Middle East and helping eliminate one of the major checks on fundamentalist shit like this. Good work, America."

Right, so it's OK if the Kurds get gassed, but let's all have a weepy for the gays.

And of course, we did a fine job in building that "major check" on fundamentalism, who only occasionally invaded neighboring countries and engaged in widespread domestic torture and murder.

"Launching an illegal war to "come in and run their fucking country" is precisely what has led them to this pass. Or has that part passed into the mists of time for you already?"

Ooh, ooh, bust that anti-imperialist nut all over the page, baby! Feels so good!

So… you're advocating a murderous dictatorship as the solution to gay rights in the Middle East? Because that's as close to what you said as implying that I was advocating an illegal war or the Bush Iraq policies, and if you want to play the disingenuous misreading game, and I can do it as long as you can.
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 PM on September 14, 2009


Shorter klang: mass murder is fine as long it's not the government doing it!
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:59 PM on September 14, 2009


American's don't strike me as the right group of people to be lecturing anyone about this topic. At all.

And yes, this is fucked up. I guess we can add it to the list of things that are fucked up in Iraq. It's a long-ass list.
posted by chunking express at 2:22 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are the kind of people who kill other people because of their race/creed/sexuality/the fact that they're wearing miniskirts really going to stop killing those same people because someone writes a tweet about it happening?

Does talking about it ever actually make a difference? That's a serious question, as I'm genuinely curious.

(Maybe I should be posting this on the green, and maybe it's a derail. If it is either of those things, I apologise).
posted by Solomon at 2:39 AM on September 15, 2009


Right, so it's OK if the Kurds get gassed, but let's all have a weepy for the gays.

Well, that's a little bit disingenuous. The gays don't want to cut off a chunk of your homeland and call it their own country.

But the fact of the matter remains, this kind of shit wasn't happening before under Saddam Hussein. It wasn't all peaches and apple pies, I think we can agree. But he wasn't gassing anyone after the first Gulf War. The guy was contained. He got a big head, fucked up, and got smacked down hard for it. You think he would have risked his little secular fiefdom again? Not a fucking chance. Bush Sr. (intelligent, pragmatic man that he is/was), was smart after Gulf 1: we let him live and let him keep Iraq and turn a blind eye to the internal bullshit as long as it didn't extend past the borders. To which he was doing a splendid job. Way, way better than anybody else has done so far, anyway.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:35 AM on September 15, 2009


I realize it's totally the wrong reaction, one that's entirely emotional and stupid, but when I hear things like this, I just start going, "Y'know what, fuck you, Iraqis. That's why you need someone else to come in and run your fucking country, you fucking barbaric retards."

I realize it's totally the wrong reaction, one that's entirely emotional and stupid, but when I read things like this, I just start going, "Y'know what, fuck you, Americans. That's why you need someone else to come in and run your fucking country, you fucking barbaric retards."
posted by Francis at 3:48 AM on September 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Treepour, a sad note regarding Iraqi LGBT, and the impossible vacuum into which every dollar and good intention seems to be cast upon hitting the streets of Baghdad.

Ministry of Interior officers kidnapped and tortured him in a murderous shakedown, to extort money because they knew he worked with an LGBT organization abroad.

When a standing government is little more than a sum of protection rackets, its recognition isn't negotiated in open court but paid for in secret. Hitting the mattresses and the underground railways isn't protection. If there's any route to be plotted from your broken body to money, they'll find you, and you will pay.

[...] Nuri, 21 and born in Baghdad, had gotten in touch with the London organization Iraqi LGBT when he was 17. In the succeeding years, on their behalf, he rented and ran two homes in Baghdad; these served as "safe houses" [...] The London group periodically sent him small sums to maintain the houses, and that inevitably drew the authorities' attention. [...] And then a police officer came and said. "Do you know where you are? You are in the interrogation wing of the Ministry of Interior." He told me, "If you have ten thousand US dollars, we will let you go." I said I didn't have that kind of money. [...]

"They knew the name 'Iraqi LGBT'-and they knew it helped mithliyeen financially. They knew about the safe houses. All they wanted to know was, 'Who's paying? And why are they helping you?'" [...] He told me he would save my life if I gave him a five thousand dollar bribe. [...] I said, give me the phone. And I called my friend in London. [...] The friend in London sent money to an acquaintance of Nuri in Baghdad, who gave it to the officer [...]

When he asked me for a bribe, I thought he would take it and kill me. I didn't believe I was going to live until I got out of the trunk of the car.


It would arguably have been better had Nuri been killed; his rape and torture would have been that much - rape and torture - but no more. Not a racket. Not a business plan.

HRW (wisely) does not indicate whether the friend in London is with Iraqi LGBT, officially or otherwise. Unsurprisingly, the expenses spreadsheet up at Iraqi LGBT's website doesn't boast figures claimed by bribes or extortion. But I have trouble sustaining the image of a dollar leaving an open hand and flying to somewhere in a Baghdad slum, without this paper plane crossing the palm of a sick cop or a government killer.

