By Gordon Legge
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Extra info for A Journalist's Guide to Islam
8 Ba‘athist indoctrination had an obviously negative impact on education in general. In high school I remember how we watched as one good teacher after another was replaced by Ba‘athists who spent more time lecturing us about party ideology than the required material. It is wrong, however, to assume that such indoctrination was automatically accepted by all students; most of us felt humiliated, frustrated, and intensely angered by the whole process. The army was always considered a potential threat to Ba‘athist authority.
In 1982, Iraq announced the ﬁrst steps of austerity measures to counter its economic plight. As the Gross Domestic Product fell, so too did economic growth. In order to maintain the high level of spending needed to prosecute the war, the state resorted to deinvestment and to heavy borrowing especially from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, all of which would ﬁgure prominently in Saddam’s second war. Assistance was also received, as noted above, from the United States, the Soviet Union, and France.
Such abstract numbers, however, fail to capture the sheer brutality that Iranian and Iraqi men had to acclimatize themselves to. One veteran of the war spoke to me of the “animal rage” he felt toward Iranian soldiers facing him across the front lines. He added: “At those moments, if I had the chance, I would have thought nothing of killing them, 46 | Two their wives and children. ”19 According to one Iranian eyewitness: “I have seen young boys burned alive. I have seen Iranian and Iraqi boys tearing each other literally with their nails and teeth.
A Journalist's Guide to Islam by Gordon Legge