About a week and a half ago, commenting on the two-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Iraqi blogger Husayn Uthman wrote a post called "2 Years", expressing optimism and hope for his country's future:
So you ask me, Husayn, was it worth it. What have you gotten? What has Iraq acheived? These are questions I get a lot.It's a powerful statement. If you haven't read it, check it out.
...Now I answer you, I answer you on behalf of myself, and my countrymen. I dont care what your news tells you, what your television and newspapers say, this is how we feel. Despite all that has happened. Despite all the hurt, the pain, blood, sweat and tears. These two years have given us hope we never had.
Before March 20, 2003, we were in a dungeon. We did not see the light. Saddam Hussain was crushing Iraq's spirit slowly, we longed for his end, but knew we could not challenge him, or his diabolical seed who would no doubt follow him and continue his generation of hell on Earth.
Since then, we now have hope. Hope is not a tangible thing, but it is something, it is more than being blinded by darkness, by being stuck in a mental pit without any future.
...No, we will not give up, and we will not say that the last two years were a waste. They for all their trouble have been momentus. They for us, have been a turning point in history. Whether or not you agree, this is how it looks from Iraq.
Soon after Husayn posted his thoughts, the feedback started rolling in. Here are a few of the responses he's received:
What the hell is wrong with you, you don’t mind having your country blown up by others but you mind people not understanding you. This is a pure crock, and you sir are either mentally unstable or working for the United States.I can't prove that Husayn is really an Iraqi, blogging from Iraq. But the only reason some people think he's lying is that his opinions don't match their own idea of how an Iraqi should feel about the war. I have a hunch none of the above commenters fired off angry, skeptical missives to anonymous Iraqi blogger Riverbend in response to her very pessimistic post on the same topic. Her views were acceptable, you see.
Husayn, you are an idiot, I think you are really American. No, I know you are American, no Iraqi feels like you do you lying scumbag. How much is the CIA paying you to spread lies about the occupation of Iraq? I hope you get yours.
Sir I was linked to your blog by another website. What I found is quite interesting. Despite what everyone else in the world says, you are saying that things in Iraq are good. Ignorng the fact that everyday bombs are blown up, you are happy. Despite the fact that Americans are wasting money in Iraq, you thank them. May I ask you, are you blind or just stupid?
Richard Jones, UK
In Riverbend's case, an anonymous poster at Healing Iraq, who claims to know her personally, said her father was "a Saddam-appointed ambassador, and a high ranking Ba'athist", who presumably lost big when Saddam was overthrown. Cry Me a Riverbend II examines her blog and suspects the same thing. Provable? Again, no. But it's a possibility for bias that opponents of the war would never stop to consider. Riverbend's views are acceptable, you see.
All of this has me thinking that the recent spate of hand-wringing about how ill-informed Americans are about current events in general, and about Iraq in particular, is overblown. My hunch is that America's media are largely succeeding in their mission of delivering information. That delivery may be incredibly biased, but facts for the most part get through.
All the facts in the world, however, won't make a difference to someone who has closed his mind to new evidence. A Bush supporter (which I am) who feels threatened by the failure to discover stockpiles of WMD in Iraq (which I don't) may have responded by refusing to accept that fact.
And war opponents confronted with an Iraqi who supports the occupation may simply refuse to believe he exists.