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Friday, April 09, 2004

Religious Soldiers

Hugh Hewitt mentions a Kerrey (I assume he meant that, not Kerry, as he wrote) comment about the religious diversity the US is bringing to Iraq. Of course, Kerrey sees that as a bad thing; not all diversity is good, as we have all learned.

But Kerrey leaves out one major increase in Iraqi religious diversity: with the coming of the US army, the population of Jewish people in Iraq has increased by 1000%.

Perhaps these are not a bad thing; what is the main argument for diversity, including forcible diversity? That racism, bigotry, and hatred is caused by not knowing and not understanding the other side. While I have my own issues with that response -- I never made fun of Canadians before I went there and found out how endearingly silly they are! -- I think there's something to be said for it in this case. There are so many stories from seventy years ago (and today) about people whose only knowledge of "a Jew" comes from rumor and stereotype, because they have never met a single one. There's that old cartoon from the third Reich, of a town wiring Hitler that they won't be able to enforce his restrictions on Jews unless he sends them a pair, so that they can identify them and figure out what is meant by "Jews." If people find out, especially after the fact, that quite a few (well, 1 per cent) of the soldiers rebuilding their hospitals, their schools, their water supplies, and getting rid of tyrannical overlords are Jewish, that might throw a monkey wrench in the anti-semitism with which they were brought up.

On the other hand, might it not make some difference if those Iraqis who hate the anti-Muslim, Crusader US were to come into more contact with Muslims in the US army there?


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