Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm Stumped, Help Me...

In recent years, we have seen Iraqis fight with abandon.

With no care for what became of their own bodies, with no regard to what happens to their families, so many there have embraced suicide bombing and carried out missions that just seem irresistible. It's hard to fight someone who is fighting to die, especially if you are restricted to fighting by a civilized code (Abu Ghraib and others of Messrs Rumsfeld and Cheney's misdeeds aside, on which there will be another post another time).

For a moment, I want to set aside any debate on what inspires or motivates them - whether it's desperation, religion, brain-washing, patriotism, etc. Let's consider that only in the limited context that I am posing the question:

Where were these "brave" men when Saddam ruled over that land with an iron fist for decades? Just where were they? Why was it that whatever is "inspiring" them to "fight with whatever and everything they have" didn't come out against a sadistic ruler who just wouldn't go away, but it flows so easily against an effort to establish a system that gives them more power and a greater say. I have a few theories, but I could be wrong:
  1. Good ol' Tribalism - which says something along the lines "he may be wicked and stink, but he's OUR wicked and he's got OUT stench." Our stench is better than a "foreign perfume." Abuse at the hands of someone from MY TRIBE is better than something that benefits me at the hands of a FOREIGNER.
  2. Inertia: Yes, this is Uncle Isaac Newton's First Law. People resist change, they accept the old. So maybe Saddam faced some problems in his early days, but the generations that opened their eyes in the world with Saddam as the head, came to accept that as "normal." An attempt to change that even with the promise of something better is change and Newton can't have any of that - not without a fight.
  3. Things really were not that bad under Saddam: OK, I am putting this down to prove I am trying to be exhaustive in my brain-storming.
  4. People fighting now are those who were privileged under Saddam: Sort of like in Europe, it was harder for the serf class to start a rebellion. So the Kings kept the Lords and Nobles happy and everything was peaceful.
  5. Saddam crushed rebels more ruthlessly than Americans and Iraqi government dare: This could be true. There are reporters in Iraq now (how else would we get the video of the Shoe-Attack on President Bush?) and it's not just the official news state anymore. So Saddam could carpet bomb the rebels and bury them with bulldozers, and no one would find out?

Help me, I am confused. Where were the brave men of Iraq when Saddam plundered their land? got into one misadventure after another? Why was it so easy for him to suppress their yearning for self-determination?

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