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Victor Davis Hanson: Our Primordial World, Pride and Envy are what make this war go 'round
NRO ^ | January 16, 2004 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 01/16/2004 5:48:37 AM PST by Tolik

Throughout the last two years of war, we have confronted a variety of what we thought were strange occurrences: the conquest of Iraq in a mere three weeks, the subsequent Iraqis' looting of their own infrastructure, the counterinsurgency operations inside the Sunni Triangle and the weird yearning there for cutthroat Saddam's return, the sudden wave of suicide bombings worldwide, and the split between old and new Europe. In many cases Americans have been bewildered by such developments, and have attempted to apply reason to a world that does not always care much for logic.

Following September 11, our therapeutic industry — the campuses, the media, the intelligentsia, and many on the political Left — almost immediately sprung into action to insist that such hideous terrorist acts were symptomatic of wide-scale poverty and oppression in the Middle East, much of it caused by the United States. True, Islamic fascism scavenges on the self-induced misery of hereditary autocracy so endemic in the Arab world; but the hijacking murderers of September 11 were themselves hardly poor or illiterate. And their mastermind bin Laden talked of pride, envy, and power — seldom poverty or inequality. This was a creature, after all, who belonged to a world of the "strong horse," "honor" killings, throwing shoes, and fist-shaking, more at home in the tenth than 21st century.

Where Americans see skill and subtlety in taking out Saddam Hussein and a costly effort to liberate a people, many Iraqis, even as they taste freedom, drive new cars, and see things improve, talk instead of humiliation, hurt pride, or anger at their own impotence — whether whining over the morticians' make-up work on Qusay, or ashamed about Saddam's pathetic televised dental examination. Iraqis scream on camera that we should not stay another minute, but even more often whisper that we better not leave yet. Too often they seem to be mostly angry that we, not they, took out Saddam Hussein. While the tyrant's departure was a "good" thing, it would have been even better had he killed a few thousand Americans in the process — if only to restore the sort of braggadocio lost by the Baathist flight and antics of a mendacious Baghdad Bob.

Israel suffers from the same dilemma of dealing with others' hurt pride as we do. It created a relatively humane society throughout the West Bank from 1967-1993 — and raised the standard of living, and promoted individual freedom for Palestinians in way impossible elsewhere in the Arab world. But all that won no gratitude; instead, it stoked the fury arising from Arabs' sense of weakness and self-contempt. In the world of the Palestinian lobster bucket, Israel's great sin is not bellicosity or aggression, but succeeding beyond the wildest dreams of its neighbors. How humiliating it must be to be incapable of even muttering the word "Israel" (hence the need for "Zionist entity"), but nevertheless preferring an Israeli to a Palestinian ID card.

Indeed Anwar Sadat, by his own admission, went to war in 1973 not to liberate outright the Sinai (that was militarily impossible), but to show the Arab world he could surprise — and for three to four days even stun — the Israelis, and thereby restore the wounded "pride" of the Egyptians. We think that the total encirclement of his Third Army was a terrible defeat — saved from abject annihilation by American diplomacy and Soviet threat. Egyptians saw it instead as a source of honor that it even got across the canal.

We are puzzled, too, at the fury of the "old" Europeans. We think, somehow, that such sophisticated Westerners have surely transcended Middle Eastern tribal chauvinism, and must have other legitimate grounds for their strange new religion of anti-Americanism. But is their venom any surprise, really? Has a Germany or France really left its past behind? The Cold War was merely a tranquilizer that suppressed all the old human urges and appetites, a sort of forced unity brought on by the shared fear of nuclear annihilation — one that disappeared the minute Soviet divisions creaked on home.

The old truth that resurfaced was that the United States destroyed the Spanish empire in 1898, and was pivotal in derailing the Prussian imperial dream in 1918 and in annihilating the Third Reich. It inherited by default much of the role of the British dominion, did nothing in Suez, Algeria, or Southeast Asia to rescue the tottering French Empire, and almost alone bankrupted and dismantled the Soviet imperium. In other words, past notions of European grandeur are no more — and somewhere in that equation of ruin were the mongrel, tasteless Americans, who are now at it again, ending rather easily the fascistic cabals of Milosevic, Mullah Omar, and Saddam Hussein.

