"New Orleans and Baghdad" (September 9, 2005)
Memo to: Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist
From: Moderate Iraqi Sunnis
Dear Mr. Friedman:
I recently received your letter, entitled "New Orleans and Baghdad", and I would like to humbly convey to you the following reply -- fuck off. No seriously, fuck off.
You accuse us moderate Sunnis of being unwilling to accept that we "are a minority that can no longer rule all of a fascist Iraq, but can get its fair share of power and oil in a free Iraq".
Nevermind that the current constitution is a possible recipe for a new fascist theorcratic Iraq.
Nevermind that in the proposed federal structure, our "fair share" of oil could be as small as a measly 5%.
You accuse some of us Sunnis of "posturing for elections" or "acting in bad faith".
Nevermind that two of the members of our delegation were killed by insurgents and that we are scared for our lives.
Nevermind that the United States invited us into negotiations over the constitution only to almost exclusively back the proposals of radical shiite parties (many of which have strong ties to Iran).
Nevermind that it was the Kurds and Shiites who broke off negotiations and that the United States backed the incomplete and problematic constitution not because it promised to be a workable document but because of pressure to meet arbitrary political deadlines.
You say that the U.S. military is equivalent to a levee holding back the flood of violence in Iraq.
Nevermind that this last summer was the most violent summer on record in Iraq.
Nevermind that hundreds brave Sunni police-officers continue to loose their lives to daily insurgent attacks.
Nevermind that the U.S. military's strategy of violently occupying towns then abandoning them to insurgents might be fueling resentment in the Sunni triangle rather than bolstering our faith in the process.
It seems that now that the war in Iraq, a policy you supported, has turned out to be a political disaster, you need to find a political scapegoat.
And for some strange reason, you have picked moderate Sunnis rather than autonomous-hungry Kurds, radical-Islamic shiites, bloodthirsty insurgents, or bungling American proconsuls.
So I repeat, as your humble and faithful servant -- fuck off. May peace be with you.
For more on this column, see Huffington Post (Hooman Majd), Broken Windows, Bob's Rants, The Fulcrum, and Alternet.