Roger Simon comments on something Lileks says about a post from Salam Pax. Being the big mouth I am I, of course, felt compelled to comment on Roger's comments.
At the end of my comment I wrote "Man, if I updated my blog as often as I comment on other's blogs I'd have several daily updates." So why don't I just start posting my comments here as well? Dunno.
Kinda seems like a decent idea. I've done it before, and rarely does a day go by that I don't rant on someone else's blog.
So here goes.
My take on Salam was that I enjoyed reading his blog, but that he was privileged. Considering how Iraq's situation that meant that his family was pretty well off compared to many. Anyone want to tell me what demographic was the 'privileged' one in Iraq?
I don't believe he was an Arab National Socialist supporter, or even that he was a member of the party. Being privileged his take on Iraq today is going to be different from many others, because they weren't as bad for him before the US smashed Saddam and his government as they were for most others.
Consider that if most of us had to go through a life change that left our living conditions similar to those who live in the backwoods of the Appalachians. Big change for the worse (even for me as a desert rat). The same change for Joe Haiti or Joe Somalia is a huge step up.
It's the same problem I have with riverbend. Privileged; so by her view her life is worse in many ways. I don't know if anyone reads it the same as I, but her writing exudes "privileged, spoiled child."
It strikes many Americans as being ungrateful for two reasons. The first is that looking from the outside and seeing the severe drought of murder, rape, and death that has come to exist in Iraq, we feel they are whining, and second because it is whiny.
The bottom line is that the United States has given the Iraqis a huge, invaluable gift. Certainly because it was in our own best interests, but one they could never earn on their own. What they do with it is important; will they cherish it, throw it away, or whine because it's the wrong color.
Obviously this kind of thing is not limited to the silver spoon set in Iraq. I recall a young fellow student in my drama class at Cal-State Bakersfield who was complaining that his parents were going to buy him a Mercedes if he kept his grades up (I don't think he was anything higher than a sophomore). It seems his parents were hitting on some hard times and he was going to have to settle for an Ford Explorer. Pretty irritating when you're just hoping your own Chevy Camaro POS just keeps running (the word you're looking for is envy).
On the other side of the coin was one young man who had a gorgeous, cherry classic Mustang that his father was going to let him keep when he graduated. The big difference is this young man had been massaging and restoring this car with his father since before he was old enough to have a license. He was allowed to use it for appointments, school and running errands. Aside from the fact that it was a classic, this young man was earning his car in a way that brought far more appreciation for it than the former young man would ever have.
That is close to where the Iraqis stand today. There are those who are working hard to take the opportunity the US has given them and to continue down that path earning the kind of country that is worthwhile. There are other's who will bitch because they weren't handed exactly what they want.
One last comment. I absolutely loved that POS Camaro I had. It was the first car I had ever bought and ever owned (my wife's cars don't count). It was something I owned. No one co-signed for it, no one else paid for it, and no one else helped me buy it. It was all mine in ways that go beyond a name on a pink slip. It's a darn good feeling and writing about that feeling, even now, brings a smile and a tight sadness in the pit of my stomach in a way that the first girl I kissed can never do.
Update: Daniel Drezner weighs in on the other side of the argument.
His argument is that since we encouraged the Iraqis to earn their freedom and they failed that we owed them American blood to do it for them. I've of the "Fuck you" opinion. It isn't our fault they couldn't earn their own freedom. It is our fault that we encouraged them to earn their freedom, as we have for many nations, but to say that we owed it to them to free them since they failed in their own aborted attempt is utter BS. His opinion suggests that either the US should stop encouraging liberty in other countries or that we should pay for it with American blood if other countries fail to earn it themselves.