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A Disconnected Community: Fallujah

What aspects of community do we need to better understand, for there to be growth and stability in Iraq? Let me start with the stepping stones to community: security, rules, money, infrastructure, and resources. Why are these stepping stones important? Because, from their linkage, community arises. And if a link is broken, the failure cascades.

Take Fallujah as an example.

If we can't provide security in Fallujah, then no discussion of establishing new rules takes place there. And absent a new rule set, we can't move on to the stepping stones of investment, of providing basic facilities and services, or allowing them to develop their assets. Failure to walk safely down a path toward community means no growth, no stability. No stability in Fallujah means they stay disconnected from the world.

Is disconnected the kind community Fallujah chooses for the future? Maybe. Perhaps they've already chosen. They've certainly made their intentions known.

Posted by Critt Jarvis at 09:10 AM | Permalink


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Tracked on Apr 6, 2004 7:49:41 PM


Sounds like Iraq needs a thorough study in social psychology/sociology. Your comments made me think of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Here is an excellent commentary:
"Maslow's hierarchy of needs was an alternative to the depressing determinism of Freud and Skinner. He felt that people are basically trustworthy, self-protecting, and self-governing. Humans tend toward growth and love. Although there is a continuous cycle of human wars, murder, deceit, etc., he believed that violence is not what human nature is meant to be like. Violence and other evils occur when human needs are thwarted. In other words, people who are deprived of lower needs such as safety may defend themselves by violent means. He did not believe that humans are violent because they enjoy violence. Or that they lie, cheat, and steal because they enjoy doing it.

According to Maslow, there are general types of needs (physiological, safety, love, and esteem) that must be satisfied before a person can act unselfishly. He called these needs "deficiency needs." As long as we are motivated to satisfy these cravings, we are moving towards growth, toward self-actualization. Satisfying needs is healthy, blocking gratification makes us sick or evil. In other words, we are all "needs junkies" with cravings that must be satisfied and should be satisfied. Else, we become sick."
Each of these needs must be met in the following order, before a society can reach its potential.
Physiological Needs
Safety Needs
Love Needs
Esteem Needs

sorry this was so long...Kim, PFC Stearn's Mom

Posted by: Kim, PFC Jonathan's Mom | Apr 1, 2004 11:09:15 AM

Security is a pre-requisite for rules, money, and other resources. But the establishment of security is a non-possibility if the people involved do not want the US or its allies (including the Iraqi Police, whom are controlled by the US) to be the agent of that security.

By parallel, Israel has been trying to establish security with its own forces, or by proxy (in good times) with Palestinian Authority forces. But certain factions simply will not accept the ground rules or those with the power of security. So they fight, and fight.

The first thing the US must do, if it ever wants to reach a point of establishing security, is get the people to WANT security provided by the US. The clerics and town leaders and others have to speak to the people and promote a vision, where security provided by this outside power will provide benefit rather than more opression and more compromise to them.

Outside of Iraq, The US has failed to gain muslim leadership support. We must use soft power, or simple moral appeal, to get the leadership to sway the moderates to beleiving that yes, in fact the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war, and every other move being made by the US does in fact liberate muslims, and does in fact give them freedom of religion rather than being solely purposed to force american values on them.

The only muslim in a leadership position whom has spoken out consistently, and in favor of both the US and of tearing down the hardline / oppressive muslim leadership is the lesbian canadian (sorry, forget her name). One person. We need one hundred thousand, or all our efforts will be dashed.

Posted by: Jordan Frank | Apr 1, 2004 5:14:41 PM

Kim needn't apologize for the length of her post, IIMHO, because she covered a lot of ground. Others, like Ken Wilber and Don Beck, have expanded on these ideas and provided "maps" for looking at all the overlapping aspects of humanity. At heart, it still takes what Kim herself provides...a willingness to fly above the walls, to transend the us/them divide and enfold our commonality. But I am still working through the behaviour of my "fellow humans." I sent Critt the following this morning, and he encouraged me to participate in this conversation. Thanks, Critt. I do feel better.

