Racism at Core of Iraq Invasion, by Firas Al-Atraqchi
2004-04-29 | The popular perception in the US is that Iraq is a country of uncivilized criminals and terrorists raised to hate America because common people hate freedom and liberty, “ragheads” and “sand niggers” who brought down the Twin Towers in New York City and attacked the Pentagon. US-based columnists have taken to calling Iraqis lazy and ungrateful...
Racism is the answer. There is an arrogance in the West that everything Western is superior, exemplary and ideal for all cultures. In 2002, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Belusconi said that Islamic culture was inferior to the advanced Western civilization. This school of thought is prevalent throughout every sector of US society and has been nudged on by the various “hate-films” that Hollywood churns every year. Arabs are portrayed as stupid, animalistic, ammoral, sex-starved, abusing, wife-battering terrorists who seek to kill themselves - and their children - so that they can languish with 72 virgins in heaven. That Arabs saved Western civilization by translating the Greek philosophies and complementing them, introducing algebra, geometry and astronomy to Europe is left out. That the first medical institute in world history was established in - wait for it - southern Iraq by the Muslims is also lost on the US public.
It is no surprise then when we hear that British commanders in Iraq were condemning the Americans’ heavy-handed and disproportionate military tactics in Iraq . According to The Telegraph's Sean Rayment, a British officer, “who agreed to the interview on the condition of anonymity, said that part of the problem was that American troops viewed Iraqis as 'untermenschen' - the Nazi expression for ‘sub-humans’.
“They are not concerned about the Iraqi loss of life in the way the British are. Their attitude towards the Iraqis is tragic, it's awful.” The British officer accused the US Military of targeting “terrorists” even if they are located in densely-populated civilian areas: “They may well kill the terrorists in the barrage but they will also kill and maim innocent civilians. That has been their response on a number of occasions. It is trite, but American troops do shoot first and ask questions later. They are very concerned about taking casualties and have even trained their guns on British troops, which has led to some confrontations between soldiers,” The Telegraph reported.
By the way, if you weren’t around during the Nazi purging of Europe’s Jews, “untermenschen” is the popular term a certain Adolf Hitler used to express his disdain for what he termed the “inferior” Jews in Mein Kamp.
Consequently, if the US Military, which can be considered the military hand of the US government, considers Iraqis as inferior beings, it is then academic to extrapolate that US lawmakers view Iraqis as lesser peoples. Perhaps that helps explain why the Bush administration is so irked by news reports showing dead Iraqi women and children. Perhaps it helps explain why he accuses Arab media – including Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya – of being propagandists and liars. Perhaps it also explains why every Iraqi protestation in the last few years about lack of WMDs was shot down by US media and Iraqi officials were branded expert liars.
Perhaps, it also explains why “the axis of evil” slogan was so popular with Washington neocons. Inferior people are considered satanic and evil. After all, was this not how slavery was maintained and thrived in the continental US in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries? Were not the slaves considered by white (supremacist) landowners to be cursed by God, soulless and would never see the gates of heaven? Was this not how Apartheid was allowed to survive in the heart of black Africa ?
Racism. The same racism that allowed 800,000 Rwandan Hutus and Tutsis to die exactly 10 years ago while the so-called compassionate superpower focused on twiddling their thumbs. The same racism that refused to apologize for centuries of slavery at the Durban Conferences in South Africa on September 8, 2001.
Zakaria put it best when he told Matthews how Iraqis must feel: “We lost four on our side and they lost 700. What do you think that tells them? That their lives are not nearly as important?”
Firas Al-Atraqchi is a Canadian journalist of Iraqi heritage. Holding an MA in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has eleven years of experience covering Middle East issues, oil and gas markets, and the telecom industry. You can reach him at email@example.com
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