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The Arab intellectual view is even more bizarre

Reader comment on item: Why the Left Loves Osama [and Saddam]

Submitted by Jonathan Pfeffer (United States), Mar 31, 2003 at 23:17

It is very important to understand that Arab intellectuals know that America will bring freedom, democracy to Iraq, they know that America will help the new Iraqi government get on its feet, and they know that the US will protect the oil industry and help the Iraqi oil industry recover. They also know America has no designs on Iraq. So why do Arab intellectuals hate America and spread ignorance and misinformation throughout the Arab world?

Nothing important seems to happen in the middle east without the Arab/Israel dispute front and center. Arabs perceive the US as a pro Israel power that has sustained Israel against Arab will. If the Arab world had its way, Israel would take on a different form than it does today. Arabs, while broken into many countries, have a strong nationalistic bond to greater Arabia. This bond acts as a prism in which they see the whole world through Arab eyes. According to Arab nationalism, the Kurds, who are not Arabs, must stay part of Iraq whether they like it or not. This way Arabia appears bigger and greater than it really is. Also Palestine must be returned to the Arabs so it too can be part of this greater Arabia.

Now America has a different view, a much more pragmatic and universal view on the Arab/Israel dispute. America doesn’t really care what the borders of Arabia are, rather America is a nation whose primary theme is freedom, especially freedom of the individual.

Arabia, you see, has alot of housekeeping to attend to before the liberal notion of freedom becomes a national priority. In fact, right now, liberalism, that is to say, the notion of personal freedom seen in America, is seen as a weakening force in Arabia, not a strengthening force. They see America as trying to seduce Arab masses into becoming more liberal and strengthening the individual at a time when Arab intellectuals perceive unity through strength a much more important priority. Suicide bombers are the ultimate expression of this deference of freedom. For now anyway, freedom of personal choice must take a back to seat to Arab unity and strength.

Now, what does that have to do with hating America? According to Arab intellectuals, Americans are arrogant, they let individualism run amuck in their society, then they have the nerve to spew these moral platitudes about how, they (Americans) are a better society, just because they respect personal freedom. So what, Arab intellectuals figure, that a few Arabs are killed and tortured by brutal Arab regimes, after all the Nazis were European, so was Stalin, can’t Arabs have a few macabre regimes of their own. What bothers Arab intellectuals much more then the suffering of ordinary Iraqis is that America thinks they can change Arab society by teaching them values of freedom and democracy.

Now comes Saddam of Iraq, not a nice man, from an Arab perspective, but a resolute nationalist. He builds a mighty army, that parades thousands of brightly coloured Arab soldiers marching in step. Like the French army, as long as it is not tested in battle, it looks formidable, something for the Arab masses to admire. Then Saddam makes death threats against the great zionist enemy, the Arabs figure, Saddam makes them squirm, then he even makes America feel uncomfortable. And here is the key to understanding Arab feelings. Arabs want the threat and slight discomfort to radiate outwards to the west and America, not to destroy America, but merely to frighten America into respecting Arabia. After all, in Arabia, the strong intimidating the weak is the glue that keeps the societies together.

So here was the Arab script seen through the eyes of the Arab intellectuals. Saddam would huff and puff, America was to feel a little uncomfortable, Saddam, after earning some fear and respect would back down a little, the world would be saved from the brink of war through tough negotiations. Then the Arabs and Israelis would meet, and with a shiver in their boots, the Zionists would see reason and compromise and everybody would live happily ever after. The Arab side wouldn’t necessarily get everything they wanted from Israel, but in compromising at the brink of war, the Arabs would earn the respect of the rest of the world.

Well, somebody forgot to send Bush the script. He has the audacity and arrogance, in the Arabs' view, to stare Saddam in the face and say, sorry boys, we don’t want dangerous weapons in the hands of Arabs. Israel can handle them, we can, but you Arabs are too volatile. Give them up. And when Saddam refused, the US went into Iraq and clobbered the regime. So much for the scary regime that was supposed to earn the world’s fear and respect.

That is why Arabs hate America so much. They can’t of course say it that way, so they bathe themselves in a message of deliberate lies designed to intimidate the US as best they can.
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