February 06, 2005
Your pre-Superbowl entertainment
She's on her game today:
My word, Mr. Clarke. Do you mean to tell us that democracy has been in existence for... what... six years and terrorism has not been completely stamped out? We confess it - we are shocked! What a miserable failure.
Democracy takes time to evolve, and sometimes it happens in fits and starts. It took the noble experiment called the United States over two hundred years and we're still working on getting it right. Japan tried it once with the Meiji Constitution, but true democracy came only at the point of a gun after [horror of horrors!] a lengthy US occupation, post-WWII. Funny you don't mention that one in your cherry-picking expedition. It must not have fit into your agenda basket.
And the crowd roars.
Posted by Deb at February 6, 2005 11:42 AM
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Ohhh...dare I? Okay.
I read this in the paper today:
" If the final results confirm a low Sunni turnout, it would mean that despite the euphoria and dancing in the streets on Sunday, as much as 20 percent of the population, most of it in the heart of the country, may not accept the results as legitimate. That could provide new fuel for the mostly Sunni insurgency."
First, I would like to comment on the author's style and tone used for her argument. Sarcasm and personal attacks are the lowest form of debate. A professional forum will not accept this deliverance. There is no serious minded person,that is, an individual interested in solutions, who will respect her. So, this kind of talk is more suited for mobs, and oddly, I would imagine, our very enemies are likely to use this kind of emotional rhetoric.
It is not all bad. The intent of the United States is noble all well and enough, and of course, the elections in themselves are a marked success for that one day, a day that was paid for in blood with the injury and death of more than ten thousand Americans. It is important to remember that none of us have such a fine-tuned prophetic sense that it is possible to know what the future shall hold. The best we can do is to look for patterns, and from there we can start to formulate from history a likely future, but too often an unrealistic future; an impractical future. We can only speculate. That is it. But the cynics have some leverage on divining the future, I think, because the observable patterns that are manifesting in reality simply do not match up with the warm, fuzzy, feel-good claims made by those in power.
And our country chooses to forget far too often, and to the detriment of our young warriors. Perhaps a more realistic, even cynical view may be in the best interests of both the survival of the troops and the eventual success sought in Iraq.
I believe the author busted herself, albeit unconciously, when she said, "Democracies take time to evolve."
That is the point.
Much of the problem in Iraq is simply that the people and culture of the region have not come to a point in their collective evolution where democracy can evolve effectively. There are many examples from history supporting the argument that a democracy must be the will of the people, and that will is measured by the people's ability to defend themselves. For example, the British Isles were taken by the Normans who ruled absolutely for a time. But, over a period of time that no mortal can really conceive, the ethos of the land began to change. At one point there is an absolute ruler, then comes the Magna Carta, then parliments, then sufferage--all over a process of centuries; it could be argued that if the process began thereabouts 1066, then the process lasted a millenium.
It is going to be very difficult to give the 'Iraqis' (a dubious catch-all title given to three distinctive regional tribes: Shitte, Suni, Kurd)...it will be difficult to give these people an "imposed" democracy (an Orwellian double-speak contradiction to be sure) as we attempt to do so in a drive-up-to-the-fast-food-window-and-git-er-dun-
super-size-me-democracy: and all the Iraqis are listening to P-Diddy and watching Fox news while eating KFC. Nope. I think it is important to define what exactly "democracy" is. At the very least I can point to some key words and terms such as "free", "equal", "majority-voice."
Majority voice. Yes, a majority of the Iraqis voted in this election, but I cannot say that this majority can be validated in the wake of a tenacious insurgency. Remember that in the United States the president recieved a little over half of the voting public's support--hardly a mandate--but nevertheless we can say that there is a majority voice in the United States because even the losers will support the elected president--I did not vote for Bush, but he is my president and I support him as I support my nation. Will the Sunni's support this government? Will the majority voice survive? Who exactly is doing the talking?
The Sunnis are violent. They controlled Iraq because of their aggression and dominance in the region. If the voter turn-out for the Sunnis is disproportionately low to the rest of the other voting ethnic groups, then Iraq will not face, but is engaged in a Civil War.
Don't call an ace a spade unless you got the hand and the chips to back it. America has a great arsenal and many elite soldiers. But, has anyone read Che Guevara's "Guerilla Warfare"? The insurgents in Iraq are not interested in a proletarian dictatorship as envisioned by Marx and Engles and every other Moscovite or Cuban rebel and so forth...but the "style" of the fighting is uncanny--there is not doubt to that.