Reasonable people might suggest that Europeans and Russians would welcome these events, as no sane person could be fond of today's megalomaniacs, or even the legacy of monsters like Napoleon, Hitler, or Stalin. But then Dominique de Villepin wrote a hagiography of the little emperor, and Russians talk grandly of the old days when Soviets were feared and respected, not denizens of a motley conglomeration of squabbling, corrupt republics from Chechnya to Georgia.

So even our dealings with a more sophisticated Europe are not exempt from such awakened reptilian instincts. Revelations of recent German and French arms sales, French unilateral intervention in the Ivory Coast, the thousands who perished in the August heat wave in Paris, the spooky election-rhetoric in Germany, the holocaust in the Balkans, the oil deals with Saddam Hussein, the wave of anti-Semitism across Europe, or the callous policy toward Israel — all manifestly reveal Old Europe to be hardly a moral place, but in fact one that narrowly protects its own interests, falls back on bias and hate, and indulges in petty nationalism.

Thus we can dispense with the canard that European hostility toward us is enlightened and has much to do with a genuine feeling that a retrograde United States alone endangers the health and safety of the planet. Instead that deductive hostility has everything to do with the sense of European hurt over how successful our boorish nation should not be.

What are we to do? In fact, very little can be done. Perhaps all we can hope for is to understand rather than ameliorate these pathologies, and whenever possible combine tough love with magnanimity. We need to draw as many troops out of Europe as fast as we can within parameters of military sobriety. Only that way will so-called allies ever shoulder their own defense burdens and thereby regain a sense of national accomplishment. Until then we must respond twofold to every verbal assault on us, even as we praise every European minesweeper, canteen, or police contingent that is now in Afghanistan and Iraq — all the while expecting not much more than a grunt or two of appreciation that we are leading the way.

Our universities laugh at these Thucydidean impulses like fear, honor, pride, and envy, and instead cite either economic rationalism — states war because they need or want things — or deep-seated religious or racial hatred. Such rational catalysts can indeed play a role in conflict, especially civil wars, but — as Donald Kagan wrote about wars from antiquity to the Cuban Missile Crisis — they are rarely alone the prime causes of wars. The Falklands were about as necessary to Argentines' national security or gross national product as the Moroccan rocks in the Mediterranean are to Spain, or the Druze villages in the Golan Heights are to Syria. Saddam had enough oil without Iran or Kuwait, and China wasn't looking for oil, farmland, or seeking to implant communism when it invaded Vietnam.

The realization that we have not yet evolved past these baser impulses is critical in this war, since victory entails not merely the military defeat of our often tribal adversaries, but a careful combination of humiliating enemies while allowing credit to go to envious allies and the once defeated. "Hearts and minds" refers not merely to bequeathing good schools, utilities, and safety to Iraqis, but to restoring the pride of the Iraqi people. The trick is for Americans, who sacrifice lives and treasure, and are singularly responsible for the salvation of the Iraqi people, to ignore Arab ingratitude, callousness, and mean-spiritedness and allow them instead the sense of accomplishment that they saved, and are restoring, their own country.

At the risk of sounding monotonous, we cannot win in Iraq until Iraqis, not Americans, are on television — confidently summing up the reconstruction that we in fact are mostly responsible for. All the tiring shoe-shaking, fists in the air, banners, fatwas, and demonstrating we have seen in Iraq — not to mention the dead-end sniping and killing from a dying cabal of criminals — are not explicable just through political or economic gripes, but revolve mostly around wounded pride and a sense of disgrace.

