Although the June 30th deadline to hand over civilian authority to Iraqis is rapidly approaching, we have yet to achieve total pacification of Iraq. While most cities are under control, cities like Fallujah and Najaf continue to be dangerous and bloody terrain for our troops. Without a doubt the continuing ground war in Iraq is testing America's will, as our troops battle insurgencies by radical Shiite and Sunni Muslims, as well as work to pacify pugnacious elements like Muqtada al-Sadr and his small brigand of sympathizers.
Public mood and opinion, however, are extremely important during this time. If the American public waivers in support for our troops, rapid demoralization and hindrance to further progress in the battlefield will doubtlessly be the result. While most of us proudly wear yellow ribbons and wave the American flag in support of our men and women in Iraq, there is a small, angry, vocal minority of the American public that will do anything to undermine our troops and heed the pacification of Iraq. A UC Berkeley lecturer, Hatem Bazian, stands at the forefront of this small movement in the Bay Area.
Despite majority opinion, Dr. Bazian thinks that lending moral support to our American military personnel in these challenging times is a cumbersome task. What does he do instead? Just like the individuals from the leftist "peace movement," he thinks it is fitting and proper to focus on the perpetual psychological degradation of our troops. Thus, not only is he a contributor to the demoralization of our troops, but more ridiculously, he calls for an "intifada" in our own backyard.
In a speech given at an anti-war rally in San Francisco, he told the crowd, "Are you angry? Are you angry? Are you angry? Well, we've been watching intifada in Palestine, we've been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don't have an intifada in this country...it's about time we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics here." One clearly realizes how upset Dr. Bazian is about the lack of insurrection in America. Yet, what he fails to realize is why there is no uprising here. Unlike the "willing participants" of the intifadas in Palestine and Iraq, Americans have better things to do with their time than strap bombs to their bodies or throw rocks at military personnel. Nor do they feel that such a cause is necessary. Again, most Americans support our troops' efforts in Iraq.
He continued on to comment on the public's possible reaction to his statements, clearly beginning to realize how ridiculous he was being. Yet this did not stop his outrageous comments from being made. "They're gonna say some Palestinian being radical—-well, you haven't seen radicalism yet!" Hopefully this kind of radicalism will involve more than just Hamas flags being waved and large multitudes of people chanting "Death to Zionism" (I'll make sure Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush get your message).
Just short of formally endorsing the current insurgency in Iraq, Dr. Bazian clearly has an agenda on his hands. While our troops are combating malignant elements on Iraqi soil, Dr. Bazian feels that a similar insurgency must start in America. And while he has recently tried to clarify his statements, he continues to flatly deny their dispiriting effects on our troops. In the April 19, 2004 edition of the O'Reilly Factor, Dr. Bazian explained to Mr. O'Reilly that his statement was meant to incite only a "political intifada" in this country. This explanation is no less disturbing. Just what does he mean by political intifada? The word "intifada" clearly means "uprising" in Arabic. Does he really want a political uprising in America?
Statements like Dr. Bazian's must not go unpunished. He has a clear intent to disrupt legitimate authority at home and give the enemies, who are fighting our troops, a moral boost. Dr. Bazian can rant and drone all he wants about his right to free speech, but as an American, watchful of any suspicious and seditious statements especially from the "usual suspects," I have a right to be outraged.
It has been some time since I caught Dr. Hatem Bazian's statement and yet, scant attention has been given to his public folly. I am not surprised at the lack of condemnation and outrage from our administration, and certainly from the morally bankrupt Middle Eastern Studies Department. Even though there has been a lack of action and outrage from the general student body, there are a few vigilant people who keep a tight watch on these "loose mouths," and you can guarantee we will continue to do so.
As our troops continue to fight Iraqi insurgents, it is important for us to maintain our resolve until the war effort is complete. As for you, Dr. Bazian, do not expect the same light treatment if you make the same mistake in the future.