As you may know, a new Turkish movie called The Valley of the Wolvesâ€”Iraq is setting box office records there. Apparently it portrays America in Iraq as monstrous, massacring civilians and removing prisoners’ organs for patients in the U.S., Israel and England.
Dispiriting. But what really caught my eye was this section of a recent Knight-Ridder story (via):
Yusuf Kanli, the editor in chief of the Turkish Daily News, said the film is grounded in a real event known as the “bag incident,” which cemented the movie’s popularity in Turkey.
“Abu Ghraib is a deep wound, but it’s war, and war is never clean,” Kanli said. “But what happened in July 2003 can never be forgotten by any Turk.”
In that incident, U.S. troops arrested 11 Turkish special-forces officers in northern Iraq and walked them from their headquarters with bags over their heads. It was considered a bitter betrayal by a trusted ally. Turkish newspapers dubbed it the “Rambo Crisis.” Recent opinion polls rank it as the most humiliating moment in Turkish history.
What interests me about this is not only did I have no opinion about the “bag incident,” I had NEVER EVEN HEARD OF IT.
In other words, it’s possible for America to do things to other countries that they consider “the most humiliating moment” in their history…and even anti-American America-haters like myself can’t be bothered simply to know it happened.
This is one of the true perks of power: being able to get away with complete ignorance about other people. Generally speaking, for countries as well as individuals, the more power you have the stupider you are. If you have gigantic amounts of power, you can get away with knowing nothing whatsoever. George Bush George Bush George Bush.
I’m curious to know if others knew more or less than me about the bag incident. (Well, more or the same; you couldn’t really have known less.) If you care to, you can comment on my site here.
UPDATE: It turns out it’s not just me. Few other people commenting had heard of this, and even those who had mostly didn’t know its significance.