The Moyers & Company web site has the article An Iraqi Perspective: How America’s Destruction of Iraqi Society Led to Today’s Chaos. I have Elizabeth St John to thank for posting this on her Facebook page. Below is a short excerpt to give you the gist. You have to read the interview to see the justification for this.
Sect wasn’t really a part of the national consciousness. I was born in Iraq and I’d never in my life been asked if I was a Sunni or a Shiite. And I didn’t know who among my relatives or neighbors or co-workers or colleagues at school were Sunnis or Shiites, because it wasn’t an issue. It’s not that people were tolerant toward each other — they weren’t aware of sectarian backgrounds. It’s similar to some areas in the US where you don’t necessarily know what Christian sect your friends belong to. You might know, or you might not know.
That was before the US intervention. The US destroyed that Iraqi national identity and replaced it with sectarian and ethnic identities after 2003. I don’t think this is something that many Iraqis argue about, because you can trace the beginning of this sectarian strife that is destroying the country, and it clearly began with the US invasion and occupation.
Wow, this is mind-boggling. I didn’t realize how much of this sectarian strife originated from US prejudices that we foisted on the Iraqis. Separating the country into regions for each part of Iraq society seemed to me to be an adaptation to their situation, when in fact it was an adaptation to fit our prejudices.
Here I thought I was being understanding of the situation by thinking that I could understand why the Shiites were taking such a hard stance against the Sunnis because of what the Sunni minority did under Saddam Husein. According to the Iraqi native in the in the interview, this “understanding” is a figment of my imagination (or the propaganda I have been fed).