"If we cannot muster the resolve to defeat this evil [terrorism] in Iraq, America will have lost its moral purpose in the world, and we will endanger our citizens, because if we leave Iraq before the job is done, the enemy will follow us here.../The missions I described are only the opening salvos in what is going to be a sustained effort. Yet, the Iraqi people are going to see positive changes. I want to share with you how two Iraqi bloggers - they have bloggers in Baghdad, just like we've got here... (laughter)... 'Displaced families are returning home, marketplaces are seeing more activity, stores that were long shuttered are now reopening. We feel safer moving about in the city now. Our people want to see this effort succeed. We hope the governments in Baghdad and America do not lose their resolve'." GW Bush, 28/3/07)
The two Iraqi bloggers quoted approvingly by Bush in his speech are Omar Fadhil Al-Nidawi and his brother Mohammed. Omar is a dentist and his brother a doctor. Their blog is called Iraq the Model. If you sample some of their neocononsensical tripe, you can see why they turn the Bushies on.
Here's Omar, for example, on the greatness of Bush-n-Blair and why they just had to have their way with Iraq. I'm quoting verbatim: "[S]pare me the nonsense of (occupation) and (resistance) and the (chaos) that the USA had thrown the world into, only for some individual economic and political gains. As for saying that bush and Blair went to the war to increase their popularity, I must say that it's the most absurd assumption. In fact these great and brave men actually risked not only their chance of being re-elected, but also their entire political career [especially in the case of Mr Blair (one of the most brilliant and brave politicians the UK have ever had)].../ [A]ny Muslim and some non-Muslim, know that these fundamentalists have declared war on the whole infidel world (people like me included). Bin-laden and his likes may make some kind of deals with (infidel) governments to help them in attacking their greatest enemies; Israel and USA.* But their convictions had, and will never change. Their ultimate dream is to conquer the whole world, and in case that proves to be impossible then at least destroy their enemies, meaning destroying the whole-civilized world. They believe; that their obligation to Allah/God is to fight and kill any non-Muslim who lays a foot in Muslim land (that extends in their beliefs from china to Spain). And the only way that could save those non Muslims, is to change their religion into Muslims or pay a certain tax (jizea) and if (theoretically) their dream comes true, then its not the end as their ultimate goal is to spread Islam through the whole world, even (or maybe favorably) if by force, or at least make the rest of the world pay the jizea... Now their domination of the world seems to be a very ridiculous idea and doesn't have the slightest chance, but destroying the world seems not as impossible as we all hope it is. After all it takes a few hundred (martyrs) and a mad dictator-armed with a few tiny nuclear bombs or a single virus to-unite. Such unity seems to be very possible if not now then in the future and that hard technology is getting cheaper and easier every day. Please just tell me what kind of a barrier those (peaceful) governments are working on, and then the whole strategy of the peaceful governments that I was hallucinating about would prove more solid than I think it is. I think this should be enough to state that war on terrorism, eliminating the danger of WMDs and establishing democracies in the M.E. were important reasons for the war." (Just a concerned man, 17/12/03)
[*See Cheney admits no link between Saddam, 9/11, news.antiwar.com, 1/6/09]
Unsurprisingly, Omar and Iraq the Model get star billing over at neocon think tank The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) which counts R James Woolsey (Fmr CIA Director), Newt Gingrich, Bill Kristol (Ed Weekly Standard), and Senator Joseph Lieberman among its Leadership Council, and Charles Krauthammer and Richard Perle among its Board of Advisers: "Omar Fadhil Al-Nidawi, a summer associate at the FDD, is a Baghdad-trained dentist and a graduate student of international affairs at Columbia University in New York City. He is the co-author of the blog Iraq the Model, a two time winner of the Weblog Awards. Until late 2007 Omar was writing on the war in Iraq from Baghdad, Basrah, and other locations in Iraq. Now based in the US, he continues to write about Iraq, the war on terror, and issues in the Middle East. Omar's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and he is a member of the Opinion Journal Federation. In March 2007, PC World magazine chose Omar and his brother and co-blogger Mohammed among 'the 50 most important people on the web'." Jeezus!
