Friday, January 19, 2007
Shooting blanks in Iraq
Best comment by a Balloon Juice commentator about the invasion of Iraq:
We had the actual invasion, it was ok ‘till clean up time when it became obvious that no thought to ‘we’ve won, now what?’ happened at all. it was like my old neutered cat who’d jump on the female cat, mount her and then look at us with the ‘i’m supposed to do something important now…what was it?’ look.
I opposed the invasion from the beginning. After Hans Blix’s team had pretty much gone over the place with a fine-tooth comb and filed their first report, it was clear that a) Iraq had no functioning WMD factories (you can’t hide WMD factories from men on the ground, they need too much infrastructure, Blix had inspected every possible installation and found nothing that could make WMD), b) Iraq had no large WMD stockpiles that would threaten America and Americans (stockpiles deteriorate with time, no infrastructure since 1992 means no working WMD), and c) Iraq was thus not an immediate threat and handling the issue of Iraq could wait. It was also clear just from looking at the demographics that invading Iraq with the idea of installing a democracy in the place essentially meant Iraq becoming Iran West, due to the Shiite majority—the same reason why Bush Sr. didn’t send his troops to Baghdad. I couldn’t figure out why that would be in the national interests (creation of an Iranian satellite state next door to Saudi Arabia) thus couldn’t support sending troops into the country under the rubric of “spreading democracy” either (the purpose of the American government is to serve America and Americans, not to serve some other folks overseas). I supported sending those troops into Afghanistan and Pakistan instead to find and bring to justice the man who DID attack us on 9/11 (Osama bin Forgotten—remember him?). Osama attacked us. He needed to go DOWN, to show the world that you can’t attack America and get away with it.
Instead, Dear Leader decided to give aid and comfort to our nation’s enemies by making it clear that our nation can be attacked with impunity, and attacked Iraq instead of bringing to justice the man who attacked America. It was as if the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, and FDR had declared war on Mexico in response.
That said, when our troops crossed into Iraq, I did not say “I hope we lose!”. I just muttered “Well, I guess the Rubicon has been crossed, we’re officially an empire now, I just hope the Bush administration does a good job of it.” Of course, they didn’t. They believed their own propaganda about how it was a war for democracy rather than a war for oil, elections were held, the Shiites won (shocker! They’re the majority!), and now Iraq might as well be called Iran West because the “Iraqi” government has ties to Iran that go back to before Saddam’s time. Just as was predicted, by Bush Sr. and myself and anybody else who knew anything about Iraq.
The deal with empire is you can’t play around with all this “democracy” if you want to be an empire. And if you don’t want to be an empire, behaving like one by attacking nations that haven’t attacked you never works, because a democracy simply doesn’t have it in its genes to do what it takes to pacify and hold an empire (hint: Stalin knew. As Stalin would put it, “no man, no problem”—i.e., genocide solves all imperial problems, just ask the Ukrainians, or the 1/3rd of them that were left after Stalin finished slaughtering and starving them to death anyhow). While I am glad to find out that we are not the type of nation that can do empire “right” (i.e. via mass slaughter and genocide), the fact that we can’t do empire “right” means the imperial experiment is doomed to failure, regardless of how many troops we pour onto the burning bonfire that is Iraq.
-- Badtux the History Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 1/19/2007 02:09:00 PM
I t'ink maybe the Imperial Rubicon was crossed somewhere around the time of the Louisiana Purchase.
# posted by : 19/1/07 3:38 PM
Nah, we didn't conquer the Louisiana Purchase, we bought it. However, when we annexed the "Republic of Florida" shortly after the Louisiana Purchase, we came close, but that area despite being officially Spanish territory at the time had a majority-American population. And at the time we conquered Texas and California, both had a majority-American population.
The closest we have come to true Imperium as a nation is the Spanish-American war, where we seized Spain's remaining Carribean and Asian holdings at gunpoint, then committed major acts of Stalin-style genocide upon the Filipinos to get them to accept American subjugation (which they finally did after we exterminated around 10% of the population of the Phillipines, until we granted them independence after WWII). And that was a bitterly controversial war in the United States at the time, albeit the entire American-Filipino war has since been written out of our history books in an Orwell-style rewrite of history so that nobody knows about it (can't have people think bad thoughts about something evil our nation did in the past, after all -- that'd make us feel bad!).
