Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Five years and spare change into the Iraq War, it's obvious it won't be over any time soon. It'll end when the politicians get tired of thinking up reasons why we can't leave, or when our creditors force us into bankruptcy, then insolvency. Whichever comes first.
I need to have done with this mess, so I can get on with my own life. The United States will have to continue on without me.
Five years ago, just before "Shock and Awe" started, I sat watching a live network news broadcast from Baghdad. A network correspondent stood in the early morning darkness in front of a mosque, and wondered how soon the city would be lit up by missiles and bombs.
I wondered how our leaders could have lived through Vietnam without learning anything. I realized they actually believed we would be greeted with flowers and kisses by the Iraqis, and that, as had been the case 40 years earlier, they had no idea what they were getting into, or what the people whose country they were about to destroy were like, or what they thought, or what they loved, and hated, and were motivated by.
And I knew our forces would get bogged down in a war with no front and no rear, as they had in Vietnam, and they would be unable to tell friend from foe, just as it was in Vietnam, and they would be frustrated by their own ignorance and by the loyalties and motivations of people they know nothing of, and that we would come to grief in trying to impose our standards and values on people vastly different than ourselves, and then would cry out in pain, "Why do they have to be so much like themselves? Why can't they be more like us? Pure, and good!" and that only the desert wind would answer. And I foresaw that in the end we would refuse to let go of the disaster we had created because doing so would entail admitting how badly we had misjudged the situation, and how ignorant we are, and what an ungodly mess our "experts" and so-called leaders had made, as their sycophants in the corporate media applauded and bent over to kiss their butts and tell them what geniuses they were.
And I recognized my own errors in judgment, for I had always persisted in believing that Vietnam was an aberration and an anomaly, a "mistake" if you will, and that it couldn't happen again. The arrival of the neocons' Iraq showed me that the United States is an evil country, led by evil people who are enabled by an ignorant, brainwashed, and pliable public.
I've said everything there is for me to say about this war, so I will post no more on the subject of Iraq. Forever. I promise. Because those wielding power today and those who will soon wrest power from them will do whatever it is they're going to do with Iraq. It's their world, and the rest of us just live in it.
Living in it is the problem I intend to concentrate on henceforth.