Jump to navigation
Writer Chet Scoville has published an article
at Vanity Press
and has graced Big Brass Blog
with the cross-post
of it, where I read it, along with the considered comments on the resulting thread. The article, entitled "You Did Not Buy It When You Broke It," discusses the schism among progressives regarding the responsibility of the U.S. to Iraq, given that we, as a nation, brought about the unspeakable catastrophe that is now that once well-organized, sovereign nation.
I have touched before on this matter of responsibility for the future of Iraq, and it strikes me that the problem we face is as deep as any possible within the experience of a nation that has committed wrong. We simply cannot stay; and yet to leaveto wash our collective hands of that destroyed place and leavespeaks worlds about us as a people. I keep hearing a refrain that deeply troubles me; its sub-text is almost of the form, "This wasn't my
war," or even, "Bush isn't my
President." I recall that the latter was almost verbatim the attack upon me quite awhile back in a comment thread wherein I suggested a profound moral dilemma was at hand. I wanted to respond ferociously, to the extent of demanding to know why, if the United States had strayed so far from sensibilities, people chose to stay here, thereby picking and choosing that for which they could feel comfortable in bearing blame; but then it occurred to me that I needed to deal with myself instead of expending incendiary, probative demands upon others.
Upon introspection, for me and for me alone, it was quite clear: George W. Bush is and has been, despite my abiding revulsion of him and all he represents, my
president, as awful as that fact is. The United States of America is my
country, and it is that country, the one I decline to depart, that began, prosecuted, and finally lost a pre-emptive war of aggression in Iraq. It is I
, through the vessel of the United States armed forces, who did this. It is most decidedly not some "they"; not some "that"; not "some evil people." If my nation has a black, soul-absent place wherefrom lashes out the occasion of unjust war, torture, murder, and even genocide, I must be cautious that I have not seen writ large upon an undeserving world the mirror pool looking into a place within myself I would hate every bit as much as I hate what this country is doing to others.
But that's just me. I would honestly not wish this kind of introspective blame-laying upon another living soul. It's just awful to feel this way.
I shall, then, change the subject, but only from the personal present to a personal past, a permanently troubling memory I want to share.
Years ago, one of my cousins, a man who, like most in my family at the time, had little money, went out to the woods of the old family homestead to hunt for food. In his haste and lack of experience, he accidentally shot someone's big pet dog that was running through a thick stand of pine trees.
The dog was horribly wounded but still alive, suffering wildly. My cousin had no money to pay a vet, and he didn't know to whom it belonged. He was simply mortified by what he had done, and he couldn't stand what he was seeing. He was the kind of country boy who just adored dogs. He wasn't cut out to be a hunter by any means: that bleeding mess he ran up to and stood over just tore him up inside.
He ran away. He got in his truck, and he left.
It was only days later that he told my brother, Dan, about it. Dan and I went to the woods and found the dog. It was dead, of course. It had dragged itself for quite a ways, almost reaching the fence line to the back of the property of the family who'd moved in up the hill the previous Spring. The dog was theirs, as we learned when we went to inquire.
The gentleman of the house went out with us to where their beloved animal had finally closed its eyes and died, and the man asked something to the effect, "What kind of person would just shoot a dog and then leave it to crawl around suffering? Why didn't he do
My brother, something of an unintentionally ironic man, answered, "Looks to me like he did
. He up and left."
By then, the owner's daughter had come out and seen what we were standing over. She cried that kind of cry that doesn't make much noise; it sort of comes out like soft, sobbing jerks. Her dad picked up the dogits name was "Shelby," I thinkand cradled it in his arms. His daughter clutched its bloody hind legs as the two of them walked back up the hill to their place.
It was only after the fellow had lifted the dog up that I could tell the round had hit it in the left hind thigh. A bad wound, but the kind that can be fixed, especially on a big healthy dog.
The dog had bled to death.
The Dark Wraith is finished with his story, now.
permanently troubling memory
indeed. I would say thank you for sharing, but now I'm going to be thinking of that poor dog.
I don't have words tonight.
I understand your point well, but I can't see people healing another country when we can't even heal ourselves.
I, too, dislike "owning" George Bush as my President. I think the thing I hate the most about it is that it means we must own what he has started---a something that has absolutely NO simple, painless, or good solution. Thinking about it lights up enough rage to fly space shuttles to the moon and back. I do, in spite of that...and the story about the dog, believe we desperately need to get the hell out of Iraq.