"Thanks, Critt. This one I have to think about some more. Something so dark that resides so deep inside the human potential...it's not confined to any one race or religion or region. In the "civilized era" it seems that the victims and the immediate perpetraters are pawns in a game in which the big players are "hidden on high." Makes me want to cry. But I keep seeing these warriors of ours, sometimes kids to me, yet so balanced, so full of resolve and committment...at least when on camera...not faking but finding it within to stay with a purpose in face of overwelming disappointment. Let's hope their leaders, which is ultimately all of us, can find a way with this that doesn't leave them holding the bag...or in it.


Posted by: Max Gail | Apr 1, 2004 5:16:37 PM

This is from an article in the WSJ
The Fallujah Massacre
April 1, 2004; Page A14 Wall Street Journal

It's always a good idea to resist the temptation for event-driven handwringing about Iraq. Nobody should have expected America's job there to be easy, and the car bombs and other attacks are intended by our enemies to obscure the genuine progress being made. That said, let us offer an observation: It is not a good sign that Iraqis feel free to mutilate the bodies of dead Americans in front of the world's TV cameras.

Yesterday's massacre of four civilian contractors in Fallujah should serve as a wake-up call to the occupation forces that democracy will have a hard time taking root in Iraq so long as justice takes a holiday. We'd have thought that the immediate round-up of all those caught on film participating in this heinous act would be a no-brainer, but apparently Fallujans fear no such response.

And why should they? Not a single one of the thousands of Iraqis and jihadists detained for plotting or participating in attacks on coalition forces and civilians has so far been visibly punished. Ditto for the members of Saddam Hussein's criminal regime. Is this how Douglas MacArthur would have administered Iraq?

We understand the political calculations behind the softly-softly approach. There are worries that the military trial and execution of the irregular combatants -- amply justified by the accepted laws of war and occupation -- would only inflame the already restive Sunni Triangle, and perhaps the Arab world generally. There is also an understandable desire for Iraqis themselves to be seen doing justice to their former tormentors in Saddam Hussein's regime.

But a year without justice has also been a year without enough deterrence, and Fallujans now have more reason to fear the consequences of working with the Americans than the consequences of killing them. Needless to say, the persistence of this state of affairs will doom any hopes of normalization in the Sunni Triangle at least.

A good start at rectifying the situation would be the swift arrest and visible punishment of those responsible for the Fallujah massacre, including the mutilators caught on film. The killers of Fern Holland and Robert Zangas, the two CPA employees executed by rogue Iraqi policemen in early March, are in custody and should also be tried with dispatch.

And just to show the Coalition is an equal opportunity law enforcer, occupation authorities might intensify their crackdown on Shiite firebrand Moqtada al-Sadr. Baghdad Regent Paul Bremer justifiably shuttered Mr. Sadr's al-Hawza newspaper Sunday for printing wild anti-American rumors and inciting violence against our troops. The U.S. may also need to consider arresting the cleric. His men have been implicated in the killings of U.S. soldiers, as well as in numerous acts of violence and intimidation against ordinary Iraqis.

It is ordinary Iraqis, of course, who suffer most from the lawlessness, and a great many of them favor a stronger U.S. hand. We've also had reports that the morale of the Iraqi police has been undermined by the lenient treatment we afford the criminals they catch. Those who've chosen to work with Americans obviously share our hopes for the emerging democratic Iraq, and they can't quite understand why our mighty army tolerates so much thuggery.

There's been much armchair speculation in the U.S. about whether a larger occupation force would have helped. One thing's for sure: No number of extra troops would have made much difference so long as we feared meting out punishment for fear of giving offense. The U.S. Marines, who did such a masterful job as the original occupiers of south-central Iraq and are now assuming responsibility for Fallujah, have a motto: "No better friend; no worse enemy." Those words bear repeating now throughout the occupation forces and among their bosses -- especially those inside Baghdad's Green Zone, at the Pentagon and in the White House.

Posted by: TIffiany Day | Apr 1, 2004 9:09:59 PM

Besides our soldiers..the bravest people in Iraq are their policemen. I don't know if it's Patriotism, financial or just guts that makes them do it.

Posted by: Pamela Goodwill | Apr 1, 2004 10:48:48 PM