Via Spencer Ackerman via Matt Yglesias, our leadership at work figuring out that whacky Arab culture:
U.S. officials painstakingly examine evidence and laws while attempting to satisfy victims’ claims through cash compensation.
But traditional Arab society values honor and decorum above all. If a man kills or badly injures someone in an accident, both families convene a tribal summit. The perpetrator admits responsibility, commiserates with the victim, pays medical expenses and other compensation, all over glasses of tea in a tribal tent.
“Our system is so different from theirs,” said David Mack, a former U.S. diplomat who has served in American embassies in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. “An honor settlement has to be both financial and it has to have the right symbolism. We would never accept their way of doing things, and they don’t accept ours.”
Matt snarks: “What a fascinating place Iraq must be! Maybe someday we’ll discover that in Arab culture they have this weird thing where people’s political allegiances are heavily influenced by issues of ethnic, cultural, and religious identity and that having their destinies controlled by a foreign, religiously alien, occupying army that doesn’t speak the language is kind of a drag. Who knows?”
Sadly, it is pointed out in Matt’s comments that the Onion was there first:
A field study released Monday by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health suggests that Iraqi citizens experience sadness and a sense of loss when relatives, spouses, and even friends perish, emotions that have until recently been identified almost exclusively with Westerners.
“We were struck by how an Iraqi reacts to the sight of the bloody or decapitated corpse of a family member in a not unlike an American, or at the very least a Canadian, would,” said Dr. Jonathan Pryztal, chief author of the study. “In addition to the rage, bloodlust, and hatred we already know to dominate the Iraqi emotional spectrum, it appears that they may have some capacity, however limited, for sadness.”
Though Pryztal was quick to add that more detailed analysis is needed, he said the findings cast some doubt on long-held assumptions about human nature in that region.
At some point in the not so distant future, we may be better off turning over our entire government to the staff of the Onion.
if only someone had tried to warn the warmongers about these things beforehand. if only.
Daddy, what does regret mean?
Well son, the funny thing about regret is,
It’s better to regret something you have done,
Than to regret something you haven’t done.
And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend,
Be sure and tell her, SATAN, SATAN, SATAN!!!
I was unaware that 6 years ago qualified as the not so distant future. Knowledge really is power!
This is either depressing, or stupid, or funny, or enraging. I haven’t figured out which, yet.
Next thing you know someone will tell us that they dress in robes and stuff for some practical reason, not just to look funny.
For some reason, the more the administration comes to resemble articles from The Onion, the more depressing I find it.
What?!!? You mean we didn’t? You mean all this stuff is REAL?! OMG, how’m I gonna break it to the family?
The young sons and daughters whose parents, or other relatives that have perished in this bloody misbegotten Bush neocon adventure will likely someday want compensation, but I doubt it will come thru lawsuits or negotiations over tea.
The GW Bush administration, setting the standard for The Onion one Friedman Unit at a time.
If I recall correctly, the person put in charge of compensating Iraqis who encountered a little collateral damage when The Surge began was Our Man in Iraq, Chalabi. No doubt he’s strictly adhered to the vaunted CPA cash-brick standard of responsible accounting. You just can’t out-Onion these guys.
The Onion is more accurate than anything that passes as mass media these days, anyways…
What frightening times we live in, eh? When a parody newspaper is better at informing the lives of Americans than real newspapers. When the Daily Show and Colbert Report are better at getting across the truth to Americans than CBS, NBC, and ABC. I can imagine someone going into a coma in 1999, waking up now and wondering “What the hell kind of evil parallel universe did I wake up into?”
From the LA Times story:
The part I highlighted is the man’s reference to Koran 42:40:
In Islamic law, the victim or his family has the right to demand an eye for an eye, or accept diyya (blood money) or forgive the wrongdoer if you forgiveness will help him become a better person.
Strangely, the authors of the article, one for sure with a Muslim name, can’t bring themselves to point to the Islamic sources of the victims’ behavior and attitudes, as if Arab tribal laws are distinguishable from sharia.
Ivan Ivanovich Renko
One dominated by conservatives.
SA2SQ, etc. etc…
(mind, “evil” and “conservative” are damn close to redundant, but…)
U.S. officials shaken by discovery of ancient cities along the Tigris, Euphrates rivers.
Bush calls news of a complex civilization that pre-dates the American colonies by thousands of years the talk of God hating unpatriotic archeo-elitists. Heh.
Shouldn’t that also be “and they would never accept ours”?
If he wanted to be diplomatic like.
All this stuff from the Onion makes me cry.
Dennis - SGMM
This only goes to prove Clinton’s wisdom in promising to obliterate Iran should it attack Israel with nuclear weapons: once you’ve obliterated an entire nation there’s no one left to demand reparations.
Sadly, The Onion predicted the disaster that is the Bush administration before he even took office.
Wow. A culture that believes in honor, respect, and forgiveness. It’s like they’re from another planet or something. It’s a good thing we’re there to teach them the truly advanced American values of big guns, greed, vengeance, buying everybody off, and kicking ass. Oh wait, those are the gooper values. Did we used to have admirable values? It seems like we might have, but I forgot.
Man, I used to read that article and laugh grimly. Now it is all I can do to keep from alternately weeping and throwing up.
Had a nitwit winger (redundant!) relative make fun of arab men for ‘wearing dresses’. My response, “As a Catholic, do you really want to go there?”