Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Has Bush learned anything yet?
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2007

For several reasons, the most salient historical fact of the 20th
century has been lost on most Americans. Oddly, it’s one our
revolutionary forebears would have been quicker to recognize: The age of
colonial empires is over. Short of a willingness to massacre hundreds of
thousands of defenseless civilians from the air, better armed and
technologically superior foreign powers can no longer dictate terms to
any but the most obscure and impoverished Third World countries. It’s no
accident that the beginning of the end of European gunboat diplomacy
coincided with the invention of radio, spreading news and nationalist
propaganda cheaply and fast. Satellite TV and the Internet have made
communication universal, instantaneous and “interactive,” enabling
leaders as different as Nelson Mandela and Osama bin Laden to influence
millions. The advantages of the Internet for fomenting and coordinating
rebellions and conspiracies are obvious. The techniques of guerrilla
warfare, perfected in nationalistic uprisings from Dublin in 1916 to
Baghdad in 2007, pushed the French out of Algeria and Vietnam, the U. S.
out of Vietnam, and the Russians out of Afghanistan. Cheap, portable,
easily concealed weapons like the AK-47, rocket-propelled grenades and
shoulder-fired anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles, not to mention
remote-controlled IEDs—improvised explosive devices—have made
controlling subject populations too brutal and costly for advanced
democracies to tolerate.

The methods used by bloody-minded conquerors such as the ancient Romans,
the Ottoman Turks and the Nazis—exterminating whole villages anywhere
the occupier’s soldiers encountered resistance—are simply not acceptable
to contemporary democracies, thank heaven. Local rebellions were met
with what we’d now call genocide.

“They make a wasteland and call it peace,” Tacitus reported a Scottish
clan chieftain bitterly observing on the Roman Empire’s farthest

Once subdued and secure, subject populations could be seduced by
innovations like sanitary water systems and dependable roads, luxuries
the U. S. has yet to provide throughout much of Iraq. If American
soldiers speaking no Arabic and practicing non-Islamic religions ever
had any chance to win over the “hearts and minds” of Iraqis, that chance
was lost in the stupefying chaos following the fall of Baghdad. The time
for a troop surge, not of 20,000 but 20 times that number, at minimum,
would have been four years ago, in early 2003. George W. Bush’s
escalation is too little too late.

By now, polls show huge majorities of Iraqis siding with their own sect
and clan and against all others—particularly the American conquerors.
(If anything, the reluctance of Iraqis to confess their loyalties to
strangers amidst a sectarian civil war probably understates that
hatred.) Those majorities certainly include Iraqi soldiers and
policemen, outwardly loyal to the government by day, covertly devoted to
sectarian militias by night.

Pretty much as most Americans would be in the unimaginable circumstance
of the U.S. being occupied by an army of Arabic-speaking Muslims.

Asked by CBS’ Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes” if he thought he owed the
Iraqi people an apology for failing to provide security after the
invasion, Bush was characteristically defiant.

“Not at all,” he said. “I am proud of the efforts we did. We liberated
that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American
people a huge debt of gratitude.... I mean, the people understand that
we’ve endured great sacrifice to help them. That’s the problem here in
America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that’s
significant enough in Iraq.”

To anybody but a Bush True Believer, it’s a statement astonishing in its
moral blindness. Yet Bush does know his base. Partly because the U.S.
rise to hyperpower status, to use the French term, coincided with the
collapse of European empires in Asia and Africa, followed by the long
twilight struggle against the Soviet Union, itself an overextended
empire, many Americans see themselves as an exception to history. We
make a wasteland and call it democracy.

But here’s the problem: Most of those same Americans never wanted an
empire to begin with. Most can no more distinguish between Eye-raq and
Eye-ran than Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Until quite recently, most never
heard of Sunnis and Shiites. They’re instinctive isolationists, who’d
agree with President John Quincy Adams’ advice that that the U.S. “not
go abroad in search of monsters to slay.” Only 9/11 and the Bush
administration’s stunningly dishonest campaign to blame Saddam Hussein
while conjuring imaginary mushroom clouds convinced them to back
“nation-building” in the Middle East. Only an equally hysterical
propaganda campaign could convince even Bush’s dwindling base to back
the neo-conservatives’ mad imperialist fantasy of bombarding Iran—no
army currently being available to conquer Persia. There are signs of
such a campaign getting under way in the usual places, but active
resistance in Congress and not much indication the public’s listening.
So has the Iraq debacle taught this president anything at all? That
could be the determining question.


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