Driving out of the compound yesterday I watched in horror as a young Iraqi man raised a 2-foot piece of black rubber hose above his head and violently brought it down onto one the the street dogs that populate the neighborhood. If the dog hadn't leaped out of the way he certainly would have hit the dog. The man stood there and laughed as he raised the hose again for another try.
I was greatly tempted to halt the car, get out, and give the man a bit of his own medicine. In retrospect I wish that I had, but we kept moving as we had a client in the car with us. I bit my lip knowing that I had made the best decision for the client in the back of the car, and fought back my rage against the bully with the hose. The next time I'm not so sure that I can be as controlled.
I used the incident as a teaching point to one of our Iraqi counterparts, explaining to him how Americans, and other westerns, hate injustice and loath bullies. It's in our nature to stick up for the down-trodden, and oppressed. I went so far as to use the Special Forces motto De Oppresso Liber as an example. All of this was new to him and I think difficult to understand, as the Arab mentality is to loath weakness of any kind. This is what allowed the man to mistreat the complacent dog sleeping in the street; it made him feel strong to pick on the weak. I wonder how strong he would have felt if I had stopped and "had a chat" with him?