But are not we ourselves subject to these same age-old pathologies? After all, the critics of Mr. Bush claim he went to war to parade American machismo — remember "Smoke 'em out," "Dead or Alive," and "Bring 'em out?" Of course, we are not immune to insecurities, but there are a few mitigating factors that render us less prone to hemorrhaging pride and tribal angst. First, we are the world's most powerful state — indeed, whether we like it or not, the most powerful entity in the history of civilization. With twelve carrier battle groups and another twelve marine transport carriers, we don't have to talk ad nauseam about something as small and insignificant as the Charles de Gaul. When we refer to the Marine Corps we mean a military larger than any single land army in Europe.

Second, and regrettably, Americans are not by nature much interested in the rest of the globe, given our wealth, obsessive consumerism, and self-absorption. The world thought our weak response to past Iranian hostage-taking, the abrupt pull-out from Vietnam, and the insanely stupid withdrawal from Lebanon were catastrophic signs of American weakness as well as dangerous concessions that might encourage our enemies' boldness. And they were absolutely right.

But many Americans? Sure, they were angry at Iranians, Arabs, and Communists. But most were just happy that the hostages came home, and thought the fewer Iranian nuts to hog the news all to the good. The less Americans saw of the Bekka Valley and the more of Cheers!, the better. The fist-shaking of the Arab Street can't even compete with 30-year-old M.A.S.H. reruns.

Third, the stuff of collective ego and insecurity is often a uniform race, religion, or class that only fuels sensitivity to nationalist insults and perceived slights. America in contrast has always been a brew of faiths, colors, and ethnicities, united by shared values and concerned more with money than with accent, birth, or pedigree. So again, while we are patriotic and don't like bullies, most Americans don't much care about a national ego that must be fed and coddled by other countries. On almost any given day we turn on the television, surf the news channel, see here an Arab burning an American flag, there a European anti-globalization protester torching an effigy of George Bush, yawn, perhaps mumble out loud "Can't these losers get a life," and then plug in a DVD or hit HBO.

As Mr. Bush has grasped, every time we have humiliated our enemies we have gained respect and won security. By the same token, on each occasion we have shown deference to a Mr. Karzai, the Iraqi interim government, and our Eastern European friends, we have helped to create security and stability. Apart from the model of our forefathers who crushed and then lifted up the Germans and Japanese, we could find no better guide in this war than William Tecumseh Sherman and Abraham Lincoln — in that order. The former would remind us that our enemies traffic in pride and thus first must be disabused of it through defeat and humiliation. The latter (who turned Sherman and Grant lose) would maintain that we are a forgiving sort, who prefer restored rather than beaten people as our friends.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bush; eu; europe; france; germany; iraq; israel; russia; spain; uk; vdh; victordavishanson; waronterror; wot

1 posted on 01/16/2004 5:48:39 AM PST by Tolik
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To: seamole; xkaydet65; Fury; .cnI redruM; xsysmgr; yonif; SJackson; monkeyshine; Alouette; ...
Victor Davis Hanson moral clarity huge BUMP  [please freepmail me if you want or don't want to be pinged to Victor Davis Hanson articles]

If you want to bookmark his articles discussed at FR: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/k-victordavishanson/browse

His NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp


2 posted on 01/16/2004 5:50:35 AM PST by Tolik
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Brilliant, practically defies excerption. Some best quotes:

...  Americans [...] have attempted to apply reason to a world that does not always care much for logic.

Following September 11, our therapeutic industry — the campuses, the media, the intelligentsia, and many on the political Left — almost immediately sprung into action to insist that such hideous terrorist acts were symptomatic of wide-scale poverty and oppression in the Middle East, much of it caused by the United States.

True, Islamic fascism scavenges on the self-induced misery of hereditary autocracy so endemic in the Arab world; but the hijacking murderers of September 11 were themselves hardly poor or illiterate. And their mastermind bin Laden talked of pride, envy, and power — seldom poverty or inequality. This was a creature, after all, who belonged to a world of the "strong horse," "honor" killings, throwing shoes, and fist-shaking, more at home in the tenth than 21st century.

