Tuesday, November 14, 2006

U.S. Tanks Will Roll out of Iraq on a Road Paved with Excuses

by Robert Fisk

"Not that Perle isn't in good company. Kenneth Adelman, the Pentagon neocon who also beat the drums for war, has been telling Vanity Fair that "the idea of using our power for moral good in the world" is dead. As for Adelman's mate David Frumm, well he's decided that President Bush just "did not absorb the ideas" behind the speeches Frumm wrote for him. But this, I'm afraid, is not the worst to come from those who encouraged us to invade Iraq and start a war that has cost the lives of 600,000 civilians.

For a new phenomenon is creeping into the pages of The New York Times and those other great organs of state in the U.S. For those journalists who supported the war, it's not enough to bash Bush. No, they've got a new flag to fly: The Iraqis don't deserve us.But the Brooks article in The New York Times was also frightening. Iraq, he now informs us, is suffering "a complete social integration" and "American blunders" were exacerbated "by the same old Iraqi demons: greed, blood lust and a mind-boggling unwillingness to compromise, even in the face of self-immolation." Iraq, Brooks has decided, is "teetering on the edge of futility" and if U.S. troops cannot restore order, "it will be time to effectively end Iraq," diffusing authority down to "the clan, the tribe or sect" which -- wait for it -- are "the only communities which are viable."

Here is Ralph Peters, a USA Today writer and retired U.S. Army officer. He had supported the invasion because, he says, he was "convinced that the Middle East was so politically, socially, morally and intellectually stagnant that we (sic) had to risk intervention -- or face generations of terrorism and tumult." For all Washington's errors, Peters boasts, "we did give the Iraqis a unique chance to build a rule-of-law democracy."

But those pesky Iraqis, it now seems, "preferred to indulge in old hatreds, confessional violence, ethnic bigotry and a culture of corruption." Peters' conclusion? "Arab societies can't support democracy as we know it." As a result, "it's their tragedy, not ours. Iraq was the Arab world's last chance to board the train to modernity, to give the region a future ..." Incredibly, Peters finishes by believing that "if the Arab world and Iran embark on an orgy of bloodshed, the harsh truth is that we may be the beneficiaries" because Iraq will have "consumed" "terrorists" and the United States will "still be the greatest power on Earth."

It's not the shamefulness of all this -- do none of these men have any shame? -- but the racist assumption that the hecatomb in Iraq is all the fault of the Iraqis, that their intrinsic backwardness, their viciousness, their failure to appreciate the fruits of our civilization make them unworthy of our further attention. At no point does anyone question whether the fact that the U.S. is "the greatest power on Earth" might not be part of the problem. Nor that Iraqis who endured among their worst years of dictatorship when Saddam was supported by the United States, who were sanctioned by the United Nations at a cost of a half a million children's lives and who were then brutally invaded by our armies, might not actually be terribly keen on all the good things we wished to offer them.

Many Arabs, as I've written before, would like some of our democracy, but they would also like another kind of freedom -- freedom from us.

But you get the point. We are preparing our get-out excuses. The Iraqis don't deserve us. Screw them. That's the grit we're laying down on the desert floor to help our tanks out of Iraq."

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