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Hullabaloo


Saturday, April 21, 2007

 
For Their Own Good. And Nothing Else.

NOTE: UPDATE AT END

by tristero

The NY Times:
American military commanders in Baghdad are trying a radical new strategy to quell the widening sectarian violence by building a 12-foot-high, three-mile-long wall separating a historic Sunni enclave from Shiite neighborhoods.

Soldiers in the Adhamiya district of northern Baghdad, a Sunni Arab stronghold, began construction of the wall last week and expect to finish it within a month. Iraqi Army soldiers would then control movement through a few checkpoints...

The American military said in a written statement that “the wall is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence.”
In other words, the American military is building a wall to physically separate a despised minority from their neighbors in order to protect them. And vice versa.

But let's not infer the worst here. After all, history teaches us that sealing off ghettos does reduce violence. That's simply an indisputable fact. For example, attacks against Sunni Jews declined markedly and rapidly under the Nazis. Had they not built walls around the ghettos, which enabled an entire Jewish population of a given city to be quickly rounded up and sent off to the camps, attacks on Jews would have gone on for much, much longer.

In short, behaving like Nazis is an eminently sensible, and, in fact, a deeply compassionate, idea. Bush and the military high command should all be commended for having the courage to approve of such bold initiatives in order to make us safe from the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11.

[UPDATE: Usually, even if I disagree, I try to see the point of view of the commentators to my posts. And indeed there were some interesting points made by some that added substantially to my understanding of the situation. However, I am genuinely horrified by responses like these:
his wall-building business sounds to me less like nazi ghettos than like the "peace walls" of Belfast;

It is possible to compare the dangers which you have considered , but to me it looks like a rolling boil . The whole poisonous exploding nightmare hardly allows an exception for one form of mass murder in comparisons of excess . It is thoughtful and it gave me pause but Derry was my first thought . Despite the ominous record you refer to any respite from the wholesale killing seems worth a try .

Look some level of physical separation of Sunnis and Shias will be necessary.

Maybe it could work, you never know.

Yes. Building walls = Nazism. Thank you for the brilliant "logic".
Seriously, people, what are you waiting for, Kristallnacht? This is what it looked like to Germans in the 30's, and they made exactly the same rationalizations as these I'm reading right here, right now. I guess I should back up and explain that nothing good can come from sealing up the Sunnis. Regardless of how long the US stays, eventually the troops will leave. And there will be the Sunnis, in their ghetto, entry and exit controlled by the majority Shia. How long do you think it will take for an atrocity to occur - 1 month, 6 months, a year? Don't think it will? Wanna bet?

As for the situation getting better while the Americans stay so this "temporary wall" may help, oh, please. Who do you think is running this fucking war, Abe Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant? Nothing will help and this has the distinct possibility of inflaming the entire Middle East. Sooner or later, the Shia will find a way to lob rockets in, or infiltrate the ghetto and perpetrate terrible atrocities. Who's to blame? The US who will be seen beyond a shadow of a doubt as silent collaborators. No amount of kiss kiss and handholding will make that sit well in Riyadh. And they just might think it's time to go and liberate their fellow co-religionists.

Furthermore, as someone mentioned, those control stations are ripe for attack and y'know what that means, right? More grieiving mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and husbands and wives in America joining Iraqis in crying to heaven for the horrors to stop. And let's not forget that not only are there Sunni and Shia in Iraq (and Kurds), but there are many many factions within both groups. And that means, very simply, that life within the ghetto will be a living hell even if the Sunni act like St. Francis. And I assure you, they won't.

One comment deserves a little further discussion:
...your comparison of this wall to the Nazi formation of Jewish ghettos is absurd and actually offensive to me as both an American and a Jew. You really have no idea what you're talking about.
Not only had I no intention to offend either Americans or Jews (or Jewish Americans), I also have offended neither.

When the Bush administration acts like Nazis - and that is exactly how they are acting by sealing off the Sunni ghettos - someone better call it like it is before there's hell to pay. Given the situation in Iraq, you will need to explain to me why this isn't a recipe for a genocidal atrocity.

One more point. As I've mentioned many times in the past, Bush will guarantee that leaving will create as much catastrophe as staying. He is that incompetent. Imagine 8 months from now that Bush actually is forced to do what everyone wants and get the troops out. Imagine those Sunni in their ghetto as the last troop leaves. Then imagine the unspeakable stench three days later when they're wiped out.

I can't believe that anyone - even Bush and Rove - could be sick enough to deliberately make the situation as bad as possible in Iraq if the troops leave, but they sure as hell are doing everything they possibly can to compound disaster upon disaster. That's what happens when you act like Nazis. You lose, and a lot of people end up dead.]


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