Tuesday, December 20, 2005

War Ain't Picnic

Our co-blogger Pragmatic asks if America's recent troubles in Iraq are really not a case of Neocons being mugged by reality?

He points to many mistakes in how the war has been run. We concede some -- indeed, have ourselves called this a "good war botched" -- object to a few, but that is neither here nor there.

Lets focus on the big picture. When nations are born, it hurts. There are no epidurals for such geopolitical labor.

Consider India. Our nationalism was over a hundred years in the making, and when freedom came -- a million died and over ten times as many were made homeless in their own motherland. Does this latter misery negate the magic of our freedom? Surely not.

Consider America. Its taken a revolutionary war, a vicious civil war, and a civil ferment spanning multiple centuries to -- still not fully -- realize the magical promise of its founding.

We've asked Iraq to do a great deal in a short time. A lot of politics and much vengeance is yet to be worked out there -- and, speaking of reality, much of it will involve bloodshed, it always does. This is not avoidable -- but, once exhausted, these very passions -- then mellowed -- will infuse a robust democracy in the heart of Arabia.

America could have fallen back into the desert and let the civil war play out in Iraqi cities. Instead, it chose to risk its own blood to keep a lid on the violence -- to keep it on a slow burn. The latter process is messy -- from the American perspective anyway -- but more humane. Credit should be given where credit is due.

When history books are written, this era will be called the great democratization of Arabia. The bloodshed will be a footnote -- or gist for literature. When one thinks of 1947, one first thinks of Indian independence -- only then the losses we also took. When one thinks of 1776, one first thinks of American liberation -- only then the losses the revolution took.

That's the bottom line. This is why the neoconservatives fight. Our goals are noble and our victory never in doubt.


cynical nerd said...

PR: Try reading Colossus by Neil Fergusson. In that he clearly explains the disadvantages of America to impose its will on others unlike the British Empire.

1) The short-sighted public opinion which rallies against the arrival of Marines in body bags

2) The unwillingness of U.S. elites to serve as consuls to adminster once a territory has been defeated. The kids who graduate from the Ivy Leagues of today shoot for a Wall Street job (not that it is not beneficial) rather than be an Oxbridge grad who earned to be a Governor General or a Viceroy of Mosul or Madras.

libertarian said...

PR taking the long view is hard for a world increasingly addicted to instant gratification. The glorious vision of a remade middle east is a chimera for many. And the payoff for the American taxpayer is uncertain at best. Bush's administration may have made it harder than it needed to be - but I agree with your contention that it was never going to be easy. Hopefully we'll all look back 20 years from now and marvel at how the Iraqis seized their blood-drenched opportunity - a playbook for the rest of that benighted region.

Rishi Gajria said...

You Sir are definitely an optimist :))

libertarian said...

rishi I have a pseudo-scientific theory that systematic optimism yields better results in the long run :-)

nukh said...

i agree, failure [ = allowing even the perception of victory to the bin-ladenists ] in iraq is not an option.
and the only way that could come to pass is because - "taking the long view is hard for a world increasingly addicted to instant gratification"

history_lover said...

Here is an interview of the journalist Patrick Cockburn (Of the Independent Newspaper if I am not wrong) which is an interesting read

cynical nerd said...

How are our resident New Yorkers doing amidst the MTA strike?

Primary Red said...


Thanks for asking, but -- as Manhattan dwellers -- the impact of the strike on us personally is very limited. Still, it is dirupting the lives of our colleagues & friends -- so, hopefully, things will revert to normal as soon as possible.

Best regards & happy holiday.

cynical nerd said...

Unlike the US, we in Europe are pretty much used to regular strikes. The public here too are sympathetic to "right to strike". Hope this one ends soon.

And happy holidays to the bloggers and readers of SR.


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