What would U.S. Grant Say About Iraq Today?
Hmm… Somehow, I managed to delete this post… (not to mention Bruce Baugh’s comment) Actually, I know how–through sheer stupidity! Anyway, it’s back.
Probably something like this: “The whole public are tired out with these annual outbreaks in the Middle East”. If you ask me, people are wasting their time with all of these Iraq-‘Nam comparisons. The proper analogy for Bush’s plan to “democratize” the Middle East is Reconstruction. As a student of 19th century America, I can tell you that there is no more disheartening episode in the country’s history than Radical Reconstruction–a period of about 12 years during which time absolutely no progress was made toward the goal of stabilizing race relations in the American South. Sadr isn’t Ho Chi Minh, he’s a Kluxer. You can’t fight prejudice and retrograde political attitudes with force. I really, really wish you could. (I oppose violence in the name of Animal Liberation for the same reason). The sad fact is that these changes take far longer than we want them to.
American films, music, comics, etc. are democracy’s best shock troops. I make no bones about my position here–I’m a liberal democratic cultural imperialist (not to mention a proponent of Animal Rights). But you can’t have a liberal state without a citizenry that is nurtured upon the ideal of individual human rights. The Middle East isn’t going to change until it’s “uncool” there to kill someone over a religious difference, and who you are becomes more important than who your parents were. And that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But it’s not like it’s hopeless either. I wish more people in this part of the world had my faith in the power of Western culture. Middle Eastern fundamentalists understand what I mean, and they know that the only front upon which they can defeat the West is the physical plane. The American army is being cast in the role of “unifying enemy” by Shi’a and Sunni leaders in this version of Invasion (and hey, we’ve even got the “contractor” as “Carpetbagger” analogy). That’s no good. We have to bombard these people with screwball comedies. It’s the only possible long-term solution.
Good Day friends!