Sunday, April 01, 2007

Commission from God

The other day Glen Dean posed a reasonable question to some Iraq War opponents, particularly those who support military intervention in Darfur. "I can totally understand why you might think that it was a bad idea to go into Iraq in the first place, but I can not for the life of me, fathom how a civilized person can support the idea of us leaving that country at the present time, for what will most assuredly result in genocide."

That is a concern. A few years ago, I might have given some credence to such an argument, but now I can only ask, what does Dean, or any other supporter of continuing our occupation of Iraq, think will be different in six months or six years or six decades? Also, how can he tell that our leaving will "assuredly result in [a] genocide" worse than whatever is currently occurring there?

The Iraq War debacle contains an important lesson for anyone with eyes that can see. The United States is a hyperpower, by far the most powerful country that the world has ever seen, yet we lack the power to bend the world to our will. Once you get past aircraft carriers, B-52 bombers and Cruise Missiles, our power is rather ordinary and we have racked up numerous failures to prove it. The Bush administration and its media allies made failure more likely by building up expectations of a cheap and easy war -- cakewalk anybody? They tried to fight a war on the cheap and repeatedly declared premature victory -- mission accomplished, last throes anyone? If the Bush adminstration taken steps to prepare the country for a long and difficult occupation -- called for volunteers in the wake of 9/11 or urged ordinary Americans to make any kind of sacrifice, people might have become more willing to endure a longer occupation.

When Rudyard Kipling urged Americans to shoulder the "White Man's Burden" in the Philippines, he didn't feed us any such "cakewalk" happy talk about what such a burden would entail:
Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child . . .

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought . . .

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?". . .
Benjamin Harrison, a wiser president than George W. Bush (admittedly a low hurdle) and a contemporary of Kipling, once remarked that Americans "have no commission from God to police the world." That sentiment should guide Americans as we forge a post-Bush foreign policy.

One other thing. Please drop the "Bush Derangement Syndrome" talk. It must be comforting to tell one's self that the President's enemies are a few nuts who range from Michael Moore to Rosie O'Donnell to John Kerry. In reality, the Iraq war is opposed by otherwise loyal Republicans like Jimmy Duncan and Walter B. Jones, as well as former Republicans like Jim Webb. It would appear that they are joined by a growing majority of ordinary Americans. Glen Dean should look around the bunker at the last remaining holdouts -- Hewitt, Limbaugh, Boortz, Hannity, etc.-- and ask who is deranged.


Glen Dean said...

Clarke, that post had to do with the irony of left wing opposition to the occupation in Iraq, not right wing. The differences in you and the lefties, is that you are not calling for us to enter into Sudan while simultaneously calling for us to leave Iraq. You don't oppose intervention in Iraq while supporting intervention in a lot of other places.

I have not accused you and Pat Buchannan, Andrew Sullivan, or any other conservative who opposes the war of Bush Derangement Syndrome. I used that term to describe the globalist/interventionist leftist who find it convenient to oppose this war.

When this thing is over and the Democrats take power, you are going to find out that these temporary allies in the war against Bush, are not your allies anymore.

Dennis Dale said...

When this thing is over and the Democrats take power, you are going to find out that these temporary allies in the war against Bush, are not your allies anymore.

To which one can only say: so what?
Does everyone have to arrive at such an obvious conclusion--the war is a disastrous mistake--by the same route? Doesn't this temporary alliance of adversaries tell you something? Yes there are those who were only too willing to believe the worst about U.S. foreign policy long before Bush; should one flee his convictions because of this? At what point does(excuse the presumption if I misread your politics) the Republican Party and mainstream "conservative" movement lose your confidence?

Likewise, a supporter of the war should ask himself if he takes his position because of a similar fear of association. If, for instance, this was Gore's war, would he have such endurance for the mendacity and incompetence displayed.

As for alliances, in misleadingly promoting this war as a "liberation", it's the Bush Admin has gone to bed with the liberal interventionist camp, some of whom were only too happy to climb on in and most of whom are now crafting their morning-after excuses ("right war, wrong execution" being the equivalent of "beer goggles", perhaps).

This fear of finding oneself in bad company is not an expression of political purity; it is an expression of a lack of self-confidence.
—Arthur Koestler

TM Lutas said...

As Iraqi units come on line and are seasoned enough for it, we are turning over bits of Iraq to their control. In all provinces, at least some areas are now under local control and three full provinces have been turned over. This is a situation that is positive, real, and should be providing hope. Instead, the story is mostly buried among the blaring headlines of the latest car bomb or sectarian killing in zones that have yet to be turned over.

If we pull out 6 months from now, there might be 5 provinces turned over. If we do it a year from now, there might be 10. If we do it two years from now there might be 15. The longer we stay, the more likely the elected government will be able to finish the job. That's the real reason not to cut and run. We would show ourselves faithless to our friends and bin Laden's "weak horse" after all at a time when the perceptive will be able to see that victory was possible.

Glaivester said...

We've taken up the white man's burden
Of ebony and brown;
Now will you kindly tell us, Rudyard,
How we may put it down?

In an American newspaper around 1900

When this thing is over and the Democrats take power, you are going to find out that these temporary allies in the war against Bush, are not your allies anymore.

And so what? We are supposed to back Bush instead as a tem[porary ally, who will gladly sell us down the river to these same leftists while idiots like Hannity and Limbaugh try to pretend that Bush is some kind of conservative?