Iraqthemodel Sarah Boxer Writing In


begun his own website, “Free Iraqi where he expresses some doubts about Bush administration policy, unlike his two brothers.

I became suspicious of the original site when they mysteriously attacked Rashid Khalidi and me for simply pointing out that Fallujah had had a long history of anti-British political agitation during the 1920s and the monarchy, something which is well known in Iraqi history and about which there is famous nationalist poetry. They depended on a secondary source by a sociologist to question something that shows up in numerous historical sources. Being dentists, of course, they don’t know their way around the British archives and don’t realize that secondary works aren’t exhaustive. So it was strange that they were questioning something that every informed Iraqi knows, and which is attested in British sources. And it was strange that they went after Khalidi, a Palestinian-American and an eminent historian who opposed the Iraq war.

What really seems to bother the Right bloggers is that the defection of Ali Fadhil introduced doubt and ambiguity into their closed little world in which American Iraq is a virtual paradise and real Iraqis are all tickled pink to have been occupied by a Western army. There has been excellent professional opinion polling in Iraq by Gallup and the State Department that demonstrates that the original IraqTheModel site’s views were far out of the Iraqi mainstream.

For American observers concerned with Iraq not to realize how truly awful the situation is, and to fail to understand that the US faces a grave crisis if key policies are not changed, makes them poor Americans. The United States is a democracy and a democracy only works if the citizens are informed and exercise their faculties of critical reason. Looking for token pro-American Iraqis to say nice things while ignoring all the evidence of US failure is pitiful. I sometimes get

messages from readers who are excited by all the rebuilding work the US has done in Iraq and think it is unfair for it to be overlooked. This way of thinking is just wrong. The British in India built railroads and lots of infrastructure. By the 1940s, no Indians were grateful, and they just wanted the British out so that they could have their independent country. The railroads, they said, were after all mainly built to transport British troops and merchandise. When you mess with a people’s independence, they stop being grateful for infrastructure. Ask King George III.

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