I watched the vice-presidential debate last night. Over and over again, Palin referenced the military surge in Iraq, drilling home the its success and challenging Biden on the fact that Obama did not support the surge. I try – really I do – not to post too much about the presidential race, but this issue kept nagging at me. It’s not even a question of whether the media is providing fair and balanced coverage because it is too dangerous for members of the American media to visit most neighborhoods of Baghdad, much less the more remote parts of Iraq.
Today I learned about a series of three videos that have been produced by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, an Iraqi who grew up in Baghdad and emigrated to Britain. Abdul-Ahad is a reporter for Britain’s highly respected Guardian newspaper, which has a long history of editorial and political independence. He returned to Iraq to determine the truth about the success of the surge. He discovers the real reason that the violence has decreased; throughout the city, 20 miles of 12-foot high walls have been built by the military to separate the Sunni and Shia populations. The surge has left the city more divided and desperate than ever.
Watch all three parts of the series below:
Part three of the series focuses on the Iraqi children who have been orphaned as a result of the war. He interviews two young boys, both of whom blame the Americans for the death of their parents. Whether or not this is true, it is what they will grow up believing. Prior to the war, children attended school and there was a social service system in place, but these institutions are now in shambles. Availing themselves of this opportunity, the militias are now feeding, clothing, and educating the younger generation, and undoubtedly winning their hearts and minds in the process.
The United States government continues to repeat the same mistakes and pursue the same failed foreign policies that have won us disrespect and hatred around the world. Like the Philippines, Nicaragua, and Vietnam, to name just a few, we have stuck our noses in the political situation of another country for our own selfish reasons, wreaked havoc, and then departed, leaving a decimated populace to dig themselves out of the morass. Then, years down the road, we refuse to accept responsibility for the messes we have created. At the close of the final video, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad comments, “The real disaster of Iraq will come when this generation, which knows only fear and sectarianism, and whose heroes are extremists, grows up.” I couldn’t agree more.