Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Right Makes Might
Not all wars have a right side. Lots of wars have two wrong sides. But some do. Such as when one country invades and occupies a country that never even attacked it. We will lose this war not because we arent strong, but because we are wrong.
The South lost the Civil War ultimately because nearly half their population stood to gain their freedom by its defeat. Germany and Japan lost the Second World War because the whole world united to oppose their imperialist and racist ambitions.
Its a sad thing to find your country on the wrong side of a war. Vietnam was the wrong side of a war and we killed over a million Vietnamese trying to bring them democracy. Those people were no more threat to us than, well, the Iraqis. Vietnam went Communist and the sky did not fall. The Hawks are still waiting for the dominoes to fall in South East Asia while they continue looking for WMD in Iraq.
We lost the Vietnam War not because we lacked the where-with-all to kill another million Vietnamese but because enough Americans became convinced that we were wrong and demanded an end to the grisly business. And we will lose the Iraq War for the same reasons. The only question is how many people will die before we stop trying to conquer them.
If youre willing to look beyond the government and media spokesmen blowing smoke in your nose, its not too hard to figure out what is really going on in Iraq right now. You dont have to know about all the tribal and religious decisions. You dont even have to know were the Sunni triangle is, because really, people are pretty much the same all over the world. Just put your self in their shoes: and ask what would you do? How would you feel?
Im a baby boomer. So I grew up with the notion that there was this Soviet Menace that felt and said they had a better, more equal, more just System than ours and threatened to impose their System on us by force of arms. A lot of the fears I shared with my peers most of my life were related to just such a possibility. Turns out we were wrong about the USSR. They were a lot less aggressive and militarily weaker than our intelligence told us at the time.We now know that danger was nothing like it was cracked up to be, but at the time it was made out to be very real.
Suppose it had actually happened? Suppose it had actually happened here as it did in Afghanistan? Suppose Soviet Troops were shooting people at checkpoints on the streets of American cities, busting down doors at midnight and putting their boots on peoples necks, all the while setting up Provisional Soviets and Governing Councils staffed largely with ex-patriots from the Eastern Block. How would we react? What would we really think about those Americans that worked with the Occupation? What would our rules of engagement be?
I think thered be Hell to pay. I think theyd find they made a big mistake in trying to occupy the land of an armed people. Ill be honest about my rules of engagement. I grew up in the post WWII morality. You dont start wars and you dont invade and occupy other peoples countries. I watched the old movies. Every time a partisan slipped up behind a Nazi soldier and slit his neck, I cheered. I cheered twice when they got a quisling.
[for your reference: quisling (kwizlin), n. [after Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), Norw. Politician who betrayed his country to the Nazis and became its puppet ruler], a person who betrays his own country by helping an enemy to invade and occupy it; traitor. College Edition Websters New World Dictionary of the American Language (1966) ]
So by definition the Iraqis who work with us are traitors to their country. Can we really expect to build a government that has the respect of the Iraqi people by relying on traitors? Or maybe I just need a new New World dictionary like the one George Bush must be using. The one that will no doubt explain how you have democratic elections with foreign invaders calling the shots.
The unspoken deal the U.S. government had with Hussein before the falling out was You take care of all the Iraqi communists and well look the other way. In the name of fighting the Soviet threat we aided a tyrant in his rise to power. A lot of good people were destroyed, including the best people in the Baathe party.
Okay we invaded Iraq and threw Saddam Hussein out of power. Now the longer we stay there, the more likely it is that he or someone of his ilk will return to power. Why? Because as long as our armies are there, the struggle for Iraqi independence remains principally a military one. This is familiar terrain to Hussein, and one for which he has prepare. While he was widely despised before the invasion, now he can play a new role as the patriotic leader of the resistance. If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then Bush is allowing Hussein to play that card by maintaining the occupation.