Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Progressive Ultimatum Part I

Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do
I received my regular email this morning from Michael Moore, who has always demonstrated an unparalleled capacity for putting things in appropriate historical perspective:

Tomorrow marks the day that we will have been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.

That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.
In Fact, The route to Baghdad to the 'secure Green Zone is only by air taxi; and if by night, the lights aboard are out. Moore goes on:
After 1,347 days, in the same time it took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe, we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in a pothole.
Bush and Blair's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI) has been composed long on gall, short on war, and interminal on occupation. The duration of our occupation has now reached 1,305 days if you count Bush's Mayday 2003 celebration on board the Lincoln and 1,078 if you count our capture of the Iraqi head of state in December 2003. For that length of time, we have been misusing our fighting men and women to impress down upon the Iraqi people an unwanted occupation. On this point, Moore says, there can be no doubt:
. . . according to a recent poll conducted by the University of Maryland:
  • 71% of all Iraqis now want the U.S. out of Iraq.
  • 61% of all Iraqis SUPPORT insurgent attacks on U.S. troops.
. . .the vast majority of Iraqi citizens believe that our soldiers should be killed and maimed! So what the hell are we still doing there? Talk about not getting the hint?

. . . . Where were all the suicide bombers when Saddam was oppressing them? Where were the insurgents planting bombs along the roadside as the evildoer Saddam's convoy passed them by? I guess ol' Saddam was a cruel despot -- but not cruel enough for thousands to risk their necks.
As I've said before, wars are lost (mostly); some are won. Occupations are neither won or lost; they are always ended.
There are many ways to liberate a country. Usually the residents of that country rise up and liberate themselves. That's how we did it. You can also do it through nonviolent, mass civil disobedience. That's how India did it. You can get the world to boycott a regime until they are so ostracized they capitulate. That's how South Africa did it. Or you can just wait them out and, sooner or later, the king's legions simply leave (sometimes just because they're too cold). That's how Canada did it.
This UULUIUOI is alien to American history and experience.
A country can HELP another people overthrow a tyrant (that's what the French did for us in our revolution), but after you help them, you leave. Immediately. The French didn't stay and tell us how to set up our government. They didn't say, "we're not leaving because we want your natural resources." They left us to our own devices and it took us six years before we had an election . . . . The French didn't say, "Oh, we better stay in America, otherwise they're going to kill each other over that slavery issue!"
Where do we go from here? Moore's suggestion for Progressives' demand from Congressional Democrats:
  1. Bring the troops home now. Not six months from now. NOW. Quit looking for a way to win. We can't win. We've lost. Sometimes you lose. This is one of those times. Be brave and admit it.
  2. Apologize to our soldiers and make amends. Tell them we are sorry they were used to fight a war that had NOTHING to do with our national security. We must commit to taking care of them so that they suffer as little as possible. The mentally and physically maimed must get the best care and significant financial compensation. The families of the deceased deserve the biggest apology and they must be taken care of for the rest of their lives.
  3. We must atone for the atrocity we have perpetuated on the people of Iraq. There are few evils worse than waging a war based on a lie, invading another country because you want what they have buried under the ground. Now many more will die. Their blood is on our hands, regardless for whom we voted. If you pay taxes, you have contributed to the three billion dollars a week now being spent to drive Iraq into the hellhole it's become. When the civil war is over, we will have to help rebuild Iraq. We can receive no redemption until we have atoned.
I'll have more to say on these points covered above. In the meantime please read Michael's comments in full.