Sunday, May 10, 2009

CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN, PART II

5/10/09

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to Iraq for a one day photo op yesterday and piously proclaimed:

“In the end, all this struggle will be worth it because it will have been done for the Iraqi people.”

For the Iraqi people, Madam Speaker, or to the Iraqi people? Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people have been killed. Many more have been rendered at least temporarily homeless, and thousands remain so. Iraq’s infrastructure has been destroyed. Its economy is in tatters. Conducting daily life remains an ever present danger. At least until recently, when things seem to have started on yet another rapid descent, we were constantly being told how that the situation was improving, that things were getting better, but, conveniently, what was left out was that the situation that was improving from the utter destruction we had wrought on that sad country. For the Iraqi people indeed.

And for what did we display such beneficence to the Iraqi people? When George Bush and Dick Cheney first decided to wage this war, with the near unanimous support of the Democratic “opposition,” the stated purpose behind this imbroglio was that Saddam Hussein was somehow behind the 9/11 attacks. When that argument fell apart, despite the Bush administration’s, er, aggressive tactics to develop evidence of such a connection, the argument changed to Hussein’s (whom every American administration has somehow chosen to lionize by referring to him by his first name, calling him “Saddam,” thus adding to the mystique of this garden variety half a tin pot dictator of the type we have so lovingly embraced throughout the third world whenever it served our purposes to do so) possession of “weapons of mass destruction.” When that argument fell apart, the justification for the invasion and decimation was that Hussein was a bad guy. When the Bushmen realized that, uh-oh, the guys they were supporting in what is broadly called the “Middle East,” and throughout the “developing world,” were at least in Hussein’s league as far as nefariousness was concerned, and that Hussein’s suddenly reprehensible evil was very tolerable when he was fighting our war against Iran, the rationale for George’s Excellent Adventure became spreading “freedom and democracy” throughout the Middle East and, indeed, the world. That no one in Iraq, except for a few stooges on the CIA payroll who spent their time hiding out in Washington and various Mediterranean beach destinations, had asked for our particular brand of “freedom and democracy” didn’t matter; we were going to give it to them, and we were going to give it to them good.

Now that Speaker Pelosi has embraced the Iraqi struggle and President Obama has pledged to continue that particular manifestation of American swagger until at least the end of 2010 while jumping into the Afghanistan War (now properly called “Mr. Obama’s War”) with both feet, we are presented with further evidence, as if any were needed, that there is no Democratic or Republican foreign policy, there is no Bush or Obama foreign policy, there is no Gingrich or Hastert or McCain or Pelosi or Reid or Clinton foreign policy, there is only what, for convenience’s sake, can be called the Bush/Obama foreign policy. It is arrogant, it is messianic, and it is expansionist. It is Manifest Destiny run riot on a global scale. It is the logical consequence of what our best post-war President, Dwight Eisenhower, warned us of as he left office: the military industrial complex. We didn’t listen then, by which time it was probably too late anyway (largely due to Ike’s failure to aggressively confront it, or aggressively do anything, for that matter. The latter was a large contributor to Ike’s greatness, but that is another story.).

In their most febrile imaginations, the conspiracy theorists imagine a new president being brought into a room with a coterie of largely, but not exclusively, anonymous notables and being congratulated on having won that quaint exercise we call an election. Then the starry-eyed president is told, in no uncertain terms, who is really in charge and, if he would like to maintain the pomp, circumstance, and perks of the office, he had best just shut up and play the role. Sometimes one wonders just how far off such theorists are.

2 comments:

Brian said...

"It is arrogant, it is messianic, and it is expansionist. It is Manifest Destiny run riot on a global scale. It is the logical consequence of what our best post-war President, Dwight Eisenhower, warned us of as he left office: the military industrial complex. We didn’t listen then, by which time it was probably too late anyway"


I love it. So much summed up in so few words. And as always, right on the money (as if *I* need to tell you that). The most worrisome thing to me about our Hubris is that we will not go down without a Fight.

The Pontificator said...

Thanks, Brian!