Why? Because our premise there is so profoundly flawed as to be creating a large part of the problem: the grafting on of American style democracy to a culture used to religious and tribal priorities of government. I do not believe we should abandon the country we broke by removal of the strongman at the top. But having our military there trying to do police duty as the country goes tooth and nail into its accustomed Sunni vs Shia madness is possibly aggravating the issue intolerably. What we need there is something else---and I admit, I don't know what it is; but our type of military solution is no solution at all. I say that as a former military member and intelligence analyst---and as a amateur student of history and philosophy. We created the Taliban choke-hold on Afghanistan with our military solutions to the Russian occupation---and our rapid exodus from their affairs once they did chase the Russians out. Likewise, if we leave Iraq entirely to its own devices, we will create some monster there. But we cannot solve it with a surge of troops and more bloodshed.
I think this war has gone beyond guilt and innocence. We need to take a time out, look at the reality on the ground, and act to make the best of what's a bad, bad situation, and avoid making it worse.
When we're doing more bad than good, we have the responsibility to just leave before we do more wrong, kill more people. If we CANNOT FIX IT (and I think we got to that place before the 2004 election) we must leave. They want us out, the problem is political and not military, our military have no purpose there that they can, in any purely practical sense, fulfill.
Bushco is trying, as we speak, to steal the profits on their oil for the next 20-30 years.
The war is gutting our economy, our military is abusing the civilians, we don't have the ching to reoutfit the whole thing. WTF are we doing there anyway???
It's nuts, and we need to leave in order to fix what we can, before the whole thing ends up down the drain and us sucked down with it. NUTS! Why do we have huge military bases all over the world? No other country has. What a waste!
No, I do not feel personally guilty for this war. The Bush administration lied through their teeth, and I feel stupid for believing them, I feel bad for what we're doing, I feel helpless to stop it, but I do not feel that I own this war.
Not only did he lie to us, he wielded the power of the "leader of the free world" making sure that no one who could stop it knew enough about it to stop it, and then poisoned the discourse to the extent that anyone who did act against the war was discredited and ended up jobless.
Am I wrong?
My dad had a penknife that said "don't blame me, I voted for Bush"
'Course, it was Bush 41....
"George W. Bush is and has been, despite my abiding revulsion of him and all he represents, my president..."
I, on the other hand, claim absolutely NO kinship with unsouled beings, who in my opinion, are masquerading as humans. As Yeats put it:
"...My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor..."
An Irish Airman foresees his Death
Good afternoon, SB Gypsy.
Perhaps your suggestion offers the best question: to what extent do we do damage if we stay, and is this more or less damage than if we leave?
The issue of "leaving" is, of course, not black and white. I doubt if there's a single Democratic candidate for President who has any intention whatsoever of actually fully, completely, and totally leaving that miserable place. We've built a massive embassy unrivaled anywhere and by anyone in the world. More importantly, that "embassy" is far more important than it appears because it is the state-of-the-art nexus of our intelligence operations for the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia Minor. It is, then, the Cold War spooks' dream-come-true, and I utterly reject the idea that even an Al Gore would cut that thing loose.
Worse still for the prospect of leaving, we have--and by "we," I include a whole lot of Democrats as well as Republicans who voted for this--pretty much handed Iraq's oil fields over to the world's oil companies, and they aren't going to sit around and let us walk away from our "duty" to defend them. As jaded as I am, I was still jaw-dropping stunned by the sheer gall of the Democrats in Congress who slid this one through while pretending to reluctantly capitulate to Bush's demands on war funding.
I don't see us leaving, but I don't see our staying as anything whatsoever to do with cleaning up the mess there.
Short of literally hanging the top people of this Administration, it seems to me that any gesture we could make would be perceived by the Iraqis as disingenuous at best, and more likely counterproductive.
Hangings are, of course, not done in this country anymore, so even the suggestion of that is merely illustrative and certainly not suggestive.
Nevertheless, darned! but that was edifying to write.
The Dark Wraith is so old, now, that he takes pleasure in merely writing about things he'd like to see done with ropes.
"The Dark Wraith is so old, now, that he takes pleasure in merely writing about things he'd like to see done with ropes."
Things such as THIS perhaps?
Sometimes it is better to write about things you'd like to see done with ropes than actually try to do the stringing up.
For one thing, you could get hurt. For another thing, in informing others of the situation, other minds could be brought to bear on the problem. Perhaps other solutions than a good lynching could better resolve the issue?
After all, part of the motivation that got us into this situation in the first place is the desire to get even.
Perhaps, for the young hunter, some substantial public service could be done. Perhaps some financial recompensation for the injured family and judicial review of the shooter's gun use would help. Perhaps with the assistance of others, the dog's owners could be convinced to keep their other dogs on a short leash or at least in their own back yard.
Hindsight is always better than foresight. In the case of Iraq, withdrawal of troops in no way should signal withdrawal of support of the various peoples there that we've been involved with. This support should be administered by some sort of international relief agency, and should be closely monitored to ensure the money actually got to where it was supposed to go and not into the pocket of corporations like Halliburton.