Where Americans see skill and subtlety in taking out Saddam Hussein and a costly effort to liberate a people, many Iraqis, even as they taste freedom, drive new cars, and see things improve, talk instead of humiliation, hurt pride, or anger at their own impotence ....

Israel suffers from the same dilemma of dealing with others' hurt pride as we do. It created a relatively humane society throughout the West Bank from 1967-1993 — and raised the standard of living, and promoted individual freedom for Palestinians in way impossible elsewhere in the Arab world. But all that won no gratitude; instead, it stoked the fury arising from Arabs' sense of weakness and self-contempt. In the world of the Palestinian lobster bucket, Israel's great sin is not bellicosity or aggression, but succeeding beyond the wildest dreams of its neighbors. How humiliating it must be to be incapable of even muttering the word "Israel" (hence the need for "Zionist entity"), but nevertheless preferring an Israeli to a Palestinian ID card.


3 posted on 01/16/2004 5:57:35 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik
He's the best. I find myself e-mailing his columns to people all over the world.
4 posted on 01/16/2004 6:03:11 AM PST by Renfield
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To: Tolik
Another great column from VDH, but he needs an editor who's paying attention. Lobster pot? I think more would immediately grasp the metaphor with "crab pot". There are few of either in inland CA, I presume (VDH's home).

And at the end, we have:

"The latter (who turned Sherman and Grant lose) would maintain that we are a forgiving sort, who prefer restored rather than beaten people as our friends."

This is that rare exception where "lose" should have been "loose", as opposed to the converse. Again, need for an editor.
5 posted on 01/16/2004 6:08:42 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: Renfield
Same here. I find it next to impossible to highlight the best parts (as it is my old habit) because all parts are the best.
6 posted on 01/16/2004 6:11:28 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik
The realization that we have not yet evolved past these baser impulses is critical in this war, since victory entails not merely the military defeat of our often tribal adversaries, but a careful combination of humiliating enemies while allowing credit to go to envious allies and the once defeated.

Humiliation. The sight of the dissheveled Saddam perhaps? The humiliation factor could not have been achieved without the toppling of the region's biggest bully, IMHO.

In his books, VDH often points out that capitulation of allied enemies often takes the form of realignment of power. What we are witnessing in Lybia, Syria, Iran, etc. is just that, and it always FOLLOWS the humiliation.

7 posted on 01/16/2004 6:16:28 AM PST by wayoverontheright
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To: Tolik
I assume you've seen this work?
8 posted on 01/16/2004 6:20:52 AM PST by ArneFufkin
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More quotes:

Reasonable people might suggest that Europeans and Russians would welcome these events, as no sane person could be fond of today's megalomaniacs, or even the legacy of monsters like Napoleon, Hitler, or Stalin. But then Dominique de Villepin wrote a hagiography of the little emperor, and Russians talk grandly of the old days when Soviets were feared and respected, not denizens of a motley conglomeration of squabbling, corrupt republics from Chechnya to Georgia.

Revelations of recent German and French arms sales, French unilateral intervention in the Ivory Coast, the thousands who perished in the August heat wave in Paris, the spooky election-rhetoric in Germany, the holocaust in the Balkans, the oil deals with Saddam Hussein, the wave of anti-Semitism across Europe, or the callous policy toward Israel — all manifestly reveal Old Europe to be hardly a moral place, but in fact one that narrowly protects its own interests, falls back on bias and hate, and indulges in petty nationalism.

Thus we can dispense with the canard that European hostility toward us is enlightened and has much to do with a genuine feeling that a retrograde United States alone endangers the health and safety of the planet. Instead that deductive hostility has everything to do with the sense of European hurt over how successful our boorish nation should not be.

What are we to do? In fact, very little can be done. Perhaps all we can hope for is to understand rather than ameliorate these pathologies, and whenever possible combine tough love with magnanimity.

 

9 posted on 01/16/2004 6:22:20 AM PST by Tolik
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To: ArneFufkin
Yes, thank you. It was discussed here as well, twice:

Victor Davis Hanson: Iraq's Future – and Ours
Posted by quidnunc
On 01/02/2004 4:05:00 PM EST with 31 comments


Commentary Magazine ^ | January 2004 | Victor Davis Hanson
On November 21, 2003, some minor rocket attacks on the Iraqi oil ministry and on two hotels in Baghdad elicited an exceptional amount of attention in the global media. What drew the interest of journalists were the terrorists' mobile launchers: they were crude donkey carts. This peculiar juxtaposition of 8th- and 21st-century technology was taken as emblematic of the entire American experience in Iraq — an increasingly hopeless clash between our overwhelming conventional strength and stealthy terrorists able to turn our own lethal means against us with cheap and ubiquitous native materials. How could we possibly win this contest, when...
 

Iraq's Future—and Ours (note: long piece)
Posted by Valin
On 01/01/2004 10:09:01 AM EST with 13 comments


Commentary Magazine ^ | Jan. 04 | Victor Davis Hanson
ON NOVEMBER 21, 2003, some minor rocket attacks on the Iraqi oil ministry and on two hotels in Baghdad elicited an exceptional amount of attention in the global media. What drew the interest of journalists were the terrorists' mobile launchers: they were crude donkey carts. This peculiar juxtaposition of 8th- and 21st-century technology was taken as emblematic of the entire American experience in Iraq—an increasingly hopeless clash between our overwhelming conventional strength and stealthy terrorists able to turn our own lethal means against us with cheap and ubiquitous native materials. How could we possibly win this contest, when an illiterate...


10 posted on 01/16/2004 6:26:24 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik
Professor Hanson hits some good points and, as always, with interesting turns of phrase. His theme about pride, though, is one of special interest to me.

It is seemingly impossible for an Arab in the media to discuss a point of policy- America's, Israel's, Arafat's, Osama's, whatever- without mentioning the words "pride,", "humiliation", or "dignity", and the perceived wounding or restoration of them.

I am very interested to learn more about this phenomenon, where the perception of humiliation or emasculation drives Arabic speakers to do such despicable things. Especially because perception is all in your head. What is the source of this feeling? Why is it so prevalent? Why do people believe it and perpetuate it?

Similarly, why can't they open a business, or send their children to a respectable school, or work hard and have a good family, or otherwise better their own lives, and draw pride from those things, instead of their entire self image based around the perception of the Arab nation's lack of military or cultural power?

If anyone could direct me to any works (English only please- maybe auf Deutsch if not too dense) on the topic of Arab pride, and its relationship to policy and international relations, I would be thankful.

11 posted on 01/16/2004 6:36:53 AM PST by Gefreiter
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To: Tolik
bump.
12 posted on 01/16/2004 6:51:38 AM PST by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
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To: LibertyThug
VDH bump
13 posted on 01/16/2004 6:59:24 AM PST by Akira (The people have spoken.....the bastards.)
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To: Tolik
Great article.

This reminds me of something I read about the Iraq war that really made me laugh. It seems that our psych ops troops understood something about Arab pride, so they'd drive Humvees with loudspeakers praising Iraqi males, asking them to stay at home during the invasion, and saying they will be important to building a free Iraq in the future. They also had a message for the irregular militia men -- saying they were impotent. The report I read said this enraged the militia fighters so much they'd come out shooting from behind their cover, where our combat forces could quickly send them on to the next world.

Does anyone else remember reading a news report like this?

14 posted on 01/16/2004 7:18:30 AM PST by 68skylark
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To: Tolik
VDH bump.
15 posted on 01/16/2004 7:19:05 AM PST by metesky (My investment program is holding steady @ $.05 a can.)
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To: FreedomPoster
I thought the metaphor about Iranians "hogging" the television is just great -- I like the way he associates Muslim trouble-makers with swine.
16 posted on 01/16/2004 7:22:51 AM PST by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark
Yes, I read that as well. If you were looking for the article, I believe it was in the mainstream press. If I'm misremembering, maybe it was military.com? Stars 'n Stripes?
17 posted on 01/16/2004 7:23:12 AM PST by Gefreiter
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To: 68skylark
I did not see this report. If true, it's a great news. It means that somebody really did his homework well.
18 posted on 01/16/2004 7:23:23 AM PST by Tolik
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To: 68skylark
No, but it sounds like something that would work, and that we would do.
19 posted on 01/16/2004 7:35:50 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: Gefreiter
There is a book called The Arab Mind... (I don't remember the author, sorry) that might be helpful.

