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What Iraq Tells Us About Ourselves
Pat Lang Blames Culturally Naive American People for Current Chaos
Time magazine declared You the person of the 2006 because of the way MySpace, YouTube, and Wikipedia are changing the balance of power between the dominant few and the teeming masses. Now in the pages of Foreign Policy, Pat Lang also blames You for the failues in Iraq:

How did the highly educated, wealthy, and powerful American people make such a horrendous, catastrophic series of blunders? As Pogo, the cartoon opossum, once famously said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!” Yes, that’s right: We, the American people—not the Bush administration, nor the hapless Iraqis, nor the meddlesome Iranians (the new scapegoat)—are the root of the problem....

To be blunt, our foreign policy tends to be predicated on the notion that everyone wants to be an American. In the months leading up to the start of the Iraq War, it was common to hear seemingly educated people say that the Arabs, particularly Iraqis, had no way of life worth saving and would be better off if all “that old stuff”—their traditions, social institutions, and values—were done away with, and soon.

Lang does have a point, and reminds me of the something a former CIA analyst told me once: "Bush thinks American-style democracy is a program that can be saved on CD-ROM and downloaded in whatever country he chooses."

According to Lang, this type of culturally-ignorant Amero-centric thinking has infected every step of planning and execution of the war, and can be blamed for a large portion of its failures. The most obvious way this handicap continues to influence American planners is in the way they continue to unrealistically hold on to dreams of Iraqi multi-ethnic unity.

We are still acting out our dream, insisting that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shiite sectarian government “unify” the state, imagining that Maliki is a sort of Iraqi George Washington seeking the greater good for all. He is not that....

The entire piece is a worthy read. You will have to click through to see what Lang writes to correct what he claims is the typical too-hopeful American impression of Maliki. (Ouch.)


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