Towards A Good Samaritan World

Monday, June 20, 2005

Nato has an update from the front lines. Actually, it's something better: an essay informed by his experience on the ground in Iraq, where he's serving as a soldier. (As an "MI," apparently, but I don't know what that is.)

This factoid struck me the most:

We are immensely unpopular amongst all but the Kurds - Even the Shia dislike us by at least a 2:1 margin. Yet at the end of the day, we'll get covert requests from community leaders that US soldiers accompany IA troops during house searches to prevent theft.

1) If this is true, then the Iraqi blogosphere is probably a bit more biased than I thought. Most of the Iraqi bloggers (certainly not all) seem to have a relatively positive attitude towards the US.

2) This reminds me a bit of Jesse Jackson getting in trouble for saying that he'd reached the age where, if he heard footsteps behind him in the street at night, and turned around to see that the person was white, he was relieved. Of course, it's rational: crime rates are higher for blacks, and anyone interested in self-preservation has a motive to be aware of this. But it was a scandal to admit. If Iraqis recognize that Americans are incorruptible while their own people are sometimes thieves, shouldn't that give them a positive attitude towards Americans? Yes, but people are under no obligation to be consistent; and people will do all sorts of intellectual gymnastics in order to sustain their self-esteem, individual and collective.


  • A few notes

    MI = Oxymoron Corps, aka Military Intelligence

    The report from which I'm taking my data is UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY, so while I'm not breaking any laws by releasing information from it, neither am I supposed to, say, put it on the internet. It's a correctly-conducted poll and is valid data, though conducting polls in Iraq is nontrivial, so the error margins were in the 6-9% range.

    Lastly, regarding the positive viewpoint of Iraqi bloggers: I'd like to point out that their relative mastery of English and frequent experience living outside of Iraq affords them a much wider perspective as well as implies that they probably derive less benefit/protection from the entrenched socio-economic system than the norm. Also, they're likely more socially adventurous in the first place, to be writing blogs. So they may be biased relative to the average Iraqi, but you might also say that they simply fail to share the normal biases of an Iraqi.

    By Blogger Nato, at 7:14 PM  

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