Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Blame Somebody

In regard to the mess in Iraq recently there has been a bit of a stir as neocons and their allies started slinging blame around, and everybody else seems to be pointing at somebody - that isn't them. Now let's just back the train up a little bit from where we are now after it seems everybody and their brother has screwed the deal; no lies told, nobody dead, just theories of ideology.

The idea was that military force could achieve regime change in countries that eschewed America's interests and that would provide for the implementation of American "ideals." Now wars are generally fought around a basis pretty similar to this if "ideals" don't get too lofty. (land, booty, etc) But here's the rub, the neocons wanted to change societies. This is not an impossible idea and in fact it has been done. The obvious question, if you have this aim, is how has it been done?

The successful implementation of this idea occured in World War II with Western Nazi Germany and Tojo's Japan, the societies that emerged post-war had no real resemblence to their antecedents. The problem for the neocons is that the conditions neccesary were brutal, the countries were virtually destroyed, their armies broken, and resistance faced total destruction. Shock and Awe was a show, in WWII the cities and infrastructure were destroyed, the population faced death and destruction on a massive scale. Not even unreasonable people were able to mount more than token resistance in the face of the occupation. These countries were occupied, they were run by the conquerers. And then the conquerers rebuilt them. The they gave them back.

The neocon idea was that you could cut the head off a snake and it wouldn't thrash around. Social structures go much deeper than the government, and people do not willingly change something that basic. If your goal is to make that level of change then the pain of change must be less than the pain of staying the same. To acheive that level of pain the methods must be extraordinary and the results, horrific. No one in this government was willing to create that level of pain or commit the human resources neccesary to reach it, they created a wishful thinking scenario. I would doubt the sanity of any person who advocated a WWