Home By Marquel War Ha What Is It Good For?

War Ha What Is It Good For?

Marquel, TPVs NYTimes War What Is It Good For Section correspondent, was searching his closets for some gun powder, when he read U.S. Actions in Iraq Fueled Rise of a Rebel. Most of the political changes that fueled the fight of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, were born directly from some American action. He is our Frankenstein, Marquel thought. But how did we manage to do what was so obviously wrong to anybody with half a brain.

The story of Baghdadi is the story of or entire mistaken Middle eastern policy. It depends on killing the bad guys so that only the good guys are left. Then it depends on our making friends with the good guys.
That involves two serious mistakes, Marquel knew. First of all, there are limitless bad guys so killing is not even part of the solution. Second, there are no good guys. For some reason we seemed to have understood The Great Satan to be kind of a joke, created by a primitive people with completely empty heads.
So if killing bad guys only created new bad guys, and if there are no good guys for us to be friends with, is there any American strategy that can work? Of course not, but American optimism, a kind of self inflicted schizophrenia, refuses to accept that all too obvious fact.
So Marquel decided to go speak to some experts. Not American experts, if such a person were possible. But Muslim experts.
I went to two mosques, one downtown, one uptown and explained I wanted to speak to Iraqis. I sat down with the first one and explained my preliminary views.
“Wow,” he said, you really don’t like America do you?” He asked.
“Of course I do,” I said, ” I just don’t like it being a international thug. That’s not the America I grew up with.”
“Well as a Muslim in America, I wouldn’t dare voice those views,” he said.
“I understand that problem and its unfortunate because it’s not what America is about. It also doesn’t allow us to learn the truth. So let’s keep our conversation confidential and your identity well never be learned.” I assured him.
“What do you want to know?” He asked.
“How did the US create this guy Baghdadi?” I asked.
“I thought these were going to be hard questions.” He said.
“So did I,” I said.
“Well it’s not. I was in Iraq then. Do you remember when the US was determined to get rid of the leader of Iraq al Qaeda, a guy named al-Zarqawi?”
“Actually I do.” I said
“Why did they want to kill him?” He asked.
“I don’t know.” I said.
“Didn’t they know he was the leader of a group and when they killed him, he’d be replaced?” He asked.
“I don’t know” I said.
“Do you know al-Zarqawi was kind of an inefficient leader?” He asked.
“No,” I said.
“Do you know who took his place?” He asked.
“No,” I said.
“Baghdadi, who is a much more efficient leader, and now owns half of Iraq and Syria. And although the US denied it, they kept him in prison for five years and tortured him. He had done nothing.”
“So killing isn’t the answer.” I said.
“Not if there is a limitless pool of replacements.” He said. “I think you killed him to make Bush look good. You know what? That must makes Iraqis hate you more. We’re not stupid.”
“I think Americans think you are.” I said. “So killing was dumb. How about making friends?” I wondered.
“You should go to my friend downtown. He’ll tell you what kind of friends Iraqis can be.” He said.
Downtown I spoke to his friend. Inside the mosques looked identical.
“I was told you could help me understand Iraqi friendship,” I said.
“They are the same as everyone else. You be their friend, they’ll be your friend.”
“So what about Americans?” I questioned.
“Americans have not been friends. They have killed us, our families, our babies, our friends, our leaders, everyone. It would be impossible to be friends with America for at least a century.” He said.
“So what should we do?” I asked.
“Nothing. You are like poison. Everything you touch gets burnt with American arrogance.” He said.
“It’s that bad,” I remarked.
“Worse. The American Satan is not just words. I think it is important if even one American understood that every Iraqi from the oldest to the youngest, hates America. They hate us with a passion that cannot be extinguished. Do you think you can understand that kind of hate? If so you can understand that there can be no friendship for at least a century.”
I think I understand that,” I said.
He put his arm around me, we hugged, and he said, “I am deeply sorry it cannot be otherwise.”
I left thinking that killing clearly is not a good strategy and friendship isn’t an option. In such a situation, sane people
just learn to keep their distance. We don’t seem sane.



  1. I know you come to laugh and I gypped you today. But I’ve been listening to some secret CIA interrogation tapes that Mufi misfiled in his rap collection. They’re very funny. Maybe I can give you the background of today’s story.


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