Not only American boys, but British, Italian and now the first Indian death has occurred in Iraq. The first Indian citizen was in the USA trying to become a U.S. citizen, enlisted in the U.S. military and was killed in an ambush in Iraq. His parents want him buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


"I had an interesting conversation last night with two U.S. Soldiers who were about to fly back (23 hrs) to Iraq the next morning (today). One of them said something to me that I thought was interesting, but I think I may have just figured out what it means: women of Iraq, even in problem areas north of Baghdad, want peace. Primarily, it is older boys and men who find a sense of identity and mission in fighting a guerilla action against Americans.

The soldiers said they frequently received tips offs from young children, who would tell them of weapons caches and planned ambushes. Young children, he said, would lead American soldiers to houses with weapons caches, foiling guerilla operations almost daily. But the older children, could not be trusted. They were likely to be co-participants in guerilla actions.

I was thinking about what this could mean, and I realized it has everything to do with Arab culture. Young boys live in the world of women until, around the time of puberty, they are turned over to the man's world. Afterwards, they do not spend time with their mothers or sisters or other females during the day. In fact, there are many clear divisions in the roles played by the sexes operating in the day to day activities. These divisions and separations of the sexes are much more well-defined and enforced in Arab culture than in our own culture.

The point is that young children still live in the realm of women, whereas adolescent and older males live exclusively in the realm of men. It is unlikely that young children developed political opinions on their own. If young children are assisting American soldiers but older children are not, there must be a difference in the kind of guidance being supplied by adults, and especially the parents.

The only possible difference that would explain this is the difference in the roles of women and men. Many Iraqi men must be dealing with the uncertainty and suspicion that they feel towards American military occupation by engaging their patriotic fervor for the Saddam Hussein regime, and Iraqi sovereignty.

Women must be much less susceptible to the notion that fighting for the displaced despot could somehow serve their family. As a result, the women, who are under the absolute control of their husbands and their husbands' families, exert their influence in the only way they can, through encouraging their young children to take away the possibility of turning their whole neighborhood into a war zone or ambush site. They instruct their young children to alert American soldiers to weapons caches and planned ambushes-- to dangerous activities that only Iraqi men (never women) would engage in.

I have not attempted to revise the above thoughts carefully. I have simply drafted them as quickly as possible because I think it may be extremely important. If the American occupation forces can find a way to expose the irrationality of Iraqi male vainglory, misplaced patriotism and hate, and to empower the longsuffering women of Iraq, without insulting the entire population, then it may be helpful. Perhaps a new campaign to convey: "We love your children too. Please help us protect them with security for the new Iraq! The new Iraq will belong only to your children. What kind of Iraq do you want that to be? You can all determine that for yourselves if there is enough security for long enough that the new Iraqi government can be chosen by you. Then we will leave."