A Fox News Channel web article tells me that key US political figures are urging the US president to put in a new government in Iraq. It floors me, this bit of reporting. The baldness of the US exercise of power for its own advantage is simply stunning. Our country has come so far as to openly discuss the installation and removal (by force?) of governments. No surprise that John McCain aka Mr. Tough Guy wants to put things right (that means “our way”). But even the esteemed progressive Diane Feinstein of the People’s Republic of San Francisco assures us this must be done, without adding a word about “national sovereignty” or “territorial integrity” or any of the things we hear so much about in Ukraine. Senator Feinstein seems to think things are going to get pretty ugly. Well, I’d say things have been pretty ugly in Iraq for a long, long time and the US had better keep its fingers out, now that it abandoned Iraq over a stupid status of forces agreement and made way for the Jihadists. How many times are we allowed to intervene in one country to change its government before the entire population is at our throat? Do we ever learn lessons anymore?
I really don’t give a darn if some Republicans would look upon me as disloyal for opposing all these interventionist and, yes, adventurist wars we are waging. This is not about moral guidance and a shining city on a hill, but about the raw exercise of brutish power. We have the biggest military around. (Great, let’s use it on US borders.) I’d say the disloyal are the people who act without a sound policy, who don’t have a sliding scale for what is of interest to the US, who want to impose our will (without dissent if possible!) around the globe. They want to sell a version of democracy that doesn’t even exist in America anymore, and that’s pretty galling as well. These are the people who are sending Americans into war (and neglecting them when they return) for the most misguided of reasons.
The disasters abroad are occurring because we can afford the war, but we can’t afford the peace. To make the initial sacrifice of so many mean anything, the US would have to leave behind a strong, stable, self-sustainable nation. Instead we get sick of bearing other people’s burdens and withdraw, retreat, beat feet. And we end up with an Iraq on fire, again, a living testimony to the efficacy of being invaded and occupied for ten years by the US. In the end, the US emasculated the Iraqi military and couldn’t replace it. It took down one form of government and failed to find a suitable follow-on. Iraq would probably have been better off with the madman Saddam Hussein than with the US and that other man we can’t stand, Nouri al-Maliki.
We are deeply complicit In the current level of global violence and instability. We are feeding our enemies’ hatred and enhancing their appeal. Instead of retrenching, regrouping and reordering our priorities, we are forging ahead, into the Valley of Death. Our country has a terrible reputation around the globe, but we have inserted ourselves into and abetted so many quarrels in so many countries that now everybody demands we do so, even as they spit on us for doing it. Of course, if we had done successfully even one intervention I might reconsider. But I can’t see it. Even Bosnia remains a fragile state of ethnic groups that still detest one another and that could easily break apart. Kosovo remains a simmering issue in Serbia, Ukraine is a tinderbox waiting for a flame, Libya is a gun-running haven, Egypt teeters between one form of dictatorship or another, and in Syria the US is determined to bring down Assad even if they have to arm every man, woman and child in the country.
I am furious that there seems to be one rule of law in the US and one rule of law abroad, as far as our government is concerned. Other governments can be overthrown by force on the grounds of real or fabricated abuses, and with the open help of foreign governments with some, little or no interests at stake. How come there can’t be armed rebellion in the US with the help of foreign governments to overthrow an oppressive regime? Who decides what an abuse of human rights is, or where they can occur? Not that I think armed rebellion is an answer or more likely to be successful here than elsewhere, but I think we need to address the gap between what we insist on for others and what we will tolerate for ourselves.