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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Iraq - An analysis

The thing I most dislike about the local daily fishwrap is how it presents information. Sliced into sound bites, information about the world around us is often presented with no context and no analysis. There is no sense of history. Such-and-such happened. So-and-so said. This-and-that reply was made. It becomes impossible to maintain a thread of continuity between one happening and the next.

In our electronically charged rapidly changing world, that spells a kind of mental fog, a disorientation where one absorbs a particular sound byte only to completely flush it for the next. So that the only thing that remains real to us is not the meltdown of our economy as caused by greed-inspired Republican policies enacted into law by a short-sighted below-average-intelligence conman who got a C in economics 101, but the movie we just saw, or our kids' grades in school, or the jewelry we must buy the wife on the next officially-designated holiday.

Then one turns to a paper like the Telegraph, or the Guardian, and the depth and breadth of the analysis of a particular political issue knocks one's socks off. So one reaches out to share. Here, for the interested, is Ian Black's interview with Charles Tripp on Iraq today.

The Guardian says:
Tripp, an Arabist and professor of politics at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas), is in the vanguard of western scholars of Iraq.
For more information, the paper refers one to an historical work of Tripp's: A History of Iraq, Charles Tripp, Cambridge University Press, Third Edition

Ian Black is the Guardian's Middle East editor

SOAS is a highly-respected institution, and an authoritative voice on the history, culture, and arts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Cambridge University Press is one of the leading academic presses with a lengthy history of solid academic publishings.

It's important when looking to be informed about one topic or another to carefully screen the sources of one's information. Something that is brought home to me with even greater clarity when I stumble across some pontificating shill parroting the latest blather-am-skate from the purveyors of lies who continue to insist that Stupie McChimptard is good for the country.

Pertinent excerpts:
"There was this nonsensical idea that Saddam and everything he created was a kind of freak and that once you eradicated him the whole thing would fall apart and the potential for a liberal, democratic and a civil society would emerge as if somehow he was the only problem," he says. "But Saddam was a recognisable part of Iraqi history. Many Iraqis feel now that they've been delivered into the hands of many lesser dictators. As one of my friends said: 'Thanks very much: you got rid of one Saddam and you left us with 50.'"

Tripp is scholarly and quietly-spoken but there is no ivory-tower reticence about his analysis. The US had "up to date, unprejudiced and non-ideological" experts in the CIA, state department and the academic world, but politicians who listened to out-of-touch Iraqi exiles pushing their own agenda cut them out of the loop. Post-war planning, such as it was, was taken over by the Pentagon.
Read it for yourself. It's worth it.

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