I ventured out of my little thread to read on in some other threads to see what the tenor of comments on MENA were, and regretted it.
Assertions about what Iraqis should/are/would think (based largely it appears on projecting oneself into a land and country the writer knows literally nothing about), assertions vans carrying women and men are suspicious because that just doesn’t happen, assertions, assertions…
I would hope, before people start making assertions and suspicions that they would start to do so on the basis of some real knowledge. I find it immensely disappointing to read again and again confident judgement calls about what an Iraqi or an Arab or whatever “would do” or “would think” etc. etc. by people who clearly have little if any knowledge of the region.
Now, before the chorus of arrogant bastard remarks rain down on my head, I want to be clear:
It strikes me as good policy to seek information before coming to conclusions.
I would never think of jumping to the conclusions and assertions I have seen to date here on the Middle East, say on China. I know little about China. There are many points that can be debated, but I don’t think my call for people to reign in half-baked assertions on something they don’t know or understand.
I am well aware some posters wouldn’t think of informing themselves before asserting, but one would think as the US enters into what is likely to be a decade long close involvement with the region, that perhaps, just pehraps for the sheer novelty value, that instead of forming opinions off of half-baked journalistic reports, that some people would bother to pick up a goddamned book and learn something.
Actually I don’t really think that, I am well aware that the idea of actually informing oneself in the United States these days is a dangerous innovation, however, if only for the sheer novelty it would be nice to see.
No, I shall not provide cites at this point in time, I think the sea of inane assertions and wild speculation on Iraq in Great Debates speak for themselves. Plus I owe responses in my thread which are time consuming.
Very well then, now that I have expressed my frustration, perhaps Tamerlane and I should colloborate on a Cafe Thread on readings on the Middle East. Maybe this weekend if I have time.