If you aren’t living under a rock, you would know the current conflict in Iraq is a very real and very serious issue. It has left me very conflicted with a lot of things. On one hand, I know that the United States was 100% in the wrong with going in there in the first place. It has almost everything to do with what is happening today. On the other, I can’t see us having anything good come out of trying to fix what we caused.
Over the last month, ISIS has moved across Iraq almost like a game of Risk. I apologize for the analogy, but it’s true. Iraqi soldiers and police have been losing on every front as they slowly work toward the capital, capturing strategic areas one right after the other. It’s a very real issue, and I feel utterly terrible to be an American right now. My country under the Bush Administration ransacked the country under false pretences that there were weapons of mass destruction. It can be a very serious feeling of guilt to be a part of a country that its government did that the people did not want done.
We are faced with even more guilt now, because we don’t want to go back to Iraq to clean up the mess we left, as well as caused. It has led me to believe and come to only one conclusion. This was either completely our doing, or it was inevitable and we only sped up the process. Speaking a lot with the secular community, I have gotten about the same conclusions from others. It’s a very difficult situation and those that seriously want to help those suffering have their hands tied.
A friend of mine on Facebook and very prominent middle-eastern Atheist Faisal Saeed Al Mutar has been describing the feelings he has had watching as his country Iraq is spiralling out of control. I feel sincerely petrified and horrible for him, and his countries innocent people having their home overran by radicals. I also feel extremely guilty that I still don’t want to have our country go back there in full force. We were not welcomed there, and we certainly and rightfully so were wrong in the first place to “free” them.
Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator. We all agree that he did horrific crimes against humanity. He also understood however how his region and neck of the woods worked. He understood what would happen if there were any signs of weakness in the regime and its military force. He knew what was at stake if he flinched, and dealt with uprisings brutally to deter other types of uprisings or rebels. I can’t condone his crimes against humanity, but I can’t help but have that lingering bitter taste in my mouth when I say “He did what he felt was necessary to maintain order”.
Am I a horrible person for believing that? Am I just as guilty as him when it came to the atrocities that he did to maintain order? I don’t believe so, no. The Middle East has always been brutal. From the time that you can hold an AK-47, you understood that at any moment you could die. As this article describes [The Washington Post – The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart] everyone grows up knowing who is the enemy. They acknowledge the fact that at any moment, they could die, and through their religion(s), they accept death and believe that by killing their enemies, they are doing their religion(s) a great justice.
I know that doesn’t hold true for everyone. Especially those in lest hostile cities/areas. But think about it? Schools teach children at an early age how to kill your enemy [Al Qaeda Opens Syrian Jihad School], and if you Google for more information/facts about this, you find even more terrifying things (to us Americans) happening in schools. This is the way of the Middle East. It’s not everyone’s way, but it’s the general overall life and cycle of endless violence and hostility.