Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In Iraq, what exactly constitutes "extremism"?

Over the past several weeks, many leftists have been criticizing the mainstream/corporate/commercial/lazy/brain-dead news outlets for just parroting the administration's lines regarding the war in Iraq. All American operations are against "Al-Qaeda", all enemies are "terrorists" or "extremists".

Here's one example I noticed yesterday in Forbes: "Extremists unleashed a barrage of more than a dozen mortars or rockets into the Green Zone..."

First, do they really have any idea of who shot the mortars? Is the fact that these people shot mortars into the Green Zone sufficient to label them as extremists? What exactly does it mean to be an extremist in Iraq?

I think that "extremism" must be judged with respect to the political center-of-gravity for that society, or alternatively, to the political traditions of that society. From that perspective, Baathists are conservatives. And proponents of national independence are fairly moderate (as they are world-wide). In Iraq, I think that Iraqi liberals (i.e. "republicans" or "democrats") are fairly extreme, since they have never held power in Iraq and there is substantial evidence that most Iraqis are not "unity liberals". The major political parties seem to be either socialist or Islamist. On top of that, there are a few influential separatist movements. Any of these groups--which deserve the title "moderate" or "centrist" could be in opposition to the American-installed Iraqi government.

I think Forbes just fed us a bunch of bullshit.

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