Sunday, March 23, 2003

False Victories

As could have been predicted by anyone with 2 live brain cells to rub together, the US (and the Brits) are making mincemeat of Saddam.

Does this really mean we have "won"? Hardly.

I was reading a New York Times article in which an Iraqi colonel who has surrendered spoke to the reporter about why he did so and what he thought. He hates Saddam Hussein. But he also hates the US. He names Saddam Hussein an agent of America. Think about it for a minute and it makes sense. Who enabled Hussein to become the over-controlling dictator that he is? In great part the US, but also Britain and other European powers. I suspect that a good number of Iraqis consider it about time that the foreigners cleaned up after themselves.

Hussein will be dead relatively soon. At what cost?

At the cost of another exercise of imperial, kingly power by a president, and done for spurious reasons. Americans appear to have no idea just how badly this administration is shitting on the US Constitution, how casually they encroach on civil liberties, and how callously they are ruining the country's economic future. Hell no, why should we care about such thing when we get to kill towel-heads? Gee-haw, shoot them Injuns! Sorry, the obsession that my average countryman has with murdering what offends him (his neighbors, his wife & children, his dog, people of different cultures and faiths, people who say I don't like you or your values, etc.) just turns my stomach. Might makes for brutality, never for right.

At the cost of any semblance of peace in Iraq. What is there to follow up Hussein? Another puppet government picked and approved by the West? There is no civil society, no rule of law not men, no dedication to Liberal (Locke an sense, not US political slang sense) (not that my average countryman has a fucking *clue* of the difference) social & political values. The government of the Middle East, once you leave Israel or Iran, is that of a military junta vs. an Islamic theocracy. These are the powers that have been vying for political control in these nations (Anybody here know the recent history of Algeria? Mighty instructive.) and, in combination with the religious and ethnic divisions of the region, spell out decades of disaster and internal warfare for Iraq. The Sunni minority who had Western backing and ruled via a military dictator are now going to be tangling with a Shia majority who want the rule of Mullahs. And let's not forget the Kurds - who are hated by the Iraqi Arabs, by the Turks and by the Iranians. What sort of ethnic-cleansing bloodbath is going to happen this time around? Are the US & Britain prepared to defend these people? I look to Afghanistan for the model of Bush "nation building" in action. But the Middle East and increasing portions of the globe will be given more reasons to fear us, distrust us, hate us. Osama bin Laden is sitting somewhere laughing at the good news.

At the cost of the comity of nations. The US has placed itself above the judgment of other nations. We are no longer a Super-power; we are a Hyper-power. And a hypocritical one. All nations are equal but some nations are more equal than others. The world is polarized in a way it has never been before, and we are turned into a crude, brutal imperial power. Some are smug at this thought, thinking that we are unassailable in our might and thus we might as well help ourselves to what the world has. There is a horrific, short-sighted logic to this, I suppose, totally in keeping with people of a maniacal faith who think the world is going to blow up (and they, the "forgiven", will magically ascend to "Heaven") so why not fuck it up and fuck everyone over while we're here?

What will disgust me most will be the smug, self-satisfied back-patting when the big guns and the TV cameras come home, accompanied by an utter disregard for what we have made of ourselves and the world. So damn sure we're right. So, who is next for invasion? Cuba? North Korea? Pakistan? France? Vanuatu?

All so Dubya can "win" the next election.


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