Sophia's Peace Work

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Surrounded by Iraqi 'Republicans'

So we are about to have a new president named Barak Hussein Obama. The first African-American president for the United States. I'm excited at the prospect. I left the country in disgust when Bush was re-elected for his second term. All my life, having grown up in a family of democrats (well, my Dad says he is a republican, but only so he can vote in the primaries against 'the crazies' of the party) and worked for lefty organizations (environment & workers' rights), I haven't really known too many folks that supported the Reagans, Bushes and McCains of this world.

Some members of my family consider that now that we live in the time of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, that the republican party is the party that stands for torture and lies (you know, about things like weapons of mass distruction and other reasons for going to war against foreign nations ... little stuff like that). But now I live in Kurdistan, northern Iraq and I'm surrounded by McCain supporters. I kind of get where the Kurds are coming from (to them, Bush was the great liberator). I was arguing with our logistics guy about it yesterday (in a cross between kurdish, arabic, english and sign language) ... he felt that Bush had been and McCain would be stronger on terrorism than Obama. I felt the republican crowd has actually done a piss poor job of handling terrorism and have ignored the roots from which is springs, ensuring a perpetual cycle of violence.

But even some of the Iraqi Arabs I work with are worried and some that carried American passports and could vote in the election supported McCain if only on the one issue of Iraq and their worry that America will withdraw under Obama.

For sure, I tend to agree that an abrupt pull out would be quite problematic for Iraq, but neither do I agree that the sky will necessarily fall. People are worried that Iran will come to fill the vacumn and that this will have terrible consequences for the region. Perhaps, but as weak as the country is when compared to its neighbor, Iraq still has a strong nationalistic sense and if it didn't want to be controlled by the U.S. I believe the same will hold true where Iran is concerned. Despite the strong ties that link the two countries, I hope that Iraq can hold its own course regardless of the shifting winds in Washington.


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