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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Since when did iraqis become akin to welfare moms?

What's with this rhetoric: "Iraqis need to take responsibility for themselves"?

Obama said it tonight on Nightline, and now Edwards is saying it on Leno. It almost sounds like we are saying, "look at all we've done for you! Now pull yourselves up by your bootstraps!" in a way that is similar to how people frame women on welfare's needs of the government. How dare they snivel that they we went in and screwed their lives up and destroyed their sense of efficacy. How dare they expect us to clean up the mess WE CREATED?

They just need to be grateful for what we did do, and quit their bellyachin'.

All of this to say, this rhetoric of expecting Iraqis to take care of themselves now really concerns me. I feel like we are so worn out with the war, we just want out, and don't want to look back at the mess we left behind, and wash our hands of the whole thing. Democrats - I know we didn't support the war in the first place - but it's our baby now. We have to do what we can to make things better (but not with more troops!).

And to my anonymous commenter: yes, I did use the word "jellus" to mean "jealous." I did it purposefully because I think text-speak is funny and to highlight how adolescent I know my emotions about it are.


At 9:40 AM, Blogger Ianqui said...

I totally see your problem with this, and it's crappy to seem like petulant parents waiting for their adolescents to grow up, but I think there is some essence to what they're saying. That is, the only time we'll be able to leave is when the Iraqis are able to run their own country. In that sense, they do need to show that they're capable of running the country.

That said, I think the problem is that we are responsible for giving them the infrastructure of a stable country. I think it's totally incredible that we haven't been able to supply reliable electricity or running water in 3 years of "reconstruction", and we certainly can't expect either the people or the government to be stable until these basic needs are met. If we could manage to do that, then the current rhetoric would be much less objectionable.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Anastasia said...

i thought the same thing. We're definitely seeing (yet another) shift in rhetoric, this time towards "well, if the iraqi government would just..."

At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. We are treating the Iraqi people much like we treat our own poor; we talk around them and about them, but not to them. Unfortunately, this is America's problem and we have to fix it. We can start by providing some social services to the Iraqis instead of letting al qaeda provide it to them for us. I disagree with your point about troop levels. We probably need to quadruple them for the intermediate term, but that won't do any good unless we combine it with solid humanitarian and infrastructural assistance. This latest "change in strategy" is just more of the same.

At 6:12 PM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

Indeed, the Iraqis need to run their own country - and I think they want to. I think my suggestion would be to increase the number of people there - but instead of sending more US troops, we send UN peacekeepers (but give them the right to defend themselves at least) and aid workers.

And I totally agree we should get them up and running with basic needs before we leave. It's ridiculous that they still are without running water and electricity.

Then, send those american troops to New Orleans to get that area back on its feet.


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