If Iraq was one of the cradles of civilization ...

why are they so uncivilized?

ummmmmmmmmmmmm…
uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

Oh god, I’m scared.

If America is the home of the free, why does it have the largest prison population?

If cars park on the driveway, why do they drive on the parkway?

All a bit Zen isn’t it?

Because it was invaded and conquered by a foreign military force just last year.

Do you think America would be any more civilized if the same thing happened?

Well it has the potential to be a modern superpower, really, with all the oil it has. The reason its in such disarray at the moment is because of sanctions and an insane dictator.

Of course I don’t mean the dictator is still there, just that the results of his economic policies are.

Things can change a lot in a couple of thousand years. Check back with what was once America in 4004.

Maybe we can draw analogies to the English empire of just a few hundred years ago?

Probably it would. It has a much better infrastructure, a much better distribution of income, notwithstanding all those CEOs, and a (mostly) pluralistic culture. Heck, we conquered West Germany and Japan, and I don’t think we saw anything approaching the chaos now seen in Iraq.

Germany and Japan had had competent governments (Evil, but competent) and had also been beaten down by years of full-scale warfare. Had Iraq suffered through six years of war and suffered a few MILLION casualties, I’d bet dollars to falafels it would be a lot quieter there.

Actually, falafels to dollars you must mean, since a falafel surely costs more than a dollar these days. :slight_smile:

You’re probably right in what you say, which suggests that maybe the current situation in Iraq is not the worst of all possible worlds.

I do think the religious fixation of so many young people over there is a problem. I can’t begin to fathom the masses of young people who decide to devote their first fruits to religious study, or joining religious militias, when the country desperately needs civil engineers, doctors, teachers, and others who can build the country materially, and help raise the people’s standard of living. I don’t consider myself an atheist, but in this I am completely at one with the avowed atheists on this message board.

Isn’t that one of their beefs with the western world? That is, that we aren’t religious fanatics?

Easy Wealth never created great powers… the current big economies are all based on industry, services and technology. Not natural resources.

Spain had all that easy gold from the Aztecs and Incas and didn’t make sure they had industry or controlled commerce. Inflation and incompetence from excessive wealth just took them down pretty quick once the gold started drying up.

So back to the OP. Mesopotamia was the cradle of civilization… but civilization isn’t self perpetuating. Society as a whole has to keep it up or fall back on dictatorial ways. The same way the US is doing some sinister things with civil liberties untought of a few years ago. Rome was the center of the world once… things change and people seem to forget the lessons of history easily.

Not until relatively recently in Iraq. Most of its modern existence it was a pretty secular-for-the-region place where Muslims coexisted with Eastern Christians and ancient Babylonian civilization was celebrated, women were educated and employed, and you could buy a drink. However, successive governments partly supported this “liberality” by clamping down brutally on large parts of the population.
As to the OP – being “civilized” has jack to do with not being brutal or inhumane. It even can empower you to be specially brutal and inhumane. After all, let’s take the parallel from a post a little bit above but instead of post-WW2 Germany, let’s make it *pre-*WW2 Germany. What happened to lead the “civilized” people of the land of Bach, Beethoven, Goethe, Schiller, into that? Or, how come China, “civilized” for 4 thousand years, had the Cultural Revolution? Let’s go even further back – it was the “civilized” Romans who herded the “barbarian” Goth refugees into swampy camps w/o food supplies and in the ensuing famine offered to trade them dogs for children, and then cried and moaned that they struck back at Rome.

No, Germany and Japan surrendered. The Emperor of Japan made a radio broadcast asking the citizens to lay down arms and comply with the American forces. That’s not quite the same as having an invading army fight its way into your capital city and capture the head of government.

I think you’re splitting a hair here. A thick one perhaps, but still. The level of destruction and death wrought on Germany and Japan by the Allies was many times worse than what the U.S. has done in Iraq. By the calculus of invasion, occupation, and local resentment that seems to be popular today, the Germans and Japanese ought to have risen up and run us out by January 1946. Why didn’t they? I think it’s because in addition to having had competent, if evil, governments, they had diverse, reasonably healthy economies. And even the Nazis and Japanese militarists saw the value of practical skills and technical education in making their countries stronger.

Iraq now seems to be falling into a fundamentalist black hole.

(My point here being that there were still plenty of German and Japanese citizens with the skills and desire to rebuild their countries. That may not have been clear the way I originally said it.)