Voices from Iraq
January 21, 2005 6:27 PM   Subscribe

BBC TV's Newsnight programme listed some Iraq-related blogs, including a tragic US soldier's blog [previously discussed here] . Interesting to me were the first-hand Iraqi views of the occupation. In one, a local girl blogs her responses to the WMDs that were never found and to the controversial Marine execution in Fallujah [discussed here], and describes the use of Valium in wartime.

For those of us who wish to hear the views of Iraqis, there's Words from Iraq, which collects posts from a spectrum of English-speaking Iraqi blogs, such as this description of the banality of kidnappings.
posted by iffley (19 comments total)
riverbend's reticent to say where she learned her really Western-sounding English, but she's been a great read these last few months. Even though I cringe for her and her relatives and friends, with all the privations she describes. I wish a few people who work inside the Beltway read this 'blog.

At the same time, I wonder about the loaded language of "execution" -- that brings to mind drum rolls, blindfolds and the like. This was more like a Marine trying to decide whether risking getting backshot was worth it.
posted by alumshubby at 6:36 PM on January 21, 2005

Execution: You're right alumshubby: this was the wrong word for me to use. Although I only partly agree with your belief about the Marine's intentions, and although even the intentions you impute would still allow this to have been an illegal killing, a less judgemental word like "shooting" would have been better.
posted by iffley at 7:06 PM on January 21, 2005

Yeah, I've been reading riverbend on and off for several weeks. I even sent her an email through the web page, although she didn't respond. She probably gets them in groups whenever her blog is cited on the net.

When the troops pull out, especially if it is peaceful transition, I plan on sending her a hearty congrats for making it through and wish her well. I hope to never have to live what she's been through.
posted by Doohickie at 7:14 PM on January 21, 2005

The blog of Bob Zangas really got to me. To read it, you just have to love the guy. And when I heard on MeFi he had been killed, it just tore me up. God, I hate this war. Please, Lord, let it end.
posted by Doohickie at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2005

Very powerful stuff...

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Iffley.

I have a feeling that the terror we have felt on 9/11 will be dwarfed by what will happen when this "Next Generation" of Iraqis come of age to act out on their hatred for what America has shown to represent to them.

I wouldn't blame them one bit.

If it were me, I'd do the same.
posted by Balisong at 7:36 PM on January 21, 2005

iffley, please don't worry about your use of the word "execution". Writers write what they feel and journalists write what they witness. My opinion is that you are cool, and your post is interesting.

Regarding your post, I've read so much war-blogging since the begining of this so-called war that I'm sick with it. From your post I don't get any sense of opinion and you are not asking any specific questions. For example; "Do "blogging" Iraqis feel any more empowered than non-bloggers?", etc.

Forgive me but I just wish you would have posed some sort of intellectual challenge instead of just issuing links.
posted by snsranch at 7:45 PM on January 21, 2005

BTW, put me on record as one who hates this war. I am horrified that ANY American can stand behind it. Wrong war-wrong reason.
posted by snsranch at 7:54 PM on January 21, 2005

"The weapons never existed. It's like having a loved one sentenced to death for a crime they didn't commit- having your country burned and bombed beyond recognition, almost. Then, after two years of grieving for the lost people, and mourning the lost sovereignty, we're told we were innocent of harboring those weapons. We were never a threat to America...

Congratulations Bush- we are a threat now. "

I wonder if Bush, in his private thoughts, actually knows what he has done. He can never admit it, of course, but I hope he does get a little twinge of existential horror now and then.

But I suspect not.
posted by Justinian at 7:56 PM on January 21, 2005

Justinian, sadly enough, I think you are right about Bush. To quote from some old punk song, "Psycho killer loose again, going out to kill some friends." Yea, that's Bush in a nutshell.

Mmm, that reminds me of another old punk song which might describe Bush's regime; " DENY EVERYTHING, DENY EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!"
posted by snsranch at 8:21 PM on January 21, 2005

Excellent links. The best practice is to show people what it's like down there, that it's not going well and that it won't go well. Until America knows how badly this invasion hurt Iraq -- and in turn, America and the whole free world -- the people will not vote against war hawks.
posted by NickDouglas at 9:05 PM on January 21, 2005

I believe Balisong has the prediction of what is to come from significant numbers of the occupation survivors correct. Many Americans would react in a similar way if members of their family were killed by foreign invaders.

Seriously, if foreigners have killed a persons mom, dad, and siblings; at what point can anybody embrace anything, anything at all, that is held up as a future hope to come from all the destruction?

Definite material to shake ones head to.
posted by buzzman at 9:26 PM on January 21, 2005

Nice post. Interesting point here about the future. Even in a good scenario...

Debate all you like about Bush being bad or good or whatever - he's still going to take the rap, and nothing will change. (The machine behind Bush rolls on)

I mean - we hand them their country back, pull out, etc.
They run their democracy well, then some motivated like minded folks get into high office - folks who hate the U.S. because they lost a sibling or parent or even just the general hell raised there...
Generally it's only the really motivated that get ahead in politics.

So then what? They go to war with us? They sponsor acts of terror? They raise general mayhem for us? Call us names at the U.N.?

Maybe we don't like that. Maybe we want them to happily sell us oil at cut rate prices so the company & the firm clandestinely kill the aforementioned folks before they get into office.

Then what?

LOTS of what if's here.
In the best case we leave at an opportune moment, blame it all on Bush and say "that administration is over, we're a new America now" like we've done so many times before and they have their democracy, shrug off the pain, shake their heads and say "Americans".

To paraphrase Chris Rock - The U.S. government is like the Uncle who put you through college, but molested you.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:30 PM on January 21, 2005

Really great post; these are some seriously interesting sites.
posted by chunking express at 10:00 PM on January 21, 2005

I'm afraid of the Smedlyman's affirmation of my prediction!!

What happens whe we DO blame it all on Bush, (and despize him for it) and elect the next presidentwho chooses the most diplomatic route until war?

We aren't out of the foxholes, yet,..
posted by Balisong at 10:47 PM on January 21, 2005

Er,,, And Buzzman!!!
posted by Balisong at 10:48 PM on January 21, 2005

I suspect that Mike's journal would not be on the BBC's list if it weren't for the fact that I linked to it here, as well as a few other places.

If you do have news to tell about what is going on in the world -- and I do, regularly, because I use LiveJournal like my own private intelligence service -- then MeFi is a surprisingly good place to break it.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:42 AM on January 22, 2005

Please explain to me, how does anybody without electricity, phone, and water, still have the internet connectivity left to blog? Baghdad Burning is about as believable as Baghdad Blog.
posted by 3.2.3 at 11:03 AM on January 22, 2005

3.2.3: This post from Baghdad Burning may answer your question.
posted by iffley at 12:14 PM on January 22, 2005

Many Americans would react in a similar way if members of their family were killed by foreign invaders.

A friend of mine who's in the Marines and has done several Iraq missions said basically the same thing. He doesn't villainize his foe. He follows his orders, but he also understands there are two sides to this.
posted by Doohickie at 7:59 AM on January 24, 2005

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