Barring systemic change, there is only a choice of existing powers to strike deals with, the paying off of the one devil over another. But Blackwater devils cost way more than US Marines, draped as they are in bespoke camo and comfort-grip batons. Only oil royalty and Americans have the kind of money to pay off Americans. Is paying off the militias and crooked cops the only alternative? For how long?
posted by kid ichorous at 4:56 AM on September 15, 2009


Christ that makes me sad.

Solomon, yeah, I think tweeting/talking/posting about these issues helps. It's pretty minor, and you shouldn't pat yourself on the back for it like you are solving the problem (yes, I understand how a green twitter icon seems stupid). But outside acknowledgement lends moral support to those who are actively working to change things on the ground. People need moral support. A morale boost. It is a small but not totally insignificant action. I'm pretty sure that dissenters in Iran would have been silenced by now if they lived in a media-vaccuum. But my Persian facebook friends are still posting videos and links about what is happening there every single day. Yes, you could do a lot more than just talking about the issues. But the least you can do (literally) is to acknowledge, discuss, and support the people who are actually working to, say, end violence against homosexuals in Iraq, protest falsified elections in Iran, or otherwise make positive changes.
posted by molecicco at 7:04 AM on September 15, 2009


Shorter Pope Guilty: Against literacy; pro rape rooms.

Like I said, I can do the disingenuous misreading game as long as you can.
posted by klangklangston at 7:23 AM on September 15, 2009


"I realize it's totally the wrong reaction, one that's entirely emotional and stupid, but when I read things like this, I just start going, "Y'know what, fuck you, Americans. That's why you need someone else to come in and run your fucking country, you fucking barbaric retards.""

Because the British have shown both that they're above creating artificial Middle East states that collapse into barbarity and have stalwartly refused to have anything to do with our current misadventure! Not only that, but the party that got you into that mess is still in power.

But I'm going to guess that you missed the second part of my comment, which many people seemed to. You know, where I distinguished between an emotional reaction and a rational one?

Finally, I'm a pretty unabashed liberal. My opposition to the invasion of Iraq was almost entirely on practical grounds—I didn't trust Bush to do it correctly, and I thought there were plenty of other places that the same amount of resources could do more good. But trying to put this all on the US is bullshit, and even a hypothetical US collapse is pretty incomparable to Iraq right now.
posted by klangklangston at 7:50 AM on September 15, 2009


even a hypothetical US collapse is pretty incomparable to Iraq right now

Well, consider the Crips, Latin Kings, Nuestra Familia, and AB as possible analogues for the Mahdi Army. We've created such a bedrock of organized crime here you could probably sink California by opening the prison doors; and that's before even touching the publicly traded kind.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:28 AM on September 15, 2009


I think the solution is first to establish a moral high ground, then occupy it, before invading anyone. The real question is, what can the (irredeemably morally compromised) West do, having spent any goodwill we had?

I personally believe that there is such a thing as justified humanitarian military intervention -- I don't think it's a contradiction in terms. But I don't think the British or Americans have the social capital to do it within my lifetime with international support. (This is ignoring the practical/strategic problems we've had with the wars in the ME).

So, moving up a level from Facebook and Twitter, what can we do, peacefully and diplomatically, to fuck these bastards over? When I write to my MP, or to a newspaper, what on earth can I advocate?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:05 PM on September 15, 2009


Shorter Pope Guilty: Against literacy; pro rape rooms.

Despite the brutality of its former regime, Iraq was once seen as a model of education in the Arab world. The country boasted some of the region’s highest literacy rates, justifying the Arabic saying, “The Egyptians write, the Lebanese publish, the Iraqis read.”

Today, up to one-quarter of Iraq's adults are illiterate.


Come on, man, you're not even good at this.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:28 PM on September 15, 2009


If you weren't pro-illiteracy, I'd think that you'd demonstrate that by actually reading what I wrote.

But I do see that I was right about the rape rooms.
posted by klangklangston at 1:45 PM on September 15, 2009


"But I don't see why it's controversial to blame the US for things that changed for the worse after the war, especially when we know that the Bush clique bypassed all the people and planning who might have made it turn out so that the ends justified the means."

It's not controversial, it's simplistic. Iraq was not somehow a model country. If the U.S. did absolutely nothing under Bush....oh, wait, we were bombing the crap out of it constantly under Bill Clinton...so Bush I...no....uh...under Reagan, Hussein was engaging in genocide, Carter there was a bloody coup.....
...what is this era of peace and enlightenment again? We are talking about the place where people were forcibly raped by trained animals no?

So, were saying what, this wonderful secularism would have continued under Hussein's successor? Seriously? After he lost Arafat and most of the Arab world was walking away from him anyway (notice how much the Saudi's kicked when we went in there. Iran hates us. Their main forces did...what?) And the trend in the middle east has been towards greater fundimentalism lately? That would have just suddenly stopped at the Iraqi boarder?
Why? Because they're so stable?
You can't have it both ways. You can't have Hussein be this model guy, the person holding all this craziness down, but then pretend that - oh, if the U.S. didn't invade there wouldn't be any pan-Arab or shia/sunni muslim strife in the middle east.
Uh huh.
Pull the other one it plays jingle bells.

