Iraqis, Tribalism, and the Confederacy
If an Iraqi division was rolling up I-85 through Greensboro on its way to overthrow some hypothetical despot in Washington, Iíd like to think Iíd have the wherewithal to pick a couple of the bastards off along the way.
I was thinking about the Pentagonís surprise at the level of Iraqi resistance and the emergence of the Fedayeen as the Viet Cong of an urban-jungle war, and I wondered what I would do if another country invaded the United States to remove a US government I despised.
Most likely, Iíd hope to take up arms against the invaders. Not to sound vainglorious--Iím a middle-aged dad and desk-jockey, not a survivalist or a militiaman, Quaker-educated, not a warrior. But i
t's happened here before--itís what folks in my part of North Carolina did during the Civil War. Guilford County, like much of the South (including Robert E. Lee), didnít want to secede. Few people here owned slaves, and the planter class was viewed with some suspicion. But soldiers from here fought bravely when the shooting started. Itís possible that certain demographic groups in this county are more pro-Confederacy now than their ancestors were in early 1861.
I know itís not an exact comparison, and obviously if Iíd been a Jew in Nazi Germany, or for that matter a Kurd in Iraq, I would make a different choice. The Shias, though, have not flipped as we expected, at least not yet. Arab culture, famously tribal, gave us this saying: ďMe and my brother against our cousin, me and my brother and our cousin against a stranger.Ē
Surprise! It turns out they meant it.