Oh, the Yankee and the Iraqi Should Be Friends.


Joseph Tartovsky reviews Foud Ajami's book on the Iraqi-American relationship and highlights this:

Ajami writes of the "exhilaration" after the fall of Saddam's statue on April 9, 2003. By the time of the elections in January 2005, "fewer and fewer Americans liked what they saw of Iraq and Iraqis; there were even conservatives now, former supporters of the war, writing off the surly, violent country they saw on their television screens." Ajami gives no indication that he thinks the decline in support has slowed. The grievous violence is one cause of American disenchantment. But, worse, Americans have seen their troops topple a dictator, fix potholes, pave highways, build sewage plants, fill libraries with books, open universities, administer millions of vaccinations, sponsor a flourishing free press, midwife a consensual republic, unstintingly give their lives—and yet there is scarcely a murmur of gratitude for their "foreigner's gift."

Why aren't the Iraqis grateful for that gift? I tried to ask one, but a mosque exploded a few blocks away and I couldn't hear his answer.

And why aren't Americans supporting the war anymore? Is it because the Iraqis aren't exhibiting gratitude for the massive rebuilding of their country? No; Americans never wanted to rebuild their country. They supported the war on the grounds that it would take out Saddam, get some revenge for 9/11 (don't ask how), and make the world safer… somehow. They had hoped the Iraqis would take care of the rest themselves, being liberated from Saddam and all. Americans never wanted to spend money rebuilding the country, because Americans are constitutionally opposed to stuff like that. Majorities of Americans opposed the first big spending package, that $87 billion that John Kerry welded into a bazooka aimed at his foot.

This pundit's fallacy isn't exclusive to neoconservatives. Many liberals still believe there's a national urge to rebuild New Orleans, even though a sizable minority of Americans rejected the idea of federally-funded rebuilding after Katrina and those numbers spiked in the wake of the president's speech calling for just that.