While listening to NPR this morning -- which I only listened to because WBAI's "Democracy Now" had Arundhati Roy's elegant but platitudinous speech from Riverside Church on Tuesday night -- I caught this fascinating report from Iraq by, of course, the British.
The question at hand was: why is it that in Um Khazar, the port under British control, there has been little looting, social riot, and no killing of troops. In fact, they just quite easily elected their new mayor without much fuss. Why? The interviewer proposed that Um Khazar, as a port, had more of an internationalist culture and community. It's also relatively small, compared to Baghdad, with only 45,000 people.
But then this academic got on and made a great point: The Americans really value "protection control" -- meaning, American troops protect themselves first and then protect the population. The British, and this comes from their historic traditional as a colonizer, are much more comfortable not militarizing their interactions with the locals/natives/etc. "Protection control" is not the point, so you can do much more with fewer troops and more (and different) kinds of interaction. The academic's final point was a powerful one: there has been one combat British soldier death in Iraq. It happened when a British driver got out of his car to help a group of Iraqis who needed water, and one of them shot him point-blank.
(Excuse the length on this post)Posted by phrisky at May 15, 2003 12:37 PM