If we had gone into Iraq and done a Phillipines-style slaughter, complete with concentration camps, we could have 'won' in Iraq the same way we did in the Phillippines, indeed, the same way we did with the Native americans of the great Plains. But instead, Dear Leader decided to listen to those fuzzy-headed "freedom and democracy" dudes at PNAC, who somehow thought that folks in Iraq would greet us with flowers and thus we didn't have to do all that messy empire stuff to add Iraq to our empire...
Well, it doesn't work like that. Either do empire "right", or don't do it at all. The Phillipinnes didn't have democracy for over 50 years after we conquered it -- we conquered it, we subjugated it, we ruled it as an American territory for all that time. That's what's necessary to hold a culturally foreign land as part of your empire. All that fuzzy-headed liberal "democracy" stuff is inherently incompatible with democracy, because folks naturally would not choose to be ruled by foreigners if they had a real choice, and when Dear Leader started talking about "bringing democracy to Iraq", that's the day we lost. And the world is probably the better for it, even if the nation isn't.
- Badtux the History Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 19/1/07 4:02 PM
So the American Indian tribes should have had a better immigration/fence policy?
Concerning the La. Purchase. I think the French might have been looking at the money the same way the Indians who "sold" Manhattan looked at the colored beads; "Like you're giving me what for what??? Have at it dude!!"
Some in the Phillipines were as impressed with our gift of Democracy as the present-day Iraquis are.
# posted by : 19/1/07 4:15 PM
What if there was no history?
What if there was just tomorrow?
What would you want for that?
# posted by BBC : 19/1/07 4:30 PM
Indeed BBC. The folks running the US Did say "fuck history" and lookee here what we have now; VNam Redux.
# posted by : 19/1/07 4:39 PM
Yeah, the American Indian tribes (and the Mexicans, and the Spanish in Florida) could have definitely used some tougher immigration standards. Such as, for example, only allowing in those who were willing to embrace the underlying values of the Indian nation or Mexico or whatever and become "real" Mexicans or Iroquois or whatever. But of course that didn't happen.
As for the notion "fuck history", that's what Dear Leader did, and look at what it got us. History is how we know that action A leads to consequence B. Without history, we have no guide for what happens if we do action A. Studying history tells us that if we bring democracy to Iraq, Iraq becomes Iran West. Studying history tells us that Iraq becoming Iran West is not in the national interest of the United States. Ergo, studying history tells us that invading Iraq in order to bring democracy to Iraq is a stupid idea because it is not in the national interests. Failure to study history leads to our current situation in Iraq.
- Badtux the History Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 19/1/07 4:40 PM
Amen my tuxedoed friend.
BBC - Here's Henry K. (IWonderWhosKissingHerNow) explaining in his own fuckin' best my post above concerning "fuck history";
# posted by : 19/1/07 4:49 PM
Lets try that link again.
snipped it, hope that works
# posted by : 19/1/07 4:59 PM
Well, Oz, I sorta hoped that this WAS about oil. At least then it could sorta be in the American interests to be in Iraq. I mean, I wouldn't enjoy being a citizen of the sort of nation that just goes around picking up other nations and slamming them against the wall to steal their national resources, but at least that sorta makes sense from a national interests point of view. But there is no oil in Fallujah. Or in Baghdad, for that matter.
No, I think Dear Leader really believes the bullshit he spouts about "bringing democracy to Iraq", even though the notion that any such democracy would ever be pro-American in any way is so ludicrous as to be laughed out of clown college...
- Badtux the Oily Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 19/1/07 5:37 PM
Maybe 20 years ago I talked to a former marine who claimed to have ridden out on one of the last choppers out of Saigon in '75. He said that as they were flying out, bullets flying everywhere, the only things NOT getting shot at in Saigon were these SHELL OIL barges in the Mekong river.
So much for "fuck history".
# posted by : 19/1/07 6:08 PM
- Name: BadTux
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Cost of the War in Iraq