I know, it’s almost impossible to imagine, but I want you to TRY to imagine your government actually having some contact with some fanatic free-lance mercenary or pirate or slave trader, or any person who considers themselves “outside the law." Just imagine that. (Have I strained your credulity yet?)
Osama bin Laden, for instance, is a good case in point. There are those who seem to have gone to a great deal of trouble to prove that someone who knows Osama actually spoke, on at least TWO occasions with individuals who worked for the Iraqi government. That seems to satisfy the claim that Osama and Iraq have been in league together, and that seems to justify invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Using that logic, in view of the fact that there have been multiple testimonials that Osama was on the payroll of the US government, that he has been here many times, that he has had a working relationship with the CIA, etc., would it not be realistic for Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Arabs everywhere, in fact, to conclude that Osama and the USA have been in league together, and to join all their forces and invade and occupy the USA?
Okay, you laugh. The American people are armed. To the teeth. Oh, wait, actually, our lever-action 30-30 rifles and dove hunting shotguns probably are not in the same league as the AK-47’s that every Iraqi either owns, or can buy in the markets (when the US Army patrols are at the other end of the aisles). And that goes on in every market where Muslims are vendors in the Middle East and Eastern Europe and Northern Africa and so on and so forth. So… so are the Iraqis armed, on a personal level, and better than the average Texan. (I am so ashamed!)
But suppose they pulled it off. An Arabic Coalition that managed to invade and occupy the USofA. Suppose they set up check-points at intersections and at least once a week they literally dragged you and your family out of your car to search it and your bodies for illegal weapons, bombs, or maps about where your WMD’s are hidden. Suppose they kick in your door in the night, leer at your women (frankly, I rather doubt a group of armed Arabic soldiers would content themselves with leering, but let’s keep the comparison comparable), shoot your dog, shoot up your car and house, ransack it, and then move on, without explanation, without apology, with nothing but threats. AND… if you even dare to glare at them, they drag you to Abu Ghraib, or one of a hundred detention centers around the country, to be held without charges, to be beaten and denied all basic human rights. (You don’t think Iraqis could do this? Ha. We should be so lucky.)
Want to just try to imagine what your reaction might be? You do still have that old .22 rifle your dad left you, don’t you?
To make the comparison a little less realistic, but to demonstrate a point, suppose they require that you learn to ride a camel. To pitch a tent. To bleed a goat or sheep and cut it up in order to have dinner. Of course, ham and bacon will temporarily not be available in grocery stores, but leg of lamb will take its place. Women will quit wearing pants and will cover their faces in public. (Hey, it won’t all be bad, I’m telling you!)
I am also telling you that the Iraqi people are not interested in “democracy” whatever the US government means by that. They want the blood of their enemies draining into the sand of ancient Babylon. And their enemies used to be (still are) the Sunnis, the Kurds, the Shiites, etc. But now they are willing to temporarily postpone the “family feuds” in order to focus on the common enemy who is making their petty jihads difficult to carry out that is the American soldier or Marine on patrol in every neighborhood.
The American reads a newspaper and says, “Wow, only 1,000 dead Americans. Pretty efficient war, I’d say.”
The Iraqi says, “If it takes a thousand of us to kill one of them, we will do it. Death to our enemies, and we’ll die to make that happen.”
The American says, “Hey, take some Prozac. We are there to help you people. We got rid of Saddam, remember?”
The Iraqi says, “Saddam Hussein is looking better all the time.” (And they really are saying that!)
The American government says, “You will become democratic, or else we will continue to force democracy on you!” (This is akin to the sarcastic workforce poster which says, “Beatings will continue until morale improves.” Only this is not a joke.)
And the Iraqi says, “I was prepared to be patient when you bombed my country. That is, until you kicked in my doors and shot my first-born son, an accident, you say. Now, I just want you to leave. We don’t want democracy. We want you out of the country. Tomorrow is too slow. Whether I follow you home, and take this war to your shores is not yet determined. First, I need to buy an airplane. You’ve given me some wonderful ideas over the past three years.”
The use of force by one side is always justified by the use of force on the other side. Only, these days, their use of force is terrorism, while our use of force is simply “restrained response” to prevent more terrorism. (Hey, we haven’t nuked’em yet, have we? Are we not demonstrating restraint here?)
Has it ever occurred to the War Party in Washington that the Iraqi people, and all their Muslim brethren in the world, are very uninterested in democracy, but are very interested in religious, cultural, political and military domination of all who disagree with them?
We have stirred up a hornets’ nest, and there is no teaching democracy to hornets they only understand that you are threatening their way of life. Nothing else matters. Having shifted analogies, I suggest that it is a mistake to just barely spray a hornets’ nest with a tiny bit of hornet spray. Either we leave them alone, or we kill them all. Something tells me we don’t have the will for the latter, and it is clear we don’t have the common sense for the former.
And the US government wants our sons and daughters to enlist for this? No wonder Congress is debating The Draft. Even young people (as inexperienced and stupid as they can be) are not enlisting in sufficient numbers to sustain offensive wars of invasion and occupation. Involuntary servitude is a necessity to build an Empire. Is it possible that Empire is what all this is about? Surely not.
October 8, 2004