Saturday, May 27, 2006

A U.S Army Tzaddik*?

*The word "tzaddik" literally means "righteous one." The term refers to a completely righteous individual, and generally indicates that the person has spiritual or mystical power. See Judaism 101.

Maybe I exaggerate, but after reading so much negative press about the U.S. Iraq story, it comes as a relief to learn about someone who seems to be able to apply the lessons that Prof. Charles Tilly teaches in the book I haven't read yet, but blogged about anyhow. Colonel H. R. McMaster understands his job in Iraq: to learn how to listen to Iraqi stories. I wish we could clone him so his approach could be scaled up world-wide. Here's a quote that makes me want to enlist:

...Every time you treat an Iraqi disrespectfully, you are working for the enemy," McMaster said he told every soldier in his command. He ordered his soldiers to stop using the term "hajji" as a slang term for all Iraqis, because he saw it as inaccurate and disrespectful...

For more about Col. McMaster's work, read The Washington Post, CBS News 60 Minutes, Newsweek, and The New Yorker magazine. Listening to this 8-minute audio-narrated slide show made me worry whether McMaster's work will take hold, even though it will certainly teach his soldiers something important.

The serious question is: is Iraqi unification possible, or should there be a "three-state-solution:" Kurdistan, Sunnistan, and Shiastan?

The even more serious question is: who gets to decide?


samirah said...

A three state system wouldn't work because it assumes that Iraq only has three groups. More religions/sects/people are there, granted they are much smaller, but they do exist.
To do that would be like breaking America into Christianland and Jewishland, where does that leave Muslims and atheists and everyone else? Do they get ignored because they aren't a big enough part of the population?

ok, so I could be totally wrong about that. But either way I don't think America should get to make the descion.

Fred said...

It's up to us to help the Iraqis develop the infrastructure to decide for themselves. Recent history has shown us that peaceful divorces can happen, such as Slovakia and Montenegro.

Savtadotty said...

samirah - I suspect the borders of the original "state" of Iraq were created by Europeans who had their own colonoil [misspelling intentional] interests at heart, not with an eye toward pluralistic democracy.

fred - I certainly hope Iraq can stabilize and get that infrastructure.
I like the "peaceful divorce" analogy.

Chancy said...

The even more serious question is: who gets to decide?

I just hope the deciding is done without any more bloodshed...:(

I like your new word "colonoil" That's about it in a nutshell