In all this hubub, one set of voices I think needs a bit more exposure - the selfsame Iraqis who have borne the brunt of America's foreign policy choices over the last 18 months or so. We've all heard approximately 9.4 million reasons to vote one way or the other, so another 2 or 3 won't stop the election in its tracks. But hearing these (quite often eloquent) voices, from a different culture, who have seen, up front and personal, the outcomes of the decisions being made, is an enlightening experience. Regardless of whether or not you agree with their arguments, hearing new and fundamentally different arguments is refreshing with less than 96 hours to the election of the President of the United States of America.
Perhaps two of the best ways to see what the situation on the inside is like is with this 2003 film, About Baghdad (which I highly recommend - I was going to link to the trailer, but the trailer is a biased travesty and doesn't give any insight into the true range of complex messages that can be drawn from the film itself) and this recent project, Voices of Iraq (trailer), which I haven't yet seen, but hope to quite soon.
But for those of you unable to view the films prior to the elections, nearly as good a glimpse can be garnered through a review of the Iraqi voices we now hear from the blogosphere. So without further ado...
My apology to the half of America who may disagree; and I address them with respect and fondness, but with pain in the heart. Do you really want to give satisfaction to the be-headers, kidnappers and child murderers; and the perpetrators of 9/11? Do you want to hear their savage shouts of victory? This is no reflection on the merit of your man. He may indeed be a paragon of virtue, but that does not change one little bit anything about the situation.
The Messopotamian's longer post is here:
Thus, regardless of all the arguments of both candidates the main problem is that President Bush now represents a symbol of defiance against the terrorists and it is a fact, that all the enemies of America, with the terrorists foremost, are hoping for him to be deposed in the upcoming elections. That is not to say that they like the democrats, but that they will take such an outcome as retreat by the American people, and will consequently be greatly encouraged to intensify their assault. The outcome here on the ground in Iraq seems to be almost obvious. In case President Bush loses the election there would be a massive upsurge of violence, in the belief, rightly or wrongly, by the enemy, that the new leadership is more likely to “cut and run” to use the phrase frequently used by some of my readers. And they would try to inflict as heavy casualties as possible on the American forces to bring about a retreat and withdrawal. It is crucial for them to remove this insurmountable obstacle which stands in their way.
We then move to Iraq the Model, a group blog by a bunch of medical professionals in Iraq. One of the bloggers, Omar, provides a translation from the BBC Arabic Forum on the upcoming American election. Interesting insights and a heck of a glimpse of the "Arab Street." Too many quotes to provide here, but here is a representative item:
“Bush is a better choice than Kerry. Regardless of the reasons behind the war in Iraq, I’m hearing news about Iraqis happy with the liberation and frankly speaking, some of the Arab media are very hypocritic when it comes to the situation in Iraq and they exaggerate things greatly. We-the Arabs-are getting to understand many new subjects”-- Mohammed Kerim Al Sabti - Oman.
Although not an Iraqi blogger, we do have the Egyptian over at the Big Pharoah blog, with this post:
If Bush lost then all what America had done over the past 3 and half years will be in vain. The liberating war of Iraq will look as if it was all a huge fiasco and all those who sacrificed their lives to plant a decent country within the Middle East sacrificed it for nothing. How do I know that? I knew that by listening to how John Kerry heinously played with Iraq just to reach the White House. Mr. Kerry had a lot to play with: taxes, health care, gay rights, stem cell research, and even the Bush administration post war planning. Yet he chose to raise doubts about going to Iraq after watching the perceived mess there and seeing how Howard Dean capitalized on that during the primaries.
The blog, Iraq and Iraqis has this post relating to the upcoming election:
For all that, either you thought this or that, you should think you are obligated to continue helping us. I say that to those American who are willing to vote for the person who are planning to give up the war against terrorism and stay home waiting for them to come after him and act at then.
A Kurdish blogger has this classic, which, regardless of one's politics, is just too funny to pass up (and we've all had conversations like this with our grandparents at one time or another Feel free to insert your own Clinton joke at the end:
ME: This is about the US elections.
Old Man: So, we will stay the same. No changes for us.
ME: Yeah true.. but still..it is fun to see who wins.
Old Man: I Know BOSH (Bush), who is his opponent ?
ME: KERRY (In Kurdish sounds KIRI (means "his d*ck")
Old Man: Akkkkk dawsheyt basha... KIRI ke ? (shame on you) who's KIR ?
ME: NO NO NO....Kerry u Bush (Kerry & Bush).
Old Man: Bosh's one ?
ME: NO NO that is a name KERRY.
Old Man: KIRI is a name ? It is the end of the world.
ME: Why ? He is American not Kurdish.
Old Man: Oh whatever. I will vote for BOSH.
ME: You can't vote. You are not American.
Old Man: Next time I see an American I tell him/her to vote for BOSH.
OLD MAN: I don't want my face to go red every time I say the name of the US president.
The Iraqi Spirit blog is pretty ambivalent, and, interestingly, not directly at odds with the other Iraqi bloggers - the distinction seems to be one of what items deserve more emphasis, rather than the nature of the concerns themselves:
Both candidates seem to be adopting the same kind of politics when it comes to Iraq, the only difference is that Kerry has promised to pull back in 4 years time. I’m all for that, give back responsibility to the Iraqis to manage their own affairs. I would slightly lean towards Kerry because of that, but I’m not expecting much.
Next we have Loser's Blog, with his endorsement of Bush:
For me I Prefer Bush for many reasons, one of them that he was fighting in the past four years and took one of most boldness decisions, it's not fair that some one else inherit the success that might be achieved later, I know the situation here is foggy and hard, it's as if someone one want Iraq to remain as a battle for ever, but I have the feeling that's it's going to end in a moment or another…
Riverbend, who I gather has been unrelenting in her protest of the war and unstinting in her desire for the days of Saddam, has endorsed Kerry by way of Anybody But Bush:
So is Kerry going to be much better? I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s going to fix things or if he’s going to pull out the troops, or bring more in. I have my doubts about how he will handle the current catastrophe in Iraq. I do know this: nothing can be worse than Bush. No one can be worse than Bush. It will hardly be fair to any president after Bush in any case- it's like assigning a new captain to a drowning ship. All I know is that Bush made the hole and let the water in, I want him thrown overboard.Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at October 31, 2004 08:48 AM