Plus, Bernard Lewis has several books out that you might find useful... What Went Wrong, Crisis in Islam are two that come to mind.

20 posted on 01/16/2004 7:36:17 AM PST by carton253 (It's time to draw your sword and throw away the scabbard... General TJ Jackson)
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To: Gefreiter
Even though it is a work of fiction, The Haj by Leon Uris is another good book to read.
21 posted on 01/16/2004 7:40:21 AM PST by carton253 (It's time to draw your sword and throw away the scabbard... General TJ Jackson)
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To: 68skylark
No, but it's so funny I hope it's true.
22 posted on 01/16/2004 7:51:23 AM PST by alnitak ("That kid's about as sharp as a pound of wet liver" - Foghorn Leghorn)
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To: Tolik
BTTT for one of our finest historians.
23 posted on 01/16/2004 8:00:38 AM PST by Gritty ("we are a forgiving sort, preferring restored rather than beaten people as our friends.-VD Hanson)
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To: Tolik
Where Americans see skill and subtlety in taking out Saddam Hussein and a costly effort to liberate a people, many Iraqis, even as they taste freedom, drive new cars, and see things improve, talk instead of humiliation, hurt pride, or anger at their own impotence — whether whining over the morticians' make-up work on Qusay, or ashamed about Saddam's pathetic televised dental examination. Iraqis scream on camera that we should not stay another minute, but even more often whisper that we better not leave yet.

Iraqi poll results regarding Saddam Hussein's capture
These polls conducted by the Iraqi Center for Research and Strategic Studies (ICRSS) were published in Azzaman daily Baghdad edition two days ago. I searched the web to see if they had a website but unfortunately they don't seem to have one yet so I took the liberty to translate and publish the results here.

Dr. Sa'dun Al-Dulaymi head of the ICRSS stated that the surveys were carried out in eight major Iraqi cities and that a thousand Iraqis participated. Here are the complete results.

Distribution percentage of participants:
Baghdad 32%
Arbil 15%
Diyala 7%
Basrah 15%
Karbala 10%
Mosul 11%
Ramadi 6%
Faluja 4%

Gender of participants:
Male 81%
Female 19%

Education:
Illiterate 9%
Primary 20%
Intermediate 18%
Secondary 19%
Bachelor degree 15%
Associate degree 18%
Professional degree 1%

1)What was your reaction to Saddam Hussein's capture?

Overwhelming joy 59%
Shock and confusion 20%
Sadness 16%
None of my concern 5%

2)Are you personally convinced that it was really Saddam who was captured?

Yes 86.9%
No 13.1%

3)Do you think that Saddam deserves a fair trial?

Yes 84%
No 16%

4)Do you prefer that Saddam be tried by:

An Iraqi court? 60%
An Iraqi court with International advisors? 15%
An International court of justice? 25%

5)What is the fair judgement you believe Saddam deserves?

Execution 56%
Imprisonment 25%
Clemency 19%

6)What do you think a speedy trial of Saddam would achieve?

It would prevent an internal schism or conflict 45%
It would ensure security and stability 30%
It would increase chaos 14%
It would help end the occupation 10%
Others 1%

7)How do you think Saddam's capture would affect the resistance?

Decrease resistance activities 53%
Increase resistance activities 27%
Cessation of resistance 20%

8)How do you see Saddam's capture?

He surrendered without resistance 52.4%
He was drugged or anaesthetized 31.5%
He was taken by surprise 12.6%
Others 3.4%

9)Which is more important to you?

