Strong opinions, weakly held

The Plot

Christopher Allbritton describes a persistent belief among Iraqis in something he refers to as The Plot:

Robert Fisk once wrote about Lebanon that The Plot—the plans of foreign powers to defeat and humiliate Lebanon during its 1975-1990 civil war—was always present in his conversations with Lebanese. He joked that The Plot should have its own chair at the table at every meal, since it was always a topic of dinner conversations. Well, Iraq has the same mentality. It is inconceivable to Iraqis that America, as powerful as it is, could have bungled this place as badly as it has. Americans walked on the moon! And they can’t find Zarqawi?

I’ve noticed the same belief system among some Arabs that I know. The Plot is usually perpetrated by The Jews, and nothing happens by accident or due to incompetence. The most depressing thing about this belief system is that it is utterly disempowering. If hidden forces are behind everything that’s going on, then there’s nothing you can do as an individual to make things better.


  1. I agree with you, but I think you have it backwards. When you have virtually no control over your situation, that’s when conspiracy theories abound. Something has to explain it.

    Also, don’t write off “the Plot” 100%. Why the hell didn’t America do a better job with Iraq? Either America is not a superpower, or it serves its interests better to not have a stable Iraq. Either way, there is a lot of smoke being blown and no good answers.

  2. A “better job”? Iraq is IMPORTING gasoline, Crude is nearly USD $ 60 / bbl, Americans are paying record prices at the pump, What more could a Texas Oil-man ask for?

  3. Joseph Ottinger

    July 20, 2005 at 8:36 am

    Um, as far as why America didn’t do a better job, chances are it’s more something that can be blamed on “slight arrogance” that surely people would see that Our Way was best. Plus, Rumsfeld was sure that a small, light force would be better than overwhelming the enemy, in defiance of Colin Powell, who likely has a little more wisdom about such things.

    I can’t quite ascribe to maliciousness what could otherwise be blamed on simple stupidity.

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