Monday, April 19, 2004

Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Middle East since 1095 No one can ever accuse Urban II, I mean, Bush 2004, Inc. of being terribly swift on the uptake. From Reuters. "Years after President Bush set off alarm bells in the Muslim world by referring to his war against terrorism as a "crusade," the word that Arabs equate with Christian brutality has resurfaced in a Bush campaign fund-raising letter, officials acknowledged on Sunday. The March 3 letter, which Bush-Cheney Campaign Chairman Marc Racicot sent to new campaign charter members in Florida, lauded the Republican president for "leading a global crusade against terrorism" while citing evidence of Bush's "strong, steady leadership during difficult times." However, the word "crusade" recalls a historical trauma for the Muslim world, which was besieged by Christian crusaders from Europe during the Middle Ages. In the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, Bush caused an uproar by telling reporters: "This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take awhile." Faced with worldwide consternation over the remark, the White House later said Bush regretted his use of the term." Meanwhile, those who are subject to the "crusade" are showing the same level of appreciation as their Medieval forebears. "Guerrillas coming out of Fallujah have complained bitterly that Kurdish militiamen known as pesh merga are deployed against them. The Kurds are members of the 36th Battalion of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, built from several exile-based militias that supported the U.S.-led campaign against Saddam Hussein. Commanders of another, overwhelmingly Arab Iraqi army battalion refused to fight alongside the Marines. "Worse than pigs, thieves and tramps," read lines in a poem circulating on fliers in Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq where Kurds are accused of pushing Arab families off land claimed by both groups. The fliers condemned the leaders of Iraq's two Kurdish parties. It is not known who produced the fliers, which were also seen in Baghdad. The Kurdish leaders were condemned in chanting that followed Friday prayers at a major Sunni mosque in Baghdad. "When the fighting is over in Fallujah, I will sell everything I have, even my home," said a resistance fighter who gave his name as Abu Taif Mashhadani. He wept as he recalled his 8-year-old daughter, who he said was killed by a U.S. sniper in Fallujah a week ago. "I will send my brothers north to kill the Kurds, and I will go to America and target the civilians. Only the civilians. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. And the one who started it will be the one to be blamed." " Oy.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by