Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Who Wants Freedom?

I have reason to feel both good and disappointed over last week's entry. My word processing skills, or the lack of same, showed in my attempt to make two columns comparing our current war with WWII. It looked great on the screen, but didn't get published that way. I thought about adding directions on understanding the whole thing, but then concluded it would only make things worse. If anyone tried to make it readable, I'm sorry, and hope you found a way.
On the other hand, the President blew into Salt Lake City last week to give the latest, greatest Iraq speech yet and did a nice job of pretending it was 1944. Nice Job? He all but recited the George C. Scott opening speech from "Patton". You know - "Shoot HIM in the belly!," etc. The perfect combination of American Legionaires and Utah red meat, er, state folks ate it up like a handful of Jelly Bellies. That might be the last speech the President gives before Election Day that might not have required some kind of Republican blood oath to attend. With popularity numbers under 40%, Mr. Bush won't speak to just any old group of American citizens anymore. It made me look good with my prediction about campaign themes the last two months, but far be it from me to brag.
The President fairly goes into a personal rapture when talking about "freedom", always in a kind a vague way. It has to be a little murky because some of the so-called allies we count in this business (and that word is chosen purposely) aren't the most free countries out there. Think the Saudis want to make their country free? The Kuwaitis? Why should they, when oil's at 70 bucks a barrel? We'd kind of like the Chinese to loosen things up a bit, but not enough to risk the business we already do with them. Who do you think builds a sack of screwdrivers for $1.98 on sale at WAL-Mart? Gosh knows it's not US. Those jobs headed east years ago, and ain't returning.
Consider all the countries that DIDN'T feel they needed a large American army to acheive the freedom we're always gushing about. The Chileans didn't need us to get rid of Pinochet, nor did the Argentines ask for the Marines to evict the junta they were cursed with. Our once-large force in the Philipines stayed out of that country's successful effort to dump the Marcos Family as rulers in perpetuity. The Russians stood up to the last of Soviet Communism without any overt aid from us. The Ukrainians did the same for a guy the local spooks tyried to poison without so much as a helicopter from us. Sure, we were around to give things a little push, but ALL of what was once the Warsaw Pact fell in a reverse Domino action before our eyes, and we didn't drop one bomb.
Here's the point. All these countries and a few more obtained freedom ON THEIR OWN, and all of them did it at some risk to themselves, pretty much the way our short-pants Founders did two plus centuries back. US public opinion would have supported our intervention in NONE of these countries. After all the different slogans tried on Americans to buy into this current war of occupation, do we really think that Iraq ALONE was worthy of a $billion/wk intervention when NO ONE else was? When did the Iraqis stand up for freedom? On their election day? Maybe, but it seems now that was just an excuse to rally around whichever sect they preferred, not for democracy itself. The sad part is that the Iraqis are now as much at war with each other as they could EVER have been vs. Saddam, if they had had the nerve.
Freedom? What about the Iraqis freedom to invite us to LEAVE? That's a freedom that won't be excercised soon, even though 90% of Iraqis would like to see us go NOW. All we can talk about instead are options to stand/sit/fall down when the locals take over, something they have little incentive to do since American interests will own a good part of the local economy thanks to the neocons who put together the new constitution. No, we may be in Baghdad for longer than we've been in Korea. And you can be sure that if the day ever comes when we DO leave, that NO ONE will say "Sorry. Guess there weren't any WMDs after all. Sorry about the 100,000 (or whatever it will be by then) dead civilians. We just went a little, ah, crazy".


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