A Freeway in Hell

My thoughts on the nature of our late capitalist society. The title should give some clue what I think of that! US 101 or I-80 as metaphor for our imperatives. Besides worrying about what sort of black hole we are speeding into, I like airships. One reason being the almost inescapble desire to have one to get out of a traffic jam!

Location: Sonoma County, California

Grew up a military brat, Californian-in-exile, reactionary libertarian-essentially spent the 70s on Mars, for I am hearing impaired and I did not know what the music was saying. Generally still don't unless I listen to it over and over or find the words captioned on a movie or somewhere on line. Came "back" to California to begin my adult life, have not lived elsewhere since. No regrets there despite our problems here. Have studied physics, more math than most human beings will ever need, worked on spaceship projects (well, one) at JPL. Lived with a wonderful disabled person who lives no more--L Natasha Littletree RIP October 2004. I have a life plan, just kind of vague on some of the short-term stuff.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Position rant #1: on the war on Iraq

This is largely in response to a quip by Pudentilla at Skippy; in keeping with my sporadically kept resolution to put long responses here on the blog instead of cluttering up my friends' comment sections, here is most of it, the more abstract and general part:

There is a hierarchy of abstraction around the question "should we under any circumstances have invaded and 'reformed' Iraq?" At the most abstract level of hypothetical cases, I can't honestly say I'd conclude, unequivocally and in all circumstances, "no." It depends on the details of course, and I'd never have been OK with the USA doing it alone and unsupervised, unless the Iraqi military had attacked the USA in a serious way (and there were no doubt about the accuracy of that claim.) Even then, we'd be obliged to follow some rules no matter what the Iraqi government had done.
But step away from the most abstract possibilities and contemplate the realities, and I say, "No way, not these guys, not ever." I can't forget that the Bushes, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell and all that lot were so deeply involved in supporting Hussein for 12 years before they suddenly noticed he was a bloody-handed dictator. Not to mention the suspicious circumstances surrounding Hussein's decision to invade Kuwait--that he took care to consult with the US Ambassador, April Glaspie, before attacking and that her orders were clearly to give him a green light to do it. I have long believed that all the Gulf Wars were at least in part set up by morally vicious American politicos who cynically invested in bloody conflict for strategic reasons, and had we behaved decently none of these wars would have happened (and perhaps Saddam Hussein would never have ruled Iraq, or he'd overreach and get trounced early on in his career--remember, it was the USA that protected him the most from 1978 to 1991.) That crew would never have my blessing, but what did they care? Their best shot for invading Iraq and getting away with it was in 1991 and they passed it by. I would not have trusted Bill Clinton to do the job, mainly because he listened to these same neocons or their fellow travelers far too often and because his hands were tied and elbows joggled by the Congressional Republicans. And doing it in the criminal manner that aWol did it was just inexcusable, no matter what good these people, in some parallel universe where they suddenly grew hearts and brains, might have done once they got control.
And the hell of it is, they could have done some good. Not that I think they could have turned their own evil into good that way, but they might have earned the option of being forgiven by those they had wronged. If the initial force size of the invasion had been what every competent Army planner assumed would be necessary, then the chaos and looting of the post-invasion period would have been under control. If instead of slipping grossly inflated no-bid contracts into the pockets of their closest corporate cronies the Admin had detailed the American forces to direct the Iraqi people themselves into rebuilding their own country, the cost would be lower, the problems of unemployment in Iraq would be greatly lowered or eliminated, trust and camaraderie instead of hatred and viciousness would have been cultivated between Americans and Iraqis--and oh yes, the jobs would get done, the power would be on, the water flowing, the schools rebuilt.

But we have seen what the priorities and goals of aWol's crew are--either that, or they are so incompetent it staggers the mind, and clearly they don't learn better from mistakes if that is the case. But no, I think the time for generously assuming stupidity on their part is past--clearly they are doing what they intended. It benefits a few, tax cuts garner them a strategically loyal following who will justify any atrocity for their few thousand a year, and the pattern of behavior continues. They deny help of kinds that went without saying in previous administrations no matter how mean, dim, or misguided; they seek to charge for what they do offer, they channel it through crony contracts that don't even get the job done and cost the entire mint literally, and they try to establish that what they are doing is and should be normal for all time.

Because I think all of our interventions in Iraq have been badly intended and viciously executed, I think there is no question--we have to get out, now. Yesterday or three decades ago would have been better, but the best we can do is today. If we cut and run, we will surely leave a mess. But unless we undergo a drastic moral reform as a nation, and totally rework our priorities in government and private life, we have to expect that even a new American administration would continue to do even more harm. Whatever good past generations have done overseas in other places, the USA as we know it does on the whole only harm in Iraq, and we had better get out for our sakes as well as those of the Iraqis.


Blogger Progressive Traditionalist said...

I enjoy reading your comments, as you tend to be one of the more lucid and logical (or perhaps just plain like-minded) commenters in the threads.
I, too, have a fear of running over-long, as assuredly I do on occasion. But a thick steak is worth more than a spoonful of applesauce, if you get my drift. And the ink is cheap.

12/04/2005 9:53 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home