Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Lisa from New York's Letter to Faiza


I would like to respond to the email you posted by “Todd”. I hope you realize that by posting this email and saying “thank you my dear friend” you are implying that you agree with it. I hope that’s not the case because I thought you were smarter than that.

According to Todd, America is an evil country that will kill your children to steal the oil from under your feet. America only cares about money, not people.

I know you must be aware that we just marked the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, a pivotal moment in a war that saw over 400,000 young Americans give their lives to free Western Europe from the clutches of Hitler. What did they steal? As Colin Powell said, the only land Americans asked for in Europe was enough to bury our dead. And afterward the U.S. gave millions and millions of its dollars, through the Marshall Plan, to reconstruct Japan and Germany and help turn them into the prosperous democracies they are today, despite the fact that they had threatened the entire Western world.

Todd says that America only confronted Saddam because we wanted your oil, and that there are many other dictators in the world we could confront. It’s true there are other dictators and other situations where America could intervene. Each situation is unique. Hitler was a dictator that America confronted. I don’t remember Germany having oil. America also confronted Milosevic in Bosnia (he was killing Muslims, remember?). We confronted him even though he was a Christian, he was killing Muslims, and there was no oil to steal. North Korea is a terrible dictatorship whose people are starving, but North Korea has nuclear weapons so it would be a worldwide catastrophe if a war started. Saddam never abided by the U.N. agreements imposed upon him after his invasion of Kuwait. That alone was reason enough to confront him, and to do it before he acquired nuclear weapons and created another situation like exists in North Korea.

Todd seems to think we are in Iraq to steal your resources. What resources? Oil? It will take years for Iraq to have the capacity to produce enough oil to support your economy. In the meantime, the U.S. is pouring literally billions of dollars (taxpayer dollars that come out of the pocket of every American) into Iraq. We are buying oil from neighboring countries, with our own money, so that Iraqis can continue to pay the cheap price of 5 cents a gallon for gasoline.

Meanwhile, the price of gasoline in the U.S. has risen to over $2 a gallon. Again, tell me how we’re stealing your oil. Never mind that fact that it would be absolutely impossible for the U.S. to “steal” Iraqi oil. If we even attempted such a thing, the world outcry from the U.N. and others would be deafening. We may someday buy your oil on the market, but we could do that before. We could have bought oil from Saddam and it would have been much cheaper than spending the billions we are in Iraq, as well as the price we are paying in blood. Regardless, the U.S. does not need Iraqi oil. We have oil reserves in the U.S. too, plus there are many other places to buy it from. Besides, we only buy about 15% of our oil from the Middle East.

Todd also seems very upset about the corporate and cultural influence of America. He thinks our “soda-pop” and cell-phones are brainwashing the world. I don’t remember seeing Americans force-feeding Coca-Cola down people’s throats, do you? If a product is popular, people around the world will buy it. Is that Coca-Cola’s fault? Is that America’s fault? You and Todd are aware, I’m sure, that the very internet you use to post your blog, and the email Todd uses to communicate with you, are American inventions. Somehow, this “sick” American society, which has only existed for a little over 200 years, has managed to invent more technologies, cure more diseases and bring prosperity and freedom to more people than all the Middle Eastern countries combined have done in the last 1,000 years. It’s why we have to work hard to protect our borders, or we would be overrun by the millions of people seeking to join this “sick” society.

Despite what Todd says, we have not been taught that you are “savage” and “uncivilized”. We have been told that you were oppressed by a dictator. Most Americans sincerely would like for Iraq to have a free, prosperous, happy future, believe it or not. I wonder if you realize, however, that there are two sides to every coin and that you may have been taught things about us that are untrue and that you may not understand us as you want us to understand you.

Showcasing a hateful email like Todd’s on your site, and implying you agree, is not much different than if I showcased an email from an anti-Semitic Nazi-sympathizer on my site. You’d better be sure you are prepared to be aligned with such people.

When you write your own thoughts about your life on your site, you open a door of understanding. When you allow others to use your site to further their hateful agenda, you shut that door. Is that really what you want to do?

Todd is not your "dear friend". Ask Todd what he has ever done for the Iraqi people. Ask Todd if he ever gave a second thought to the Iraqi people before America invaded. People like Todd harbor a rabid hatred of America that is out of proportion to any reality, and they will use you to further that agenda. But it doesn’t mean he gives a damn about you or your fellow Iraqis.

I sincerely wish you well in your life and I pray the car bombings in Iraq end. I hope your family stays safe. I know this is a tough period in your life. When you write about your life, I have understanding and empathy. Please continue to do that but please reconsider allowing your site to be used by others to further their own hateful agendas that have nothing to do with you. You only diminish yourself by aligning yourself with them.

Thank you, Lisa, for saying what a lot of us have felt but weren't able to articulate as well as you have.

UPDATE: Stay tuned, folks, this afternoon I'll be blogging on the latest babbling from Raed Jarrar. It won't be pretty. Mad Professor is going to use an EXTREMELY-SHARP RAPIER on that poodle in Amman. Zing! Zing! Zing!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Thanks for all the positive response to Lisa from New York's letter. Lisa has been posting with the Iraq Bloggers from Day One. She has always been reasonable and straightforward. Too often we pass by great comments like Lisa's and, at the same time, have to endure the dangerous and febrile and psychotic mumblings of the Raed Jarrar, the Hunter S. Thompson of the Iraqi Bloggers (hat tip: Mister Ghost) Tomorrow I will address Mr. Jarrar's "whooooaaaaa" and "hey dude" and "Saddam was MY leader."

FROM THE "THIS IS COMPLETELY NUTS" DEPARTMENT: Here's the story. There's a wall along a highway in Baghdad and behind which terrorists and ex-Baathists hide and when the Coalition forces drive by they pop up with RPGs and kill our soldiers. Yesterday Faiza Jarrar LAMENTED the fact that the EVIL AMERICANS KNOCKED DOWN THE WALL. What SHITE is this? Today Faiza is still crying over the POOR IRAQI WALL KNOCKED DOWN!! Please, someone, anyone, help me understand this.

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