THE DAILY BLADE: Iraq Was Supposed To Become Like The USA – But The Reverse Has Happened
New York Times columnist John Tierney fears that Iraqis will never put aside their differences to form a unified nation in which people "look on society as a collection of individuals working for the common good of the nation" (subscription required):
Iraqis bravely went to the polls and waved their purple fingers, but they voted along sectarian lines. Appeals to their religion trumped appeals to the national interest. And as the beleaguered police in Amara saw last week, religion gets trumped by … the clan.
The deadly battle in Amara wasn’t between Sunnis and Shiites, but between two Shiite clans that have feuded for generations. After one clan’s militia destroyed police stations and took over half the city, the Iraqi Army did not ride to the rescue.
Authorities regained control only after the clan leaders negotiated a truce.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq, American optimists invoked Germany and Japan as models for their democratization project, but Iraq didn’t have the cultural cohesion or national identity of those countries. … "In a modern state a citizen’s allegiance is to the state, but theirs is to their clan and their tribe," Ihsan M. al-Hassan, a sociologist at the University of Baghdad, warned three years ago. …
These allegiances explain why Iraqis don’t want to give up their local militias. They know it’s unrealistic to expect protection from a national force of soldiers or police officers from other clans, other regions, other religions. When the Iraqi Army ordered reinforcements to go help Americans keep peace in Baghdad, several Iraqi battalions deserted rather than risk their lives defending strangers.
As The Stiletto was reading Tierney’s analysis, it occurred to her that US society is devolving into tribalism – but instead of tribes being formed around clans, they are formed around political issues and ideologies. For instance, pro-abortion Americans only vote for pro-abortion candidates. And Dems are banking on opposition to the Iraq War bringing them like-minded voters who will not care that the party has no clue what it will do next if it captures Congress – except paralyze the Bush administration with endless probes and investigations.
Quoted in The Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary (subscription to e-mail newsletter required) on Lou Dobbs’ book, "War on the Middle Class," syndicated columnist Reuben Navarette, illustrates this dangerous, disheartening trend:
There are Americans who believe that this is still a country of unlimited opportunity for those who work hard and sacrifice. And there are others who are convinced that the deck is stacked against working men and women. There are those who believe that what works against some folks are not the bad breaks, but bad choices such as dropping out of high school or ambling through life without ambition. And there are others who believe that human beings are at the mercy of sinister forces beyond their control. If you fall into the first category, you're part of my America. If you're in the second, you're part of Lou Dobbs' America."
The Stiletto wistfully remembers a time when it wasn’t "my America" or "your America" but "our America" – especially when soldiers were in harm’s way. One nation, under G-d, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. You know, the good ol' days.
Gubernatorial Candidate Says She’s The Breast One For The Job
Alabama gubernatorial candidate Loretta Nall, 32, hopes that her rack will attract voters to her platform: withdrawal of her state’s National Guard from Iraq; tax credits to send kids to private school or to home schooling them; opting out of the No Child Left Behind Act; decriminalizing pot; and not obeying the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act. Her campaign slogan (illustrated with photos of her impressive cleavage and of her Democrat and Republican opponents) is: "More of these boobs. And less of these boobs."
Posted on her campaign Web site is an explanation of why she does not wear panties. For some reason, The Associated Press felt compelled to make the additional revelation that the Libertarian Party write-in candidate has "dyed blond hair."
As a curvy woman herself, The Stiletto should champion Nall’s campaign. Unfortunately, she thinks Nall’s position on the issues is a bust.
The Stiletto might take Nall to her bosom, so to speak, if she stuck to the one subject she knows well: big breasts. The centerpiece of her platform should be to force health insurance companies to pony up for breast implants for women who can’t fill a B-cup.
The City of Light Has A Dark Side For Some Tourists
The Reuters headline on this item, "Paris Syndrome" Leaves Japanese Tourists In Shock" misled The Stiletto into thinking it was an article about Japanese travelers having nervous breakdowns when they tried to decipher the unintelligible sounds emanating from Paris Hilton's mouth that never quite organize themselves into coherent sentences.
Silly Stiletto! It turns out that each year, around a dozen Japanese tourists who visit Paris need psychological treatment after suffering severe cognitive dissonance when the reality of rude Frenchies and filthy streets (or is that filthy Frenchies and rude streets?) violently collides with their expectations of suave denizens and picturesque boulevards. A third of these poor souls are severely afflicted – one man believed that he was the Louis XIV, and a woman was sure she was being attacked with microwaves. The newspaper Journal du Dimanche coined the term Paris Syndrome" for this novel psychosis; the condition was first described in 2004 in the psychiatric journal Nervure.
February 14, 2007
The Stiletto wrote:
In the days before the mid-term election, The Stiletto observed that Americans were dividing themselves into political and ideological tribes, creating schisms that parallel those between the Sunni and Shia in Iraq – the inevitable outcome being utter destruction of national identity and purpose. Now, The New York Times reports that the Iraq war and Saddam’s trial and execution are escalating sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia right here in the US – a country that has no state religion, and in which millions of (legal) immigrants of every creed and color have hitherto lived together in ...