Flimsy Sanity: Please listen to or read

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Please listen to or read

An Iraqi Rhapsody: Poet & Novelist Sinan Antoon on the U.S. Destruction of the Iraqi State, His Latest Novel and the Sad Statement that Iraq Was Better Under Saddam Hussein

I was not going to mention the war again, but this transcript from a Democracy Now interview on Friday pretty much says it all. Here is just some small snippets:

SINAN ANTOON: But the reality is, for average citizens and human beings, most of us would want to live under, you know -- when we have electricity, we have the basic services, we have water, there is police, there is order on the street. Most people, if they have this choice of living under dictatorship, while having electricity and water and knowing what the red lines are -- under Saddam, people knew what to do to stay alive. You don’t organize politically, of course. You don’t say anything against the regime. You can have a relatively safe life, that is, if you have no political ambitions and don’t say anything.

But now, it’s a complete collapse and chaos. You could be just walking down the street and be killed. So, of course, life was better under Saddam Hussein. Also, that does not mean that Saddam was better, but under Saddam Hussein there was something called the Iraqi state. I want to emphasize that what the US did is not only overthrow Saddam -- that’s a byproduct -- it destroyed the Iraqi state, which is something that took eighty-five years to build, all of its institutions and everything. That was not all the product of Saddam. Saddam was a latecomer. What the United States did is destroy an entire state, entire infrastructure, all of the institutions, so that there, you know -- so, of course, life was better when you had a system that was functioning.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about President Bush's July 4 speech. He gave it in West Virginia to the Air National Guard. He said, “Our first Independence Day celebration took place in the midst of war, a bloody and difficult struggle that would not end for six more years before America finally secured her freedom. More than two centuries later, it’s hard to imagine the Revolutionary War coming out any other way, but at the time America's victory was far from certain.”

SINAN ANTOON: It’s ludicrous. And, you know, not that presidents are necessarily always more intelligent, but it’s amazing, because it’s -- the analogy is flawed, because as, you know, a letter pointed out in the New York Times, it was the insurgents who won the war -- right? -- against British occupation. So this is the wrong example to use.

SINAN ANTOON: Even if there is withdrawal, it’s going to be withdrawal Israeli style, from urban centers to the military bases. Most people, Democrats and Republicans, are saying we are staying there for ten or fifty or sixty years. So all this talk about withdrawal is just to fool the American people. It’s withdrawal from the urban centers to the military bases that have been built there with millions and millions of dollars, and to let the natives kill each other. This is old colonial style: when it’s too costly, you let the natives kill each other, let the natives police each other.


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