The global war on terror, identity, and changing perceptions: Iraqi responses to America's War in Iraq

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For many years opposition to US foreign policy has frequently been interpreted by cultural commentators and the wider media as anti-Americanism. Such anti-Americanism has been situated as dangerous, irrational and violent, and this apparent link has been reinforced continuously since 9/11. However, by making a reading of two Iraqi weblogs which have gained significant recognition in Iraq and the West, this article challenges such a simplified definition of alternative perspectives on foreign policy as anti-Americanism. This article focusses on the blog entries of two Iraqis, Salam Pax and Riverbend, who lived in Baghdad throughout the Iraq War (2003â€"9) and during the subsequent years of civil unrest. It explores how their online responses to the US action in Iraq illustrate the complexity of perceived anti-Americanism. The bloggers do not situate themselves as anti-American. Instead they draw a clear distinction between opposition to US foreign policy and hostility towards America and its people, thus problematizing previous definitions of anti-Americanism. However, this article also recognizes that whilst these texts highlight this distinction, the negative impact of US foreign policy on Iraq since the occupation, coupled with the militarized image that America projects of itself, has caused the distinction between a disapproval of US foreign policy and an objection to US culture in broader terms to become increasingly blurred. Indeed, these narratives indicate that rather than situating 9/11 as the first move in a campaign of anti-Americanism, it could be argued that it is the American government's reaction to the attacks, and the impact of the subsequent occupation of Iraq, which acted as a catalyst for the growth of opposition to US foreign policy, and to some extent a rejection of US culture, in Iraq.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-716
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of American Studies
Issue number04
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011

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