"What the British are doing, and what we really need to do, is to tease out the cultural complexities of this thing," said Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest (R-Md.). "On the one hand, they are signaling to all the Iraqi people, whatever sect they are -- Sunnis, Shias, Kurds -- they are not going to be an occupying force. That's a powerful signal to send. And the other signal is that they are passing the torch to the Iraqis, who are the only ones who can handle this ancient -- I'd say primitive -- sectarian dispute."
Remind me again, Congressman Gilchrest, did you vote to allow the invasion and occupation of this primitive, savage land?
Never mind that since the event that Shi'a Muslims mark as the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in the seventh century AD, there hasn't been any comparable dispute between Sunni and Shi'i Arab inhabitants of Mesopotamia. Never mind that Iraqis being tortured by other Iraqis or by Americans, asked "are you Sunni or Shiite?" may never have been asked such a question before the Anglo-American invasion. Once upon a time, Iraq was a secular state. Never mind that, despite this "ancient -- I'd say primitive -- sectarian dispute", there was (at least before CIA-backed strongman Saddam Hussein came to power) a relatively high proportion of Shi'i politicians and military officers in places of power in the Iraqi state. Never mind that this "ancient -- I'd say primitive -- sectarian dispute" wasn't raging before the Anglo-American invasion. So how primitive is it?
American lawmakers, and indeed many Americans in general, tend to see the Middle East as a land of perpetual violence and nonstop hatred (as with Webb's remark). They would be surprised to know that the Muslims are actually human, and many (I daresay most) would prefer to live their lives in peace. But this is a necessary illusion, because it extricates the US Empire from any blame in the tragedies daily facing the locals.
Such rationalizations are but a step away from this:
"I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes."
Divide-and-rule is an old imperialist trick. The west has used it on Iraq (and much of the Middle East) for nearly nine decades. The Iraqi people shouldn't be blamed that it is finally working. The west should be congratulated.
The willful ignorance necessary for such racist criminals to continue their fantasies of the wisdom and beneficence of the white man is astounding, as usual.