Taking a look at ourselves

“There is no question that the Iraqi people suffered under one of the vilest dictators of the 20th century and longed for liberation. But a foreign power that, largely through ignorance, disrespects Arab pride, tribal custom, Iraqi nationalism, and Islamic sensibility has not been able to fulfill its promises of freedom and security. How the Iraqis themselves have experienced a war supposedly waged in their name is the missing piece of the story that Americans [and Australians], especially those who continue to support the war, need to understand.”

Spencer Ackerman, The American Prospect, September 2005, reviewing Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War by Anthony Shadid

While the Iraq quagmire continues to be routinely ignored in Australia, today’s UK Observer leads with a sadly predictable tale:

“The Foreign Office’s top official warned Downing Street that the Iraq war was fuelling Muslim extremism in Britain a year before the 7 July bombings.”

Any mention of the Israel/Palestine conflict and the Iraq war were removed from “‘core scripts’ – briefing papers given to ministers to defend the government’s position on Iraq and terror.” Furthermore, many Muslims saw Britain, like America, as a “crusader state.”

The Age’s Michelle Grattan explained the local context last week:

“But until the Government acknowledges that policy heightens both resentment and the terrorism risk, it will be operating in an unreal world.”

To suggest, as does the Howard government and pro-war supporters, that hatred of the West and its foreign policy is motivated by nothing more than irrational disdain for Western “values” is delusional and dangerous.

But who actually wants to seriously examine themselves and the actions our government commits in our name?

UPDATE: In place of any kind of serious political debate on Iraq, today’s Fairfax press publishes an article about…Tony Blair’s summer holiday. Clearly an event to stop the nation.

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