I met a woman tonight, a conservative, an educated woman, who thought she knew what the fuck the war in Iraq was all about. She insisted she knew because she knew some people who had lived there. Her friends.
“They left Iraq in 2004,” she said with conviction.
“Then they were rich,” I replied. “Because any Hajji leaving Iraq has money.” She stared blankly back at me.
“It’s close-minded to call them Hajjis.” She’s struggling now. Grasping.
“Okay,” I said, “I used it in a derogatory way. But do you know where the term Hajji originates?” She did not. I explained it to her. “So when I say the country is overrun by Hajjis, I’m speaking in generalities.” She feigned agreement. “The thugs took over Iraq after Saddam fell. The criminals. They were the ones picking up every fucking 155 shell they found and wiring it to kill us.”
“We’ve destroyed so many artifacts, so much of their culture,” she replied.
I answered, “The only thing an Iraqi cares about is his family. Not his neighbors. Not his city. And definitely not his fucking country.” As an American, it’s difficult to imagine.
“You’re saying he doesn’t care about his culture?” She’s fishing now.
“No, I’m not saying that. His culture is woven within his family.”
“But I’ve got friends who have said and I’ve read case studies -”
“I lived with them for almost a year. Not as a Marine unit operating with Iraqis, but as a guy living with them, eating with them, training them. Hearing about their families, their lives, how they’ve existed over the past few decades.”
“They were better off without Saddam,” she said.
“But we destroyed so much of their culture.”
“I was there after we bombed Fallujah, when the city was dead and the streets were still littered with fliers telling people to get out if they’re not the bad guys. They don’t care about culture. They wanted blood.”
“But you’re just an American in their country who doesn’t understand -”
“I sure as hell understand more than you and the fucking case studies you’ve read.” I was livid. “All you know is what the media feeds you.”
It fell on deaf ears.ShareThis