The effects of invasion invariably change both the conqueror and the conquered. Political nuances aside, the fact of the matter is that the United States is in military control of a foreign nation, Iraq, and therefore represents the broadest definition of "conqueror".
Now, the question is, not WILL the Iraqi culture begin to seep into ours, but HOW and to WHAT EXTENT such cultural exchanges will take place.
There are already many examples of this kind of exchange in Iraq, but of course, it will take a great deal of time for the full effects of our military involvement in the Middle East to become fully developed and visible.
For a short historical lesson, for the sake of the argument, I will discuss three different conqueror / conquered relationships and how they changed the conqueror just as much as the conquered. This will hopefully give us some insight into predicting the social changes coming to America.
The first was the Roman domination of Greece. I doubt very much that Rome's intent was to adopt Greek culture to the extent that they did; there was fertile land and a need for stability on the neighboring peninsula when the legions made their first forays into the Aegean. However, Rome wound up adopting Greek ideas to the point where they claimed to be more Greek than the Greeks! They wound up taking on their gods, under different names. They even claimed to be descendants of the survivors of the great Greek war at Troy. The extent to which Rome identified with their nominal subjects leads one to question whether or not the Greeks really won the war after all.
The second example is that of the Crusades. A famous quote about that endeavor says that vast amounts of treasure, lives, and effort were expended to give a handful of quarrelling princes domination of tiny fiefdoms for 100 years. On the surface, that is true. However, the war's unintended consequences included the opening of new trade routes, European taste for foreign spices, and a respect for non-chivalric tactics. Also, the founding of the Knights Templar occurred as a result of the need to defend pilgrims in the Holy Land. On the whole, while the conquered territories soon fell back into Muslim hands, it was Europe that changed the most.
The third example is that of the American domination of Japan after World War 2. While many of Japan's ancient traditions were subsumed into the American culture, America soon found the need to change to compete. Our educational disciplines needed to be enhanced, our cars had to get smaller and more fuel efficient, and our business practices had to change dramatically.
So, what kind of changes can we expect from our invasion of the Muslim world? While it impossible to predict, I have noted the following dramatic changes in American perspective:
1.) President Bush claimed in a speech that Christians and Muslims pray to the same God. Theological debating aside, what of this new role of President as some kind of theological authority? Have we had to adopt a spiritual figure at our helm in response to the strength of the spiritual armies of Islam?
2.) Muslims are more visible than ever before, and I feel that many Americans are doing their best to make sure that tolerance is our watchword. Will we be seeing interracial, interfaith marriages? Conversions to and from Islam? More than likely, it is already happening. Will there be a "Muslims for Jesus" group on the web? An XMD (ex-Muslims database?)
3.) Will our soldiers bring back new ideas, new customs that are beyond the scope of this author's imagination to predict? Perhaps a newfound reverence for the spiritual side of life? Will Islamic hospitality, legendary as it is, find a new home here in the States? Will polygamy, so central to the Arabic way of life, have to be accomodated in the States somehow? Will religious intolerance of homosexuality increase as a result of the influx of orthodoxy?
These are a few of the questions that only time can answer, but only one thing is certain: We are going to change, America, so brace yourselves for a turbulent, exciting time.