Friday, February 12, 2010
Iraq - War
I remember during the height of the Iraq War someone wrote an article called “Between Iraq and a hard place.” I cursed America’s stupidity for getting us in this war. Before the first bombs were dropped, I could see that Iraq would be a quagmire. Even as it became evident that we were not going to change thousands of years of ingrained tribal thought in a matter of months - with our bombs - the situation divided us - and brought some of us closer together.
We were anti-American if we opposed the war and when I spoke to our neighbors, friends and relatives I would occasionally say something like: Bush is such an idiot and if the other person responded in the same diatribe, than we would both breath a sigh of relief and we would hug each other like we were long lost comrades and we would give each other some reassuring anti-war, anti-Bush rant to reaffirm to one another that we weren’t all out of our minds.
Those were the days when us “anti-Americans” would go to Michael Moore movies and cheer. I must admit, there was a feeling of camaraderie, a sense of belonging, ironically. It was us verses them – the Bushies. Strangely, our troops were dying to unite a country, to bring the Shiites and the Sunnis together, to accept, to vote righteously, live the American way. While their government toppled, so did ours, in a sense, and our reputation with it.
How could we have thought we were so noble – any of us? We all clung to our idea of truth – what it meant in that moment. Were we delusional? Yes, in a sense. Even us – the anti-war group - because even after all that cursing and foot stomping and pointing it only left us worthy of one thing: the privilege to say we were right. But it has also left us empty and broken and we now carry around that awful feeling in the pit of our stomachs that we didn’t do enough to stop it and we ask ourselves: how are we ever going to explain this to our children? Us, Bush-haters, held the I-told-you-so prize but what has it given us? ( okay, Obama was elected, and that was something good that came out of this, but Sarah Palin is coming around the corner – here she comes!) The truth is, we’re still stuck, we’re still divided, our troops are still dying and our reputation is still lost.
We have paid a high price for this war. Not just in lives and dollars and in world opinion, but it has wounded us, it has made us bitter, untrusting, and the emotions of it still so heated that one dare not, even now, mention it, unless one is looking for a debate, or a slap. Some are saying, Obama said he would get all our troops out of that godforsaken place. He’s not keeping his promise! Paradoxically, I hear myself defending our president on this issue. “If we just pull out,” I say, “then what will happen to Iraq?”
Does anyone care anymore?
Even years after the war started, after the anti-war demonstrations, after the movie Fahrenheit 9/11, after Bush, we’re still between Iraq and a hard place.
Iraq cuisine is the essence of Middle Eastern food, in my humble opinion. Ironically, it seems that I could combine what we ate for Iraq and what we’re going to eat for Israel and we’d have an Iraqi meal! Their popular dishes include: kebabs, falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, grilled meats and lamb.
For our Iraqi meal we had shawarma - grilled meat sandwich wrap - and chicken kebab with basmati rice. We could have eaten that anywhere in the Middle East. In food, at least, they agree.