Shoving our “good life” down the enemy’s throats
And what makes us think they want to be like us?
I was thinking about the cartoon show South Park last night, thinking about how they try to talk about middle-eastern interests (granted, they only refer to Saddam Hussein as being killed and being Satan’s lover and they only refer to Bin Laden once in an Afghanistan episode), but one episode of South Park made me think more about our “war” in Iraq than any other show... In one episode the boys went to Colorado’s version of “Cirque du Cheville” (a parody for the French circus “Cirque Du Soleil”) and saw contorting Romanian quintuplets who later escaped and stayed at Stan Marsh’s house. The boys wanted to show the little Romanian girls why America was so great, by taking them to places like the mall, or fast food restaurants. I’ll even quote Eric Cartman: “You see, in America we have log rides! Bacon double-cheeseburgers! Sheep-shearing contests! And shopping malls!” But the quintuplets decided they wanted to go back to Romania, because it was their home, and it was their way that they understood and loved. The third quintuplet even said, “You know nothing about Romania, and yet you assume America is so much better! Maybe Romania isn’t as nice as America, but it is our home! We are Romanian!”
Now why do I think this has anything to do with our “war” in Iraq? Because these young Romanian quintuplets in South Park were saying what many Iraqis are probably saying now... That although the citizens may not have liked living in fear under Saddam Hussein, that doesn’t mean they want to to exchange their middle-eastern Islamic life for an American, Christian network-show and fast-food-meal mentality. The kids at South Park tried to show the Romanian quintuplets all of the decadence of America (in the same way the boys took the Ethernopian — I mean, Ethiopian boy Starvin’ Marvin to the all-you-can-eat buffet, where Eric Cartman said “See, Starvin’ Marvin, these are appetizers...that’s what we call food that makes you hungrier”). South Park manages to exemplify the the over-abundance and decadence that Americans are associated with.
I mean, think about it — we now have TIVO for television sets, because videocassettes are too time-consuming and we can now eliminate any commercials (because we don’t have the time for commercials). We have “Merry Maids,” so we can pay people to clean our homes for us, when we already pay for dry cleaners to wash our clothes and we pay for restaurants because we don’t feel like cooking. We now have the Internet (and yes, South Park even had Chinese men in the Dodge Ball World Olympics make fun of how Americans — who created the Internet in the first place, at my old college stomping grounds at the University of Illinois — now even use the Internet as a marketing center), so we can shop online instead of going to a store. Hell, we have PeaPod, where people can buy your groceries for you and bring them to your house. Someone even told me that you can order a chef to cook a meal for you in your own home!
So... do you think we Americans aren’t decadent?
I’m sure we don’t do all do the things I’ve listed above, but they’ve been created here in America, because there’s a market for it, and people have been looking to spend more and more of their money on service industries so that people can hire others do their work for them (like clean their house, or their cloths, or buy their groceries, or deliver our products to us, or cook our food). Couple that with good ol’ W (I mean, President Bush) seeming to be doing his damnedest to infuse Christianity back into the culture (yes, our founding fathers were Christian, but they wanted freedom from religion indoctrinating their lives — it still says “In God We Trust” on our money, and President Eisenhower added “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance so we wouldn’t appear like those godless Communists, but people are allowed to have any belief they so choose in this country)... So I wonder if the Iraqi people think that a Christian nation is trying to push a political philosophy on them that they don’t want to follow.
We’re not just trying to free people from a brutal dictator like Saddam Hussein — we want a country that isn’t in political conflict with us (because apparently this is Bush’s way of freeing us from the chances of another nine eleven). The problem is, for example, we’ve set up a timeline for Iraq to vote for a President, and although Iraqis came out in record numbers to vote, more than half of the Iraqi people don’t consider this a valid government. If you’re wondering why, consider that the United State’s democracy, which is not religious, directly clashed with how Iraqis view their leader. Who is their leader? Allah, not a President. And in their government, religion is the most important thing — so anything we’re suggesting clashes with their basic beliefs.
Also keep in mind that we’re the same people that don’t want us occupying Iraq and think we should be able to just free these people from Saddam Hussein and leave. Good point, we’re an impatient people, and why keep our military there, in harm’s way. If that’s what you want, I have to ask you then: why do we still have military in Germany and Japan from World War II? Because we do, because there is always a potential conflict, and we need to keep our soldier close-at-hand, you know, to help keep us free. It sounds silly, but it’s true — we’ve got our military hand in enough places so that we can always keep watch over most anything happening in the world. Maybe we’re not hearing about our troops still in those countries from World War II because people weren’t up in arms about our involvement in World War II, and half of this country is up in arms about the “war” in Iraq. It seems that our intent has changed pertaining to Iraq, from defensive, a preemptive attack because we were led to believe Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (as defending our nation is the only real reason we should ever go to war) to liberating oppressed people. If defending ourselves was the point, then there is still a debate over whether or not Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (well, we haven’t found any, and trust me, we’ve looked — but a high ranking air force official from Saddam’s regime wrote a book & told Jon Stewart at the Daily Show about how the weapons did exist, and they were moved. Is he right? We don’t know...). If liberating was our intention, then why didn’t we start a war with most of the Middle East, or half of Africa? And if we’re supposed to be liberating them, then shouldn’t we stay for years until they’re free of any terrorist regimes?
Our country seems to have stuck its nose for a little too long where a bunch of people don’t want it. Many in Iraq may be pleased that Saddam Hussein is out of power, but many of them probably don’t want to be forced to convert to the Christian mentality of the people who freed them from Saddam Hussein, with the way we’ve been “guiding” them through creating the government we would think it would be best to deal with in the future. I know, I know, if we don’t keep military there, then bad forces can easily take over the country, so after deposing a vicious ruler, another will take his place. But maybe if we took the time to evaluate how these people need to be helped (and don’t try to force our way of thinking down their throats), maybe there would be fewer problems in the upcoming weeks... and months... and years.
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