Iraqis are happier now!
It occurs to me that this email to a friend may be valuable for others having trouble with Republican coworkers making claims they've mentally cut-and-pasted from the latest episode of Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity.
To a friend whose coworker claims that Iraqis "are happier now":
I suspect that your coworker isn't likely to let a little information get in his way, but I'll give you some nonetheless (though his ideology is likely to make him A. deride each source that contradicts him/her or B. claim that anyone who opposes the occupation/invasion is a terrorist or insurgent Ã¢â‚¬â€ which are not the same thing but which are bleeding into each other due to our invasion...)
There's no way to really do a poll of the Iraqi people being that next to nobody can leave the American fort known as the Green Zone. So when a douchebag crew of rightwing talk show hosts returns "from iraq," what they actually mean is that they returned from a heavily barricaded fortress that includes next to no Iraqis. If it does, they are not likely to be the ones that disagree with the occupation and invasion for obvious reasons. What the Green Zone does contain is a massive PR outfit so draw your own conclusions about reporters on deadline and lack of access to most of the country.
First off, don't get caught in the silly cannard: "What? You'd rather have Saddam still in power?" Of course he was a vicious criminal. But the ends justifies the means is, I'm sure you'll agree, not a very sturdy ethical framework. By that logic, obliterating all humans ends crime. Sure, but at what cost? Not to mention the fact that we helped create and support Saddam, armed him, financed him, and unconscionably failed to cover the Iraqi people after we urged them to rebel after Iraq 1.
Also, to even say "Iraqi" is to miss a large part of what's going on there. There are now many Iraqs; and holding them together is one of the terrifically difficult tasks facing the framers of their constitution. It's also a great part of what drives the insurgency at this point -- along with our presence of course.
That said, one of the more convincing arguments in favor of Iraqi desire for our exit is the fact that Muqtada Al Sadr collected 1 million signatures for his US Out Petition in about 10 minutes (3 weeks to be exact). Not to mention the fact that a third of the Iraqi parliament:
"issued a statement calling for the end of occupation and complaining they were not properly consulted in the United Nations Security CouncilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recent extension of the occupation."
But the estimated 100,000+ dead Iraqis (the ultra-conservative Washington Times reported the number 128,000 Iraqi dead based on an Iraqi Human Rights survey) aren't very happy with the liberation (55% of whom are women and children), nor are their relatives. In fact, if I'm a young man or woman who just lost my brothers and sisters and/or mother and father, I'm probably going to sign onto an insurgency against those I view as responsible -- and make no mistake, regardless of how complex the situation actually is, the US is the most salient and easily blamable party in Iraq.
Not to mention that electricity is more spotty than during Saddam; Oil production is down; Permanent military bases are being built; The constitution is likely to create an Islamic state (which makes many Iraqi women and men not very happy); There are protests in Iraq, but again, they don't get much coverage because the media themselves can't really leave the Green Zone.
So although your friend may be comforted by simplistic affirmations that: "they're happy," I'd ask him, apart from sharing the above information and the indisputable fact that the insurgency is only growing more powerful, not less: "how likely is it that Iraqi people opposed to the occupation are responding to American surveys?"
If you've got a pro-war coworker we'd love to hear about your experiences. Thoughts on what works/what doesn't?