Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bush’s Disgraceful War

Tibor R. Machan

One of the saddest things about the George W. Bush years is how America’s reputation as a relatively peaceable society has become discredited. Sure, the U. S. A. has been involved in dubious military ventures throughout its history but not until now has there been a deliberate effort to embark upon a total military transformation of another country by the U. S. A. The effort has been utterly incoherent—a kind of forcing, coercing another country to conform to the ideals of the leaders of the U. S. A., ideals that are actually quite far removed from those of the founders of the American Republic. Sure, some have welcomed this—for example a good many Kurds—but on the whole no one seems to have benefited much and the citizens of the U. S. A., whom our government is supposed to serve, haven't for sure.

When George W. Bush talks of how America is fighting for freedom in the Middle East, he does not mean fighting for the freedom of the individuals of the people living in this region of the world. That’s evident from the fact that what Iraq is now and is likely to become in the near future is nothing like a country in which the principles of the U. S. Declaration of Independence will be even remotely approximated. Iraq is rife with violent public religious conflicts, more murderous today than yesterday, and virtually impervious to becoming civilized. That is to say, there is no evidence at all that a significant percentage of the population in Iraq is interested in setting aside their religious differences and confining their disagreements to civilized debates. There just is no evidence of such a prospect, not because Iraqis are incapable of living in a liberal democratic society but because the chosen priorities of the people are evidently quite different from such civilized, peaceful coexistence.

Secretary of State Rice keeps saying it is insulting to those in the Middle East to claim they aren’t prepared to live in a democracy and that would be so if it meant that Middle Easterners are somehow innately incapable of doing so. But that isn’t the case. The real problem is that too many of them do not value liberal democracy. They value imposing their religion on everyone else in their country. They are interested in nothing like peaceful coexistence of the sort familiar to Americans and other Westerners, with some attending this church, some another, and others yet another, etc., and so forth, with none insisting that those who do not share their faith be liquidated.

Now such folks are simply not willing, never mind able, to live democratically or freely. They have too many criminal inclinations they just don’t want to relinquish. And to fail to appreciate this is a kind of self-imposed blindness. It is a very costly blindness to boot, having already produced deaths that really are all in vein, however much Bush & Co. keep shouting—whistling in the dark—pretending it isn’t so. And that isn’t the only cost of this disgusting war, this abomination of American foreign policy.

A country once thought to be a beacon of the free world is now perceived by many as but a big bully. Its own form of government, a highly intrusive, meddlesome welfare state, is being exported to a region of the world that cannot afford such a system and whose population doesn’t seem to be interested in it at all. Its president is trying to sell others on the wisdom of trying to secure a kind of national freedom that only Machiavelli could appreciate and only for a country that has at least something of a unified citizenry. (For Machiavelli “freedom” meant the absence of foreign domination.) But because Iraq is a totally artificial hodgepodge of a county, such freedom makes no sense there at all. Under a dictatorship it could be intact, albeit as a function of massive state brutality but once the dictatorship has been abolished, there is nothing there to amount to a country, whom our government is supposed to serve, sort of like recent Yugoslavia. So the freedom of Iraq is a fantasy and it is this fantasy for which thousands of American soldiers and many more Iraqis have died and more are being slated to die.

In all my years as a naturalized citizen of the United States of America I have had laments and criticism of the country based on its failure to live up to its promise of a fully free society. But I have never been disgusted by its leadership as I am now. Bush needs to be sent on his way in total disgrace, as someone who has managed to destroy any remnant of America’s reputation as a bona fide free society and an example to the world of how such a society’s government should comport itself.

No comments: