Iraqis and the Occupation

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by dijetlo, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. dijetlo

    dijetlo Guest

    an interesting article from the MSNBC website.
    Some explanations for our difficulties in Iraq:
    >> the culture gap still yawns in ways that feel not only alien but threatening. In their wrap-around shades and body armor, the soldiers look like creatures from outer space to the Iraqis (who generally do not wear sunglasses and suspect that the Americans’ Ray-Bans have been engineered to look through women’s clothes).<<

    >> Specialist Jose (Psycho) Lopez, 21, struggles to know how to handle more- threatening situations. “You see them standing there and they’re doing this...” He makes a slashing motion across his throat. “You see them, but what are you going to do? Kill them? I’ll grab them by the throat and slap them hard.” Maybe not the best way to make friends and cultivate informants.<<
    No doubt, an atypical anecdote from the occupation, note Spc. Lopezs' nickname. You aren't nicknamed "psycho" as a testement to your good judgement.

    This guy seems to have a plan:

    >>Lt. Col. Hector Mirabile of the First Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, the Florida National Guard unit patrolling Ramadi, is a major in the Miami police force in civilian life. He appears to instinctively understand colonial policing as the British practiced it a century ago. “This is an ultratribal area,” Mirabile explained to NEWSWEEK. “We understand that there’s no winning this battle without winning the hearts and minds of the people, and you don’t do that without winning the sheiks.”<<
    He has given them contracts for rebuilding
    >> But if violence breaks out—like the mortar attack that occurred just the day before—”I’ll be calling on the sheik and asking, ‘Why did that happen?’ ” says Mirabile. “If they can’t deliver, we’ll reduce their contracts. If he doesn’t help, we’ll go to him and say, ‘Your area is not really safe yet—people can’t work here.’ And he’ll say, ‘S—t, this is affecting the bottom line’.”<<
  2. Bry

    Bry Member

    Oct 2, 2003
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    fascinating artice, dijetlo. thanks for posting it. I'd been wondering about both aspects that were brought out there. The American soldiers must look pretty far fetched and unapproachable in their uniforms, and many of them are far too young to have any idea about diplomacy and cultural differences. And the bit about making the locals complicit in the anti-resistance by making them dependent on the money from contracts is interesting too. Total Skinner.

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