Too True

Chris Bowers (at MyDD): You Don’t Know Shit About Iraq.

It’s about time that I sat down and told you this. I was hoping it wouldn’t have to be me, but someone needed to finally do it. For quite some time now, you have been going off about what we “need” to do in Iraq. You have been telling us “how things are going over there”, and making suggestions and proclamations about “what we need to do” based on what you seem to believe is a wealth of knowledge about the situation.

Well, I’m here to finally tell you what you what no one else seems willing to say: you don’t know shit about Iraq. In fact, you don’t even know how much shit there is about Iraq that you don’t know.


Sandy Smith

May 31, 2004
11:18 pm

OK, well, maybe I’m one of the few on the planet who can talk about Iraq, not that I do it often. I can answer most of his questions, “Yes,” “I do, in fact,” or “Indeed, I can.” Most of it can be picked up through general reading. A class in ancient near eastern history and a degree in international relations got me there a while back, but it’s not that hard to become informed. And I don’t know beans about the Middle East compared to Central Europe. I even know several people who speak Arabic, just returned from the Middle East, and I overflew Iraq.
There are lots of people in DC in my situation–and guess what, despite our common knowledge, we don’t all agree about what ought to be done. So I have to ask, “so what?”
It’s not as if a Kennedy-style technocratic elite has a rip-ready solution just waiting in the wings…or Patton to swoop in to give ’em hell and get killed by an ox-cart.
So what’s the point? Do you need to know what a caliph is to say “hey, what’s going on in Iraq is kinda messy”? Would being able to draw the border of Iraq only where it meets Syria and Turkey make it any more valid to say “hey, where are the WMDs?” Would knowing the name of the third assistant lizard washer at the Iraqi zoo make it any more or less true that Saddam was a murderous ass and with him in custody there’s one less bad guy in charge of a country?
And would my knowing the callout of the acronym HARM when it comes to missiles make me any more right to compare what Saddam did to what happened in Abu Ghraib? Or indeed make it suddenly the point?
If there’s a guy out there who’s a West Point grad with a degree in comparative religion and near eastern history who is fluent in Khurdish, Farsi, and Arabic who just returned from commanding the forces in Iraq, he’s welcome to offer his solution…but I bet he’ll get a lot of it wrong, too.