Thursday, May 27, 2004

Knowing the enemy.

“Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

Many people accepted these words following 9/11. America, and the west in general, were shocked by those terrorist attacks motivated by utter hatred for civilization and humanity. I was one of those who agreed with this new concept and I don’t recall many objections to that phrase at those times, even from the Arab and Muslim governments.

As time passed, many people-including some Americans- seemed to have forgot all about those horrible attacks and started to view that concept as somewhat extreme and over reacting.

I still believe in the truth that lie in that phrase and the reason for this is that I have lived under Saddam. Thus I think I’m more aware of the nature of the enemy as a result of dealing with him day after day for all my life. We were either with Saddam or against him and there was no place in between, simply because the nature of that regime forced us to be either with or against. There was no place for negotiation or dialogue and the proofs for that are millions of dead, more than a million missing, more than 5 million refuge and hundreds of thousands of handicapped and the highest incidence rate of mental and psychological illnesses. Many of those were not against Saddam; they were just not with him.

The American administration comprehended the magnitude and the nature of the threat. This is nothing like the cold war because the enemy then was different. There was an ideology that disagreed with the west and claim to have noble goals and the communist project stimulate you to think deeply. Communism found itself forced to communicate with the opponent and even cooperate with him in trying to solve many problems in the world that didn’t serve the interests of either part.

When that enemy recognized that his ideology was on its way to be defeated, he surrendered with honor that makes you really respect him when you put in mind the massive military and political power he had. He gave up all his dreams and didn’t use violence because he didn’t want to destroy himself and the others.

At those times there were parts of the world that refuse to ally, at least not strongly, to either one of the superpowers. Some countries had the luxury of staying rather away from that conflict, and they had the option of approaching either side according to where their interests lied without risking a lot.

The policy of managing the crises was somewhat appropriate for those times and was not what can be considered as a bad policy. It was accompanied by many mistakes but it managed to protect the world from much worse expected disasters.

It seems that many people are still thinking in the same manner that was predominant at the cold war times. The majority of Americans and Iraqis grasp the nature of the threat as a result of their direct contact with the enemy and that needs to be shown to the others.

The new enemy differs from all the previous ones in that he doesn’t have or even claim to have any constructive ideology. He doesn’t bring us anything other than the seeds of death and destruction “either you surrender to me or I kill you”. As for an alternative ideology, it doesn’t exist. Moreover the willingness to initiate a dialogue was never expressed or shown to be a possibility.

This enemy don’t want to indulge himself in a productive talk, he never show himself in public except when he’s loaded with explosives and stern desire to kill as many people as possible regardless of their religion, ethnicity and nationality. His main goal is of course destruction of the western civilization, but he wouldn’t care if it involved taking the lives of even “Muslim brothers” during the course, as it's shown in Iraq. He says it frankly, “you’re either with me or against me” it was his choice in the first place not ours. Those who don’t believe in this will pay dearly, not at the hands of the Americans, for sure but at the hands of the terrorists whom they’re appeasing.

There’s no place in between in this war and that’s because of the nature of the enemy. That’s why I was never intimidated by the American administration’s speech. I see it as the closest thing to reality and I greatly commend the wisdom and courage of the other coalition countries that decide to join the US by benefiting from the experience of the others.

I think that the majority agrees that the international organizations that were founded after WW2 have proved to be too weak than to be trusted in leading humanity to make the right decisions. This is so obvious from their confusion during crises that only lead to further disturbance and add to the obstacles that face the countries that have the will and the means to solve those crises. The whole world should acknowledge the necessity of reviewing the performance of such organizations.

Now to the most important point: Is their any retreat in front of the enemy? Is there any regret and tendency to go back to managing crises instead of solving them? Is there really a will to go back and depend on stale organization like the UN to handle such a crucial issue as the future of Iraq?

I don’t know what exactly is on the mind of the American administration and what exactly their intentions are, but I know that it’s absolutely wrong in this stage and with the existing threats to go back to the old policy, and I know that the coalition has the capabilities and the strength to defeat the enemy.

This war demands great determination, patience and faith on the parts of the governments and the people. For me, an Iraqi citizen, the American administration has never failed me, not yet. I hope that they keep the course, otherwise the loss will be that of the whole humanity and I doubt if it can ever be overcome.

-By Mohammed.

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