The New York Times reports that Nuri al-Maliki has signed a pact with the United States agreeing to extend the United Nations mandate permitting US troops to remain in Iraq under international law. What do ordinary Iraqis have to say about this?
In Iraq on Monday, there was little public discussion of the agreement. It is not a popular move politically because many Iraqis view the United Nations mandate as a reminder that they cannot yet control their own destiny and must rely on outsiders.
In the past, members of the Iraqi Parliament have complained that allowing the continued presence of international forces abrogates the country’s sovereignty. While some of the complaints can be labelled political rhetoric, there is also a real underlying resentment that the nation still needs American help.
At the same time, though, many Iraqis say they do not want the American troops to leave right away because they fear the country will drift into chaos.
In other words, the Iraqis are against a continued troop presence not because the Americans go around bombing and murdering them, but because they have the classic sin of hubris. The article seems to be comparing Iraqis to a tragic drug addict, unable to admit he has a problem. Like a stumbling junkie, the Iraqis perpetuate the fiction that they can stop anytime they want, desperately avoiding that painful admission they know in their heart to be true: they need to be occupied. This is a page taken directly from Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind, a rotten old tome filled with hoary representations of Arabs from the mid twentieth century that has since been revived as the Bible of neoconservative ethnology. According to Patai, the main weakness of "the Arabs" is "shame and humiliation." Apparently the Times got the memo.