At long last Omar's found his way onto The Australian's opinion/propaganda page for June 2 under the heading Iraq was a just war. He tells us that the war in Iraq is coming to an end and asks, "Was it worth it?"* "If we examine the question from an American, British or Australian perspective, then it would be difficult to present an answer that could convince all critics. For the coalition members this was a war of opportunity, not a war of necessity. Going to war or not was never an issue that could affect the existence of a coalition member, nor was winning or losing." Now hang on: didn't this top-50 blogger say back in 2003 that Bin-Laden was maybe dealing with a certain "infidel government" and didn't he conclude that the Iraq war was fought to stop The West being overrun with suitcase-carrying dirty bombers armed by a certain "mad dictator"? If so, might that not have been a war of necessity?
[* See Gates: 'I don't know' if Iraq war worth it, Jonathan Karl, abcnews.go.com, 19/9/07]
Moving right along then: "For Iraq and its people however, this war was the beginning of a struggle for rebirth... Life is better today than it was before 2003.* That is even though we were on the receiving end of this war in all its phases, from initial invasion through the bloody sectarian violence and terror that paralysed the country for years. Despite the high price in blood, today is brighter than yesterday." "We" - you, Omar?! - "were on the receiving end of this war"? Really? Not quite as much as the estimated 1,320,110 Iraqi deaths so far (JustForeignPolicy.org) or the estimated 303, 454 Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey (UNHCR, 9/08). Not to mention the thousands of American dead (4,309) and wounded (31,327). "In all its phases"? According to the FDD, you've been in the US since late 2007.
[See my 18/12/08 post Life Under Saddam...]
"We have hope," says Omar. There are signs of "progress toward liberty, prosperity and the rule of law." And here are his signs: 1) The trade minister was arrested for corruption*; 2) The prime minister sued an Iraqi online journal accusing him of nepotism and abuse of authority but dropped the case after "severe criticism from free press advocates;" 3) The Iraqi stockmarket is booming.
[*Iraqi blogger Layla Anwar has a different explanation. See Meanwhile in the 'new' Iraq, arabwomanblues.blogspot.com 4/6/09]
And Iraqi women? How are they faring in the reborn Iraq? "'Iraqi women have seen their rights eroded in all areas of life while the world observes from afar', warns the special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Its Causes & Consequences, Ms Yakin Ertuerk... 'The ongoing conflict, high levels of insecurity, widespread impunity, collapsing economic conditions and rising social conservatism are impacting directly on the daily lives of Iraqi women and placing them under increased vulnerability to all forms of violence within and outside their homes', says Ms Ertuerk." (Violence against Iraqi women continues unabated, IRIN, electroniciraq.net, 1/12/08)
But, hey, you've got to feel sorry for Omar, the "security policy specialist" - yes, that is how he's described in the bio at the foot of his article for The Australian. After all, in the Benighted States of America, he gets to mix with such swell guys as the American blogger who interviewed him on May 3, 2005 and asked him this - no joke! - question: "Is dentistry a lucrative profession in Iraq? When you're introduced as a dentist to friends and strangers, do women, particularly Moms with unmarried daughters, see dinar signs in their eyes when they learn of your profession and want you to meet their 35-year old unmarried daughter Fatima? Unfortunately, Fatima usually has a unibrow and a bushier mustache than you do." (Iraqi Bloggers Central: The In T View: Iraq the Model's Omar - Blogging's Modest Superstar )
He might even get to swap views on his reborn homeland with other Americans who share his interest in Iraq. Americans like Johnathan Regis, for example, who thought so highly of Layla Anwar and her blog that he emailed her directly to share his 'thoughts'.
Johnathan's quoted in Layla Anwar's post, A sample of the 'brave & free': "This is the West, this is America, this is Great Britain, this is Democracy... this is really what it's all about, in microcosm... A small sample of the kind of animals the Iraqis and Afghans are experiencing on a daily basis. To: Layla Anwar Fm: Johnathan Regis - email@example.com Date: 3rd June 09/ 7.46 am. Subject: something to say to you Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I am an American soldier who has fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. I want you to know that I have killed many muslims and even raped a few of the pathetic women I came across. It's ok, I shot them straight in the head when I was done with them. You know, we might not ultimately be successful in Afghanistan, but we sure will kill a lot of you bastards. Oh, by the way, if I ever see you I'll skull-fuck you until your eyes bleed then choke you out and go to town on your smelly pussy. You will not wake up. See you soon." (3/6/09)
Can't see Layla Anwar popping up in The Australian any time soon.