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April 12, 2003

IRAQ: Civil Affairs Troops at Work

Strategy Page notes this reaction among arabs to the quick fall of the Iraqi military.
March 12, 2003: In the Arab world, a widely believed reason for the rapid fall of Saddam Husseins government is that Saddam was bribed to quickly lose. These delusional attitudes are common in the Arab world, as are a number of other bad habits that limit their military effectiveness, and their ability to run effective governments. Too many Arabs will not trust anyone outside their family. This is an ancient curse that many European cultures only overcame in the last few centuries. But it's still a major problem in Arab lands, meaning that Arabs in the same region or nation are reluctant to work together with their neighbors.

Another major problem is the tendency to avoid personal responsibility. Some say this is an Islamic thing. After all, the word "Islam" means "submission" and a popular attitude is that anything happens because "God wills it." Millions of Arabs who agree with neither of these precepts have migrated to Western nations in the last century, where they have done quite well. But too many of the folks who stayed behind are mired in a culture of selfishness and lack of personal responsibility. These attitudes will be run into a lot as the coalition tries to rebuild Iraq.