Since long before I was assigned to active duty and came to Iraq, the western news organs have been publishing all kinds of negativity about Iraq, including that most Iraqis hate us and want us to go home. But from time to time I would see pictures on the internet (too many of them to be part of a digital-photo-doctoring conspiracy) of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens shaking hands, smiling with each other, and working together.
I'll admit that since I've been here I have only met and talked with somewhere between 500-1000 Iraqis (mostly children), but nearly all of them have been genuinely friendly to me (and no, the adults were not afraid to speak their opinions, such as that they are frustrated in some cases by the American military's predominance here, and that one man I met from Tikrit actually likes Saddam Hussein a lot.)
Since so few of them actually hate the military, what is it, if anything that they hate about us?
As I was reading the Qur'an and a commentary on it the other day a supreme irony occurred to me. What they hate about America and the west is not the liberty we're helping them to achieve, but how it appears to them that we westerners have turned life into a trash pile of permissiveness with the liberty that we have forgotten how to use correctly. I'm sure they're somewhat afraid that they'll get our values as part of the package.
A couple of examples will suffice as illustration of what they more than likely hate about us:
The Sanctity and Beauty of Womanhood. Islam teaches that woman is the supreme creation of God and should be protected and respected like nothing else. Yet what do Muslims (not just in Iraq) see on their newly acquired satellite dishes? They see that western decadence, as portrayed by upwards of 90% of everything coming out of Hollywood, has transformed women from creations requiring humble respect into objects of magnetic attraction that are often good for nothing more than to be ogled, abused, and discarded.
The Reality of a Creator. According to the prophet, Muhammad, God (Allah is the name of God in Islam) created the earth in several periods, following which he created Adam as the first man and Eve as the first woman (see, for example, Sura #2 in the Qur'an). According to Islam, most of Darwinian Evolution--that man descended from protozoa--is a blatant falsehood. Yet what do Muslims read on their internet news sites of interest? That only evolution can be taught in American schools, that the theory of evolution has become regarded by many of the American "movers and shakers" as fact, and that no other theory, including merely that earth and man may have come about as a result of intelligent design, may be taught in their hallowed halls.
Would you feel threatened by these "values" coming out of the West if you were an Arab Muslim? I'm not an Arab Muslim, and I feel threatened by these values!
My church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (and for that matter nearly all of Christianity) agrees with the above-described fundamental Islamic beliefs. But if one had only satellite television and western-exported movies from which to judge, one would have great cause to worry that Islamic civilization is in danger from western "values".
It is wonderful that so many "everyday" Americans express their support for the troops here in Iraq. It would be doubly wonderful if as many of these Americans would express their support for the Judeo-Christian values that made our country great and demand that they once again become publicly enshrined. Coincidentally, these are values that in more cases than not agree with Islamic values.
If more of us Americans spoke up about our values, then maybe the truth about American society would emerge from and overcome the filth that a few islands of elite debauchery are using to deceive the rest of the world as to what American values really are. Actually, if more everyday Americans would speak out about and demand public respect for the values they hold dear, then there would really be nothing about which Muslims could hate us at all.