Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Good American

By Scott Ritter

".....It’s a shame for these Legionnaires that the Iraqis couldn’t have turned out to be blond, blue-eyed Germans who looked like us, and whose women could be wooed with chocolate and nylon stockings by the noble American liberator and occupier. Or, short of that, passive Japanese, who freely submitted their women to the massage parlors and barracks of their American conquering heroes while their men rebuilt a shattered society. The simplistic approach of many of the American Legion’s most hawkish advocates for the ongoing disaster in Iraq seems to be drawn from a selective memory which seeks to impose a carefully crafted past experience dating back to the last “good war” (i.e., World War II), expunged of all warts and blemishes, onto the current situation in Iraq in a manner which strips away all reality.

It turns out that the Iraqis aren’t like German or Japanese people at all, but rather a fiercely independent (if overly complex) nation deeply resentful of a so-called liberation which has brought them nothing but pain and agony, primarily at the hands of those who have, unbidden, “freed” them from their past. The fact that the Iraqis resent the ongoing American occupation, and choose to express this resentment through violent resistance instead of submissive passivity, is in turn resented by many of the Legion’s membership......

Thus, in a blind effort to find meaning in her son’s death, this mother is willing to inflict suffering on other American families. This may sound like a harsh indictment, but she indicts herself. The same mother concludes the article with the following quote: “I told President Bush last summer that the biggest insult anyone could hand me would be to pull the troops out before the job is complete. If we’re going to quit, at that point I’ll have to ask, ‘Why did my son die?’ ” The question she should have been asking long before his death was, of course, “Why might my son die?” That she failed to do so, and now seeks to send others off to their death in a cause not worthy of a single American life, is where she and those of her ilk stop receiving my sympathy and understanding.

The American Legion magazine, in its May 2007 issue, belittles those who speak out against the war. “While our forefathers gave us the right and privilege to challenge our leaders,” one father of a fallen Marine writes, “the manner and method that some people have chosen to use at this time only emboldens the enemy.” Reading between the lines, freedom of speech is treasonous if you question the motives and actions of those who got us involved in the Iraq war. Alan Dershowitz can only wish that there had been more “good Germans” speaking out about the policies of Adolf Hitler before the Holocaust became reality.

I yearn for a time when “good Americans” will be able to stop and reverse equally evil policies of global hegemony achieved through pre-emptive war of aggression. I know all too well that in this case the “enemy” will only be emboldened by our silence, since at the end of the day the “enemy” is ourselves. I can see the Harvard professor shaking an accusatory finger at me for the above statement, chiding me for creating any moral equivalency between the war in Iraq and the Holocaust. You’re right, Mr. Dershowitz. There is no moral equivalency. In America today, we should have known better, since we ostensibly stand for so much more. That we have collectively failed to halt and repudiate the war in Iraq makes us even worse than the Germans."

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