Not a Defeat But a Glorious Victory

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It
is sometimes intoned by very solemn commentators and self-elected
pundits that defeat in Iraq would be unthinkable and, taken all
in all, a very bad thing for all concerned. It appears to me that
this view of the matter is basically unsound and needs to be addressed
in the usual American style by going incisively and directly to
its core.

In
the first place, it is ludicrous to mention the word defeat in
this context. There was no defeat on the ground but a very glorious
victory. It always helps, of course, if one of the parties to
the conflict outspends the other party by a factor of 400 or 500
to 1. The enemy, it is also true, had learned the hard way from
a previous engagement that outright resistance on the ground equipped
only with arms from the Soviet era was not a very good thing and
so fell back and offered sporadic resistance as the juggernaut
approached, and therefore faded intelligently away.

Once
Bush admits that he has been badly swindled on all matters Iraqi,
perhaps in the course of a fearless outdoor jog casually surrounded
by his Secret Service bodyguard to lend a presidential impression
to the proceedings, and tells us that he wants to cut his losses,
the sooner the human comedy will run its course.

First,
the Iraqis will probably set up a theocracy of one kind or another.
It will rule for a reasonable number of years with a degree of
grace under pressure in an atmosphere of civil war. The Sunnis
will hammer the majority Shiites and vice versa and the Kurds,
as usual, will get the worst of it from all sides. It is however
very probable that as the Arabs grow in stature in the course
of the century, they will learn to read and treasure Voltaire
and Thomas Henry Huxley, study subversive 20th century
cosmology and astrophysics, decide that a certain degree of usury
is good for business, consider women more of a pleasure to look
at when they are out of their sugar bags, and study the Rubayait
of Omar Khayyam in the original.

The
debauchery in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will continue unabated and
will serve, over time, to civilize the hardest Muslim heart at
its noveau riche and princely core. Those saturnine Saudi hatchet
faces, as they continue their study of agreeable blonde bunnies
in and out of bed, may become more pink and less hatchet-faced
over time, and eventually grow to resemble Europeans. Soon they
or their descendants will babble of Renoirs, Daumiers, Ingres,
Hogarth, Turner, Menzel and even Caspar David Friedrich. The world
will be a better place for it.

Those
many skeptics in Europe and elsewhere who have adapted the famous
Clausewitz dictum and argue that Americans consider war the continuation
of business by other means, will be answered and refuted. It will
be announced in due course at an international summit that business
is the last thing that the Americans want or desire in Iraq or
in any state in which they are not welcome. American oil companies,
after all, not just the European ones, were skeptical about the
proposed Iraqi adventure right from the beginning, and now it
can loftily and even blimpishly be stated that business cannot
be conducted in an atmosphere of cordite and bodybags but only
in one of trust and a shared belief in the sanctity of contracts.
Many a gray head will wag agreement.

All
those robber nations on the borders of Iraq with designs on the
oil reserves will be sternly advised by Washington, perhaps with
the enthusiastic backing of the communards in Paris, Berlin, Madrid
and Rome, that they will have to deal with the world's only remaining
superpower supported by admittedly fleabag powers, but
supported by Allies nevertheless, and therefore prepotent beyond
belief. This action will, if nothing else, sweeten and sanitize
the air waves, and help to counter the intricate machinations
of al-Jazeera.

Our
revered President, on first parsing the elements of Realpolitik,
once got boldly onto his feet and stated that the Chinese were
our strategic allies. He then corrected himself in short
order in that very same speech, which demonstrates that he is
a fast learner indeed, and asserted they were our strategic adversaries.
Slowly but surely he is learning the mysteries of statecraft,
and the rest of us can be glad. The fact of the matter is that
the Chinese are fast emerging as that unthinkable impertinence,
a national superpower with ancient, tenable and defensible borders
and one homogeneous population, give or take some barbarians on
the periphery. Since it is clear that the United States now decrees
the exact power to which a given nation state can aspire, in all
times and all places, but especially the 21st American
Century, it plainly follows that Americans must take counter-measures
to deal with the Chinese economy, the Chinese threat and the Chinese
menace.

So
let our President raise his voice in that impromptu press conference
referred to earlier, and sternly announce to the world that he
was misled and bamboozled by some of his alleged advisers; that
he will not dignify them by mentioning their names, at least in
public, but that he will deal with them in a charitable manner
as befits a citizen of Christendom, and they will never be heard
from again. He has seen the light and sensed the way, and a new
world order is on its way, and there will be a thousand points
of light to dazzle and delight the outer reaches of the universe.
And what could be better than that?

May
22, 2004

Paul
Boytinck [send him mail]
is a retired librarian who lives in Lewisburg, PA.

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