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Patrice Lauren

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Real Time Iraq
by Patrice Lauren   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, March 06, 2006
Posted: Wednesday, October 05, 2005

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A rant off Bill Maher

Real Time Iraq


~First draft composed on 04/14/03~

Bill Maher's "Real Time", originally broadcast on HBO on 04/5/03, reported via CNN coverage of a "liberated Iraqi citizen" . . . "cheering . . . 'Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy.'"

This is too foretelling a statement to have been concocted for entertainment purposes. How will a regime change, after the liberation of Baghdad and the deposition of Saddam Hussein, affect the Islamic culture in Iraq?

What repercussions will the Islamic world inflict on the liberators/invaders?

Our stated purpose in the war in Iraq, has never included cultural obliteration. In the first Gulf War, soldiers based in Islamic Saudi Arabia were proscribed use of alcoholic spirits, and accepted the moral values and taboos of the nation, from whose hallowed ground we based our troops' movements.

Likewise, the relocated American employees of oil companies, among other industries, adhered to Islamic customs, since the height of the oil boom, which came crashing down in the early 1980's.

Having no "corner beer store" or "gentlemen's club/tittie bar," these Western inclinations of some, soon fade into memories of another place, another time.

McDonald's has not yet established it's first Iraqi franchise. When Saddam leaves Iraq, Ronald McDonald will undoubtedly arise from the ashes to take his place.

Can predominately American and British soldiers occupy a predominately Muslim country without Westernizing it?

Will such Westernization, in some way result in the colonization of Iraq, of which the Baath Party Ministries cautioned their people?

For 24 years, the "peasants (translator's word choice)" of Iraq have been under their care of a totalitarian dictatorship.

Consider the average concept of what life is, by these demographic perspectives:

TOTAL Population 42,000,816 (7/02 estimated)

0 - 14 years of age 40.1 %
15 - 64 years{/left} 56.7 %
65 years of age and older 3.2 %

Fertility Rate 4.63 children born/woman (2002 estimated)

HIV/AIDS < .01 %
(Consider repercussions of military occupation)

Literacy Rate 58 % of those age 15 or over are able to read and write:

Males 70.7 %

Females 45.0 %
(  Retrieved 04/13/04)

These statistics are a baseline measurement of the population with which a new government will be dealing.

After clearing away the physical debris of war, what will remain?

The Cradle of Civilization, the fertile land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, has managed, to date, without the amelioration of a politicized democracy. Tribal affiliations and time-honored traditions have regulated life for the Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis of the region for the many hundreds of years.

Ethnic conflict among these tribes has existed for generations. Whether Iraq is able to govern all their people, and maintain an intact country is a challenge the Iraqi people must solve for themselves.

If such diverse tribal interests can agree to a more benevolent, less dictatorial form of government, respecting the diversity of the population, the second, and perhaps more difficult phase of liberation, can then begin in earnest.

A government must preserve law and order. This governmental entity will also be responsible for providing electricity and coordinating health services, repair of damaged and destroyed roads and buildings, and especially establishment of a workable government infrastructure.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has shared his plans on how the transitional government will look, and by whom it should be staffed.

Media coverage of the Iraqi people show both elation at Saddam's demise, and disdain for the colonial troops who liberate them. Mistrust of a foreign invading force cannot be bought off with humanitarian care packages handed out to a conquered peoples.

Post haste, the Iraqis should be put in charge of providing for their own needs. Undoubtedly, we must help in the organization, taking a political back seat, while the Iraqi populace takes the wheel, finds their own road, and travels along a path of trials and tribulations for the new Iraq.

And, what of the education of the children? Iraq would not be willing to accept separation of church and state. However, it seems the governments of the present forces, theoretically, could not accept the curriculum of the Fundamentalist Islamic schools.

Add education to the list of cultural difficulties that will test the reconstruction government's ability to appease the interests of all Iraqi.

The task of eliminating suspicion, mistrust, and fear of governmental intervention in daily Iraqi life cannot be discounted. Who will program Iraqi television? Should Geraldo Rivera be retained for the Iraqi Evening News?

As conflicting stories regarding Iraq's present state of the country surface, as well as the name of the main airport, it is evident that media's influence will impact many, discounting perhaps the Bedouin. Whose influence will travel the first airways of Iraq TV?

Will Iraqis use public television in a similar manner as the United States, or will the media serve some purpose more valiant than that of the Home Shopping Network?

Arabic television currently promulgates without undue European/American influence. What will the Iraqi people need to see?

Should gun control be an issue in the new Iraq?
With so many guns, weapons of all sizes, and military/biological caches of ammunition in the hands of individuals throughout the country, is the meanest guy with the biggest gun going to, again, govern by whim?

Will only the names of the players change--generating another market for collectable American playing cards?

Many of the volunteer and recruited Iraqi police are identifying lawless behaviour, such as widespread looting and the vandalism of religious sights. Tactics, and cruel and finalizing authority, have not changed. The guilty are often shot on sight. Will American and British soldiers become the targets of those Iraqis with guns?

Those arrested and imprisoned are being guarded by whom, and under what definable humanitarian conditions?

In the land of Hamurabi's Code of Law, excessive brutality and tortuous death have been the norm of punishment for many thousands of years. Countless Iraqis have lost an ear/hand/tongue as punishment for a crime.

For over a generation, the Iraqi people have lived and thought as directed. An educated populace, a pre-requisite for democracy, will not appear instantaneously--especially if some individuals aren't prepared to deal with the ideas associated with chants of "democracy, whiskey, sexy."


Web Site: Real Time Iraq

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead
interesting read
Reviewed by Sandy Knauer
I question the role of the media in shaping public opinion. Although we are a country of free speakers, we often choose not to listen openly, proactively, to what is being said. Relevant facts so often become blurry background noise.

I agree with this statement, which you made before, and don't think anything has changed. This administration seems to work on the premise you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, and if they devote their lives to it, they can convince the biggest fools to spread their foolishness rather than admit they have been fooled. The truth is, no matter a person tries to live around it, in the end they will be responsible for their own foolishess and that they spread.
Reviewed by Monette Bebow-Reinhard (Reader)
I'm not sure what you were trying to accomplish with this. Very good questions, yes, but are there answers? Like, do we have the right to change, or attempt to change, their culture? Yes, very good questions, indeed.
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