Jesus, learn to compartmentalize information guys. The U.S. invasion being wrong doesn't = every evil that has ever occurred in history. Arabs and Muslims of whatever nation or sect have had more than a few things to say - or not - on the topic of homosexuality.
Hussein would have eventually died - whether of natural causes (coup) or a heart attack or something.
This kind of thing, most likely, would have happened then. Barring someone else who could have taken up the pan-Arab cause and used secularism as an excuse to stomp anyone of any sect who opposed their power.
That sort of thing though would have relied on other middle eastern countries not trying to knock them over.
I seem to remember the Saudi's - et.al. - siding with the U.S. in the first gulf war.
Not sure Iraq was just falling down with Arab allies. Make friends with the west? Ok, well - then yeah, do we want the dictator + miniskirt freedoms at the same cost?

But wait - by the opposite criteria then - since Iran regularly beats/kills homosexuals, we should invade them?
Oh well of course not Smed. Gee, why? Because that would be nation building and attempting to change a culture.
Really. Huh. Isn't that the beef with why Iraq isn't working?

Brutality is swell, as long as it's not aimed at your guy?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:55 AM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


^^^ Smedley

You make an excellent point. I have no doubt that this kind of brutality has been going on for ages in Muslim countries. I also think Hussein was a brutal dictator who committed genocide and he deserved what he got.

The point I, and some others, are making is that the US didn't cause this, but this shit was supposed to end with a liberated and democratic Iraq. Furthermore, with Abu Gahrib, Blackwater and the high civilian causalities, we have lost a lot of moral authority to put a stop to this.
posted by Acromion at 6:43 AM on September 16, 2009


"but this shit was supposed to end with a liberated and democratic Iraq"

Fair enough. Read to me more like "it's the U.S.'s fault" which, while not exactly wrong, is an oversimplification to my mind. So maybe I just mentally glossed over that facet. Perhaps because its obvious, to me.
Not that it's not worth pointing out as yet another thing in the litany of b.s. from that war.

I would be, and am, outraged that more isn't being done to stop it -now- by the forces there. But again, there's been sectarian violence of all kinds there for years and they're spread thin and everyone on all sides wants to pull the troops out.
I'd be hesitant to remain even to protect human rights...of course, if you're not fighting for human rights, what are you fighting for?
I don't know that even if we had moral authority we could end this. Most times, it's been my experience, that bullets are necessary to stop religious/ideological/ethnic hatred.
And hell that might make it all worse.

One thing I will add to your point though - practically speaking, if the war had been waged among the people (taking the Bush Doctrine with a grain of salt since being there at all...) and less damage had been done - I don't think we would have had any more of a moral high ground but I do think there wouldn't have been this mass exodus.

So - with less folks leaving, with less refugees, I think you would have had a civilian population more used to some of the secularism promoted by Hussein.
Not that I don't think these death squads wouldn't have existed.
But they would have been more insulated. There would have been more social resistance to them on sheer inertia alone (one of the upsides of conservative thinking (as opposed to the common usage of the term by white guys shilling for corporations)).

Indeed, just a more populous and well-heeled population would be able to offer greater resistance to extremists of any kind.
The flip side of that though - you still have a social network susceptible to a totalitarian power structure in place.

...in hindsight, I suspect some goof with no on the ground experience of that fact mentioned something like that to the Bush administration and they decided to purge the military as though the most trainable cadre in the country would somehow be the most resistant to change.
Just off the bat, most folks have a lot of empathy with the people signing their checks.

Resetting the social order though would have still been pretty hard.
As it sits, I'd be surprised if Iraq doesn't fracture. Although "troops being gone" doesn't seem to mean all of them. Or that aid will be cut off to certain factions.
You can get further with a kind word and a gun than just a kind word. But it doesn't look like the U.S. is much interested in stopping this. And yeah, that is a shame. If you're not promoting democracy, what is it you are promoting?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:22 AM on September 16, 2009


We took a shitty situation and made it much fucking worse. I'm not sure how hard that is to comprehend.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:43 PM on September 16, 2009


Pope Guilty, I don't know how hard it is to comprehend that the 'worse' part of the equation was always there.
Or that the U.S. invasion was stupid on a number of fronts being so glaringly obvious it's difficult to parse specific meaning from it.
So the Bush administration took a shitty situation in Iraq and made it worse did they? Wow. That's some hard hitting insightful commentary there boy. I thought I would use illustrative concepts and historical facts and a linear progression of evolving political and religious inter-sect and fratricidal violence to comment on exactly how the current situation came to be and exactly why it's bad in the way it's bad. Y'know, to engage in intelligent discourse to come to a reasonable reconciliation and respectful understanding of each other's respective positions.

But uh, sure, y'know, your thing is good too.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:03 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


« Older Ames Research Center Image Library...  |  Crystal Lee Sutton was fired f... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments