Thursday, January 01, 2004


In response to my post yesterday about America being doomed to being unloved by many, Wayne Lusvardi writes:

Perhaps we can learn from two old jokes for the New Year from Iraq circa 1925. From 1914 to 1932 Britain occupied Iraq under a Mandate from the League of Nations to abolish the old Ottomon Turkish-British imperialism and create a modern state out of its urban Sunni, rural Shiite, and mountain Kurdish tribes. Britain ruled mainly by the then new air power of the Royal Air Force and the use of expert "advisers." By 1932 Britain abandoned Iraq. What the U.S. might learn from that experience comes from two popular Iraqi jokes of that time:

Joke 1 - There are only two things to fear - Allah and the Hakumat al tayarrat (government by aircraft).

Joke 2 - (A). Men say that a certain religious Mullah has prophesied the immediate second coming of the Mahdi (savior).

.............(B). What good would that be? Christ will come too and he'll be the Mahdi's Adviser.

Borrowing from the thoughts of Niccolo Machiavelli, history may not necessarily repeat itself but it laughs at any American expectation that we can be both loved and respected in Iraq and the Middle East. The dilemma is that we can't be loved unless we are first respected, but can't be respected by merely trying to be loved. It is probably not coincidental that love is a central Christian concept that is at best marginal to the Islamic religion. The U.S. might just have to accept that it is a sufficient partial victory to get its troops out of Iraq and Saudi Arabia and to be respected by other terrorist states or rogue terrorists, and give up any expectation of being loved or setting up any form of democracy in Iraq.


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