In class, after the Memmi Group Presentation, the discussion of the place of Memmi's argument in the Iraq situation at this moment came up. I would like to perhaps pretense this post by saying that I would like to compare the design of Memmi's argument to the complex role of the Soldier in today's society. Perhaps then, we can discuss how different and complex the roles of soldiers are from the roles of a colonizer.
First, Memmi defines the colonizer as an individual that moves to a new land to attain an easier life and gain personal profit. By gaining economic gain, the colonizer automatically has inevitable privilege which lets the colonizer throw out laws and rules with no remorse. Also the colonizer will take the natives belongings and be a usurper with little to no regard to the natives. Second, another point that Memmi brings up is that there can be a colonizer who refuses but they will only have two choices when they refuse to take part in the colonizing. The colonizer that refuses can either stay in the colony and accept their privileged position or they can leave the colony and not be a part of it at all. Also, we discussed in class how the colonizer is often, if not always, pushing the ideology of the natives out so that they can become the ideological majority. This would include religion, politics, and other cultural aspects. Also, keep in mind that an overarching theme is that the colonizer is finding a NEW HOME in the land that they are colonizing.
Now lets look at the U.S. military in Iraq. I would like to state that first and foremost the U.S. soldier's position is a job and within that job there are, like all other jobs, duties that are not up for question. Also, by having a job as a U.S. soldier it must be respected that if you were not to follow your duty the consequences are arguable far worse than most jobs. First, unlike the colonizer Memmi describes that moves to a new land to attain an easier life and gain personal profit is not like a soldier. A soldier has no goal of attaining an easier life in Iraq or living there for their lifetime. Also, a soldier does not gain personal profit from being over there. While granted a soldier does gain more profit being deployed than being stationed at home (e.g. on U.S. soil) it is not specific to Iraq. Soldiers deployed anywhere are more profitable economically, yet it must be realized that this is because they cannot benefit their dependents physical. Also, under the prime directives of the U.S. military, the military units that are serving active duty are not allowed to impose on the laws, cultures, and national pride of the natives. While some would argue that by with stating the Hussein government the U.S. military was imposing on the laws and political institutions Iraq, UN and international law states that in a corrupt government outside forcing are not imposing on nations if they are liberating the nation's people; which is what the U.S. military did in the end by forcing Saddam Hussein's government out of office. Also, while some may argue that the US military has privilege and power over the natives I must say that this is not true. In fact, the only place this argument has plausibility for would be the green zone. This is the only land where the U.S. military has jurisdiction for their people and their operations. Yet, before you jump to saying this is a colonized zone I would ask you to look at the embassies that are scattered across the nations of the world that technically belong to other nations.
Continuing, Memmi states that the Colonizer that refuses has two options, to leave or stay and deal basically. Soldiers do NOT have a choice like this. This lack of choice goes back to the duties of the job and the consequences of not doing these duties. If a soldier were to refuse active duty because "oh well I don't really agree with the pretenses for going to Iraq" he would most likely be charged with treason, dishonorably dismissed, tried in a military court, and sentenced for basically "not following the norm". While you may say well he still has a choice. Unlike the colonizer who could remain in the motherland and still have a life and livelihood and profit, a soldier does not have a choice to remain at home and retain that life, livelihood, or profit because all of those ride on the soldier completing his or her job.
My last point I would like to make is that a colonizer would go to the new land and establish a new HOME! A soldier, no matter where they are deployed to, and in this case Iraq, are going there for an extended yet limited period of time. They are taking no livelihood, no family, no personal items beside those that can fit in the standard military issued backpack and duffle after the required items are packed. The few morals and values that they are allowed to bring and practice they cannot pass on to create a more comfortable home-like environment. To sum it up, our Soldiers do NOT call Iraq HOME!