Providing security 54.9%
Providing fuel 35.8%
Saddam's capture 34.4%
Providing electricity 28.8%
Improving the economic situation 5.3%

10)Do you agree that those who suffered from the regime should be compensated?

Yes 12%
No 88%

11)How do you consider Saddam's policies and actions on the following issues:

A)The Iraq-Iran war:

Crime 77%
Justified action 23%

B)Invading Kuwait:

Crime 79%
Justified action 21%

C)Attacking Israel in 1991:

Crime 18%
Justified action 82%

D)Mass graves:

Crime 81%
Justified action 19%

E)Gasing the Kurds:

Crime 87%
Justified action 13%

F)Forced deportation:

Crime 82%
Justified action 18%

G)Killing religious and national figures:

Crime 83%
Justified action 17%


For more information about ICRSS and the survey you can email icrss@hotmail.com


# posted by zeyad : 12/30/2003 08:21:03 PM
http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/archives/2003_12_01_healingiraq_archive.html
24 posted on 01/16/2004 8:20:42 AM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: Tolik; xzins; Calpernia; TEXOKIE; Alamo-Girl; blackie; windchime; getgoing; PhilDragoo; SandRat; ...
Thanks, Tolik. Good post.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Mr. Bush has grasped, every time we have humiliated our enemies we have gained respect and won security. By the same token, on each occasion we have shown deference to a Mr. Karzai, the Iraqi interim government, and our Eastern European friends, we have helped to create security and stability. Apart from the model of our forefathers who crushed and then lifted up the Germans and Japanese, we could find no better guide in this war than William Tecumseh Sherman and Abraham Lincoln — in that order. The former would remind us that our enemies traffic in pride and thus first must be disabused of it through defeat and humiliation. The latter (who turned Sherman and Grant lose) would maintain that we are a forgiving sort, who prefer restored rather than beaten people as our friends.

25 posted on 01/16/2004 8:22:45 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
GWB Is The Man!
26 posted on 01/16/2004 8:39:40 AM PST by blackie
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To: Gefreiter
I used Google,typed in "arab pride" and found there are many articles that mention it.
27 posted on 01/16/2004 8:51:19 AM PST by MEG33 (We Got Him!)
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To: Gefreiter; Tolik; FreedomPoster; alnitak
I think I found the article I was referencing:

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3068575/

Before plunging into Iraq, U.S. psychological-warfare operators studied certain cultural stereotypes.

One was that young Arab toughs cannot tolerate insults to their manhood. So, as American armored columns pushed down the road to Baghdad, 400-watt loudspeakers mounted on Humvees would, from time to time, blare out in Arabic that Iraqi men are impotent. The Fedayeen, the fierce but undisciplined and untrained Iraqi irregulars, could not bear to be taunted. Whether they took the bait or saw an opportunity to attack, many Iraqis stormed out of their concealed or dug-in positions, pushing aside their human shields in some cases—to be slaughtered by American tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. “What you say is many times more important than what you do in this part of the world,” says a senior U.S. psy-warrior.

28 posted on 01/16/2004 9:16:07 AM PST by 68skylark
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To: Valin
Thanks for the info. Very interesting. Generally, very assuring with one glaring exception: everything Saddam did is judged by Iraqis now as a crime in 4:1 ratio, but attacking Israel in 1991 judged to be justified with the same 4:1 majority. Indeed, hate of Jews requires no reason.
29 posted on 01/16/2004 9:22:30 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik
Hanson for Secretary of State!
30 posted on 01/16/2004 12:02:14 PM PST by Democratshavenobrains
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: NZerFromHK
Apologies for the formatting. Here's the corrected post:

The old truth that resurfaced was that the United States ...inherited by default much of the role of the British dominion

I'm not sure about the case for other countries, but it does explain much of the anti-Americanism among the "old" Right and "new" Left in the UK and English-speaking Commonwealth countries. Is it a surprise that

1) The former Dominions that used to feel the most sense of cultural and moral superiority over America by virtue of their ties to "Mother Britain" (I'm thinking primarily of New Zealand and Canada) are today the most anti-American and UN-pandering English-speaking countries?

