I take issue with Hannah Allam's article on the supposedly looming threat of revolution or civil war. While history is often a guide, it is not always a mirror of the future. Iraqi's have been able to unite in the past to drive out occupiers such as the British in 1920. We should not fail to realize though the British were in Iraq as per a colonial era mandate, at one time lobbing mustard gas on Iraqis near the Southern city of Basra. Even the most ardent opponents of the current administration or US foreign policy must concede the brutal and wreckless totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein whose government presented a clear and present danger to the Iraqi people.
Make no mistake about it, we are here in Iraq on account of a people that would have so many reasons to hate the US, but hold out just a flicker of hope that we will be able to right just some of the wrongs this nation has endured since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The murmurs of discontent in and of themselves are rooted in not only sectarian interests but impatient desire for progress that the Coalition Provisional Authority has been struggling to provide (albeit with mistakes along the way). So while Allam illuminates comparisons between Iraq under the yoke of British colonialism and Iraq under a steadily quickening transfer of soveriegnty, she fails to mention the number of Iraqi's who in poll after poll concede that while they may not trust the Coalition with the same conviction they would their sheiks, imams, and ayatollahs; they do feel if the Americans left now there would be a very real possibility of civil war. Another sharp contrast between the British control of Iraq and the American experience now is that we have not resorted to the practice European Colonialists have so often used of installing a sidelined minority ethnic or religious group in power as manner in which to assure a available proxy. For the first time in Iraq, there is the very real possibility that ethnic makeup will truly, not perfectly, reflect the makeup of the new Iraqi government and that the Shia that have been so consistently oppressed in the past will not be sidelined. Those same militants lobbing grenades and blowing up cars killing mostly Iraqi civilians can in no way be compared to the Iraqi resistance in the 1920's. At least back then all Iraqis applauded their "martyrdom", whereas now many Iraqis refuse to believe the car bombers are even Iraqi, and therefore foreign fighters intent on destroying progress to be replaced with no viable alternative.
Some readers may choose to discount my opinion by virtue of my bias being a American Soldier, however I am also an American of both Arab descent and the Muslim faith. I have had the opportunity to understand the limitations, expectations, and frustrations that not all my counterparts in uniform are able to fully comprehend. To leave Iraq now or let the forces of sectarianism or fanatacism (something the true Iraqi spirit opposes) take shape and then let this country fall into anarchy would be wrong. Not only would it be a slap in the face to everyone of us risking our lives in uniform here in Iraq but more so to the brave Iraqis that risk assasination just for speaking to the media or going to their civil service jobs as they try to mend a fractured nation, infrastructure, and society.
"Somewhere between wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." -Jelauddin Rumi (Sufi Muslim Poet)
SGT Mohammed Omar Masry
Baghdad International Airport, Iraq
www.omarmasry.net Iraq 2.0