What: Barbershop talk
Where: Kafr Karam, a village in the Iraqi desert
"But I can't let you unload our faults onto Saddam's shoulders. He was a monster, yes, but he was our monster. He came from among us, he shared our blood and we all contributed to consolidating his megalomania. Do you prefer infidels from the other side of the world, troops sent here to roll over us? The GIs are nothing but brutes and wild beasts; they drive their big machines past our widows and orphans and have no qualms about dropping their bombs on our health clinics. Look at what they've made of our country: hell on earth."
"Saddam made it a mass grave."
"It wasn't Saddam; it was our fear. If we had shown a minimum of courage and solidarity, that cur would never have dared become such a tyrant."
"Why do you think they're here, the Americans?" ... "Is it Christian charity? They're businessmen, we're commodities, and they're ready to trade. Yesterday, it was oil for food. Today, it's Saddam for oil. And what do we get out of all this? If the Americans had an ounce of human kindness, they wouldn't treat their blacks and their Latinos like subhumans. Instead of crossing oceans to come to the aid of some poor, emasculated ragheads, they'd do better to put their own house in order. They could do something about the Indians they've got rotting away on their reservations, kept out of sight like people with some shameful disease."
"Why did Bush attack our country? . . . Because they wished to rid us of a despot, their former flunky, but now a compromising figure? Because our sufferings had finally touched the hearts of the vultures in Washington? If you believe that fairy tale for one second, then you're irredeemably screwed. The USA was extremely worried about two things that might interfere with its hegemonic projects. One: Our country was very close to acquiring full sovereignty -- that is, a nuclear weapon. In the new world order, only nations that have a nuclear arsenal are sovereign; the others may be potential hotbeds of tension or providential sources of raw materials for the great powers, but from now on, that's all. The world is run by the forces of international finance, for which peace is equivalents to layoffs. It's all a matter of living space. The second thing the USA knew was that Iraq was the only military force in the region capable of standing up to Israel. Bringing Iraq to its knees would make it possible for Israel to dominate the Middle East. Those are the two real reasons that led to the occupation of our country. Saddam was nothing but an excuse. If he seems to give the Americans' aggression legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion, that doesn't mean using him is any less of a diabolical ploy. Their trick is to create a diversion in order to conceal the essential objectives of the exercise, which are to prevent an Arab country from acquiring the means of its strategic defense and therefore from protecting its integrity, and, at the same time, to help Israel establish definitive authority over this part of the world."
The Sirens of Baghdad by Yasmina Khadra (pgs. 33-35)