However, the problem here is that our shooters not only want to bag the dog, they want to enter the family's house, take their checkbook and credit cards, and hold the family hostage to keep the neighbors in line, while they shoot their watchdogs too.
Rather than an errant hunter, I believe the closest analogy would be international piracy, on the order of looting nations and not merchant ships. After all, the motto of the Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton crew has always been: "Take all you can. Give nothing back".
Well, fuck it, I just lost my log-in halfway through a long, probably boring, post. In brief then...
G.W., however it happened, is my president, and unfortunately has the rights and priveleges that come with that position. It was unfortunate when other nincompoops have been finessed into the WH, and America has survived. It may be rough on some of the citizens, and I truly resent my suffering for Shrub's mistakes of morals, judgement, and patritism(the real kind-the kind that looks out for the US's best interests), but we are screwed. Our present politicians and media types were all trained by the stronest kind of aversion trainingf to support the "War" on terror, and all necessary ajuncts, not solely by Bushco but also by the hordses of frightened sheeple that cried traitor at the drop of a common sense critisism. While the populace has come peeking out from the caves of blind fear and need for mommy/daddy, the public figures are still terrified of the whiplash of the strident freeper cry of "Un-American". Maybe I'm weird, but 9/11 did not send me freaking out and expecting to be the next terrorist victim. I also don't walk the street at night and expect mad rapists hiding in the bushes. Statistically, I am one possible victim out of millions, and the chance of it being me is roughlyu akin to hitting the lottery.
The hunter was in the wrong for leaving an animal to suffer without seeing exactly what its condition was and if it could be saved. In Iraq, the only folks who could better diagnose the problems there are folks in the neighborhood, folks we need to get advice from. I don't think cutting and running will make matters worse-the wound is already fatal, we farted around too long and nothing we do with our knowlege can make things better. If Iraq were the dog, we sot it, then spent several hours trying to get it up on its feet to walk home. Now, collapsed and weak from bloodloss, unless someone with the right knowlge comes by and fixes it up, the dog is going to die. Wrong diagnosis at the start, no action taken to alleviate the wound, no skill to fix things later. If we'd gone in and taken out Hussein then immediately withdrawn, like the hunter, Iraq probably would have died quicker, but without the torture of having someone prodding you in a direction you did not wish to go. In either case, the hunter should have gonme for a vet and the US should have gone and gotten help from some muslims. Both cases are screwed up, and wwe just have to hope that after all this the new dog to replace the dead one is better, or at least as good as the one he replaces.
I have two questions.
Where does it say that there has to be a simple answer for Iraq?
Where does it say that the US absolutely must approve of any answer(s) that may present themselves?
Make that three questions.
Who died and made the leaders of the US God for the rest of the planet?
"Make that three questions.
Who died and made the leaders of the US God for the rest of the planet?"
I've been wondering that myself.
"Short of literally hanging the top people of this Administration, it seems to me that any gesture we could make would be perceived by the Iraqis as disingenuous at best, and more likely counterproductive."
And yet - that solution may be the only one that could save America from the coming retribution - and the revenge of the whole world, who doesn't much like us anymore.
At this point I think the moral thing to do would be for us to leave Iraq and let them control their own destiny entirely.
We have demonstrated that we are not going to invest economically in Iraq, that we won't hire Iraqis to do the work but rather allow the contractors to import workers from Bangalore and elsewhere, and that our main concern for being in Iraq is to secure the oil fields for Exxon, Chevron, BP, and Shell.
Yes, we will leave a lot of bloody dead dogs behind but there are plenty of live dogs left to work out their country's fate.
It will be bloody, that cannot be avoided whether we stay or go. The main difference will be that American Blood is no longer being spilled and American Tax Dollars will no longer be used to train Iraqi Soldiers who then later go out and plant IED's that kill the very American Troops that trained them.
Would it have been wise for Brittain to insert themselves inbetween our Civil War? Sure they may have staved off the violence, but ultimately we would want them to leave, both the North and the South.
Both sides would attack the Brits and as soon as they left the fight between the North and South would have resumed until one side or the other was bloodied so baldly that they could no longer stand, as was the case.
Unfortunately, human beings have not evolved to the point to settle their differences rationally without bloodshed. It makes it doubly hard when the Administration in charge of the United States doesn't even beleive in Evolution to begin with.
Such bloodshed will likely be necessary, perhaps even sadly cathartic in order for a new Iraq to rise out of the ashes.
Somehow I just cannot get that study of overcrowded rats out of my mind - you know, the one where the rats just started killing and eating each other....
I'll let someone else have dibs on Peter of Lone Tree's thigh meat.
Ditto on Father Tyme's rump roast.
The Dark Wraith is just having a salad this evening.
[It's a cholestrol thing, mind you.]
Become a Registered Commenter