2) Some British people nostalgic to the Empire are looking for a) reduction of America's status to another New Zealand, and b) the European Union (and subsequently the United States of Europe) become the "new" British Empire with lots of overseas "dominions"?

3) Many of today's animal-rights, anti-globalization, pro-Saddam activists are sons and daughters of yesteryears' colonial ruling classes or aristocracies?

It seems to me that these aren't coincidences.

32 posted on 01/16/2004 3:50:45 PM PST by NZerFromHK
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To: Tolik
Great post, and thanks for making it.

The world thought our weak response to past Iranian hostage-taking, the abrupt pull-out from Vietnam, and the insanely stupid withdrawal from Lebanon were catastrophic signs of American weakness as well as dangerous concessions that might encourage our enemies' boldness. And they were absolutely right.

We have paid a hundred times over for these actions, and in large measure we still are. What Vietnam taught an entire generation of anti-American activists is that an incessant campaign in the media and on campus can effect the foreign policy of a country whose military predominance makes a direct influence by force impossible.

I'd add the example of Somalia to this sad list. And this isn't a partisan issue, or shouldn't be - the administrations responsible for these responses in Vietnam, Iran, Lebanon, and Somalia, were the Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton administrations, respectively. Two Democratic, two Republican. To bring this issue into partisan politics in the face of this evidence is shortsighted and foolish. It makes for lovely demagoguery, and that's about it.

33 posted on 01/16/2004 4:12:34 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Tolik
Brilliant, practically defies excerption

I've had the same difficulty with VDH - and I'm a professional excerpter, if there is such a word.

Many thanks.

34 posted on 01/16/2004 7:25:38 PM PST by Kryptonite
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To: Heuristic Hiker
Victor Davis Hanson ping
35 posted on 01/16/2004 8:11:24 PM PST by Utah Girl
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To: Tolik
VDH enthusiastic bump!!!!!
36 posted on 01/17/2004 12:31:16 AM PST by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump!
37 posted on 01/17/2004 1:00:24 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: Tolik
It's not about pride.It's all about power.
38 posted on 01/17/2004 1:03:52 AM PST by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll keep getting what you always get)
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To: Gefreiter
Gefreiter wrote:

Professor Hanson hits some good points and, as always, with interesting turns of phrase. His theme about pride, though, is one of special interest to me.
What is the source of this feeling? Why is it so prevalent? Why do people believe it and perpetuate it?


______________________________________

"The continuous disasters of man's history are mainly due to his excessive capacity and urge to become identified with a tribe, nation, church or cause, and to espouse its credo uncritically and enthusiastically, even if its tenets are contrary to reason, devoid of self-interest and detrimental to the claims of self-preservation.
We are thus driven to the unfashionable conclusion that the trouble with our species is not an excess of aggression, but an excess capacity for fanatical devotion."
-Arthur Koestler-


Fanaticism, -- overzealous pride in a tribe, a nation, a church or a cause, is our problem..

Live & let live is the american constitutional solution.. --- One that very few americans can follow to its logical conclusion, as does Hanson..

He concludes that we must use our power to temper justice with a type of mercy.. One that allows our enemy to live with pride & let us live with ours.
Hanson concludes:

" -- we could find no better guide in this war than William Tecumseh Sherman and Abraham Lincoln — in that order. The former would remind us that our enemies traffic in pride and thus first must be disabused of it through defeat and humiliation.
The latter (who turned Sherman and Grant loose) would maintain that we are a forgiving sort, who prefer restored rather than beaten people as our friends."


39 posted on 01/17/2004 2:08:29 AM PST by tpaine (I'm trying to be 'Mr Nice Guy', but FRs flying monkey squad brings out the Rickenbacher in me.)
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To: NZerFromHK
Thanks for the new perspective. It's worth pondering.
40 posted on 01/17/2004 1:58:30 PM PST by Tolik
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