The insurgents understand that even a few men can thwart the objectives of a professional army, and especially a professional army far from home that must rely on a continual injection of supplies from the homeland. To the insurgents, the elections are moot. They don't really see a tactical victory here. The high voter turn-out of the other ethnic groups was to be expected, I bet, and the consequences of that turn-out may be grave if the United States ever loses interest (as happened in Korea and Vietnam and Sommalia...if Latin History serves me right, I think we gave up on the Pershing expedition in Mexico: 1915 (?) and I don't think we had much success in Nicarauga or Cuba.) but I digress.
Okay, the point is this: I want to win this thing. I know that I am going to be misinterpreted with all of this sermonizing, but hell, I am not Tiresias--I refuse to wait until hubris is poised to stab its eyes out from being unable to endure its self created tragedy. For me, either I get to help, or I get proven wrong and thereby marginalized as insignificant, or I get to do the "I told you so..." Although I would like to bet on the "I get to help" I sense that I will have to go all in with the "I told you so" and just wait for the flop and the river of history to unfold.
At this point, we are all gambling with the future. Our best bet is mature calculation while trying to hold to some sort of moral paradigm, which would mean, as awful as this may seem, to actually look at the enemy as a potential future friend, even a brother. It is hard to understand what I mean by that, I am sure, but I think there are some wise, experienced folks out there that can see where I want to go with that. War on top of war on top of war only begets more and more war, and that is bad for everybody.
Here is how I think we can win: 1) Conscript prisoners (who will come from a selected pool of volunteers within the prison system). 2) Put our citizen soldiers in auxillary positions--except for truck convoys given the obvious hazard. 3) Drain the cities of all Iraqi civillians. I did not say to scatter them like some infantile Shaka Zulu led Methacane and make the civilians fend for themselves with no food, undrinkable water, and no shelter. No more Fallujah's period. History will hang its head low when the total number of innocent civilian lives destroyed is discovered by that tragic operation. Not a jab at the grunt, mind you, after all, what choice do they have? I am pointing to those with the power who chose to act sinfully. The soldier in the field collects no guilt, in general, with a few exceptions when personal sport was the pleasure...Instead, put these people into camps--camps with water, food, and shelter and medicine, and stuff like that! Expensive? So are bombs and jets and sorties. If this is a humanitarian operation, then act humanely, at least toward those who are caught in this war only because they were born in a nation with oil and in a strategic position, militarily, to foster American dependent Israel...
What number am I on? Anyways, the final step is to gaurd the hell out of the civillians and then turn the rest of Iraq into a giant fireball. Think in terms of those ruthless Union Generals that scorched the earth all the way to Atlanta--but not so much of the brutality towards the women and children (who should be nice and comfy in their warm beds in the shelters while they sleep with full stomachs and fully hydrated bodies).
Kill the enemy, but remember that all the people aren't the enemy. Kill the enemy until the enemy wants to be friends. Don't befriend enemies that you cannot or think you cannot beat: Sadr. I will never understand why you decided to befriend Sadr--He is as bad as Zarqawi; niether man respects the United States.
In closing, I recieved a letter from Senator Bill Nelson. He wants my DD-214 so that he can help me get back into the Marine Corps. That is what I want to do after school. I wrote to thank him for his continued effort to help me and further I vow to speak no word that would interfere with the objectives of the Marine Corps. Once in the Marines, I will be freed from the contemplation of politics while serving at the lower level. My goals will be reflective of the Marine Corps and Marine Corps doctrine as enforced by the UCMJ.
But, for now, I am a civillian, one of those detested college kids that your boys are risking your lives to defend. But I would like you to consider this one thing: I talk a little smack, and that pisses you off, but I want to help in a practical and physical way. Meanwhile, there are a lot of kids out there, kids who would now be in uniform or threatened by that prospect had this been the Vietnam era, but those kids out there today, even many of the ones who put the thoughtful yellow ribbons on their car, in my opinion, do not really care about your situation one way or the other--they essentially ignore you.
I do not.
And for that you may want to kill me.
If that is the case, then you do not know friend from foe, and that would mean this war is completely lost...
Posted by: Mattson at February 6, 2005 07:34 PM