....LMB: "Simplification"....

November 04, 2003

I spoke with KPFK reporter Jerry Quickley today. He was in New York, just returned to the country after spending about two weeks in Iraq, so I asked him a few questions about his time there (technically, I was "pre-interviewing" him for a radio show I produce for KPFK and Axis of Justice, the Axis of Justice Radio Network. No, I didn't choose the title). The fellow was literally in Iraq last week, so this was some pretty fresh data. For the most part, his answers were what we just keep hearing from the country, bad news on most fronts.

But there was one moment of clarity in our talk. Jerry said that he'd spoken with about 150 Iraqis during his trip, and two had been in favor of the U.S. occupation, and everyone else was against it. And the majority of these anti-occupation folks wanted the U.S. to leave as soon as possible.

Jerry also said that he'd talked to maybe 12-15 U.S. soldiers about their feelings regarding the occupation, and he said that every single one of them wanted to leave and go home.

The Iraqis want the Americans to leave Iraq, and the American soldiers themselves want to leave Iraq, so... what's the problem exactly?

Up until today, I'd been one of these folks who was bitterly opposed to the war, yet felt that since we were there, that the U.S. should fix the electric and water infrastructure, and provide security until Iraq got itself on its soon-to-be-democratic feet. Tthe fact that the Bush administration did not seem interested in any of this made my stance quite a confusing one; it's kind of like calling the cops about a burglary, having them shoot your dog, but hoping that now that they're there, that they'll stay and paint your living room.

But now, if Jerry is correct, it seems a significant number of Iraqis would rather risk the consequences of rebuilding their demolished country on their own, than continue to struggle under U.S. occupation. And if the occupation meant profits for Halliburton, withheld liberties, random shootings by terrified/crazed American soldiers, and still not having the electricity back on, what would they really have to lose by having the Americans leave?

I'll give it some more thought, but I am now much more significantly on the "leave" bandwagon than on the "stay" one.

[edit]

I usually let my commenters say whatever they like and don't respond, giving them the last word on the subject. Seems the fair thing to do. But I just got one that I think misunderstands part of what I wrote, so let me clarify.

The passage in question reads "a significant number of Iraqis would rather risk the consequences of rebuilding their demolished country on their own, than continue to struggle under U.S. occupation". The commenter interprets this to mean something like "those dumb Iraqis can't rebuild their country without the help of us smart Americans." This was not what I meant, although I see how one could read it that way.

To me, the bottom line is that Iraq is a nation that has been bombed and starved for over a decade, and is therefore very poor and many of the institutions and infrastructure that would be helpful/mandatory for rebuilding, have been destroyed. I'm not saying that the U.S. has more smarts that Iraq, but that the U.S. has more dollars than Iraq. It seems that the Iraqi people are willing to say "we think we have enough dollars and determination to rebuild our country without help from Uncle American Moneybags." And with all that I've heard about the terrible destruction and impoverishment of Iraq, that seems like a pretty gutsy decision. Granted, when your friends and neighbors are being shot by Uncle Moneybags' pals on a semi-regular basis, I imagine that makes the decision much easier.

So, to sum up, I was referring to Iraq's financial and logistical capacity, not implying that Iraqis were in some way inferior to Americans.

[/edit]

Posted by Jake at 12:44 AM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

"But now, if Jerry is correct, it seems a significant number of Iraqis would rather risk the consequences of rebuilding their demolished country on their[own], than continue to struggle under U.S. occupation." - posted by Jake.

Are you sure their smart enough? Can they handle it? I mean, those poor little brown people how can they possibly do anyhting?

Think about the implications of your statement. I know your not a racist and your heart is in the right place. But statements like that have to stop.

This is not the white mans's burden.

Posted by: JJ at November 5, 2003 10:06 AM

JJ, I think you read that in a way that was not intended at all.

I really don't like Jerry Quickley on the radio (but that's for a different time), but what he's been doing in going to Iraq and the information he's come back with before and now has simply been great.

Posted by: Incadenza at November 5, 2003 04:42 PM

JJ, I think the issue here is should the U.S. be accountable for the damage done? What Jake was getting at is it's very difficult for ANYONE to rebuild after such devastation. It's as if I blew up your house then expecting you to rebuild your house with no help at all. The question is, to get to the point, is making reparations and help rebuilding infrastructure white man's burden or accepting accountability? I'm sure most of us just think this shit shouldn't have happened in the first place...and I also think if the Iraqis don't want help to rebuild then get the fuck out. The outsiders have done enough already.

I'm not sure how you misinterpreted Jake's comments, but it's a bit surreal when "lefties" get attacked for "political incorrectness."

Posted by: Eric at November 8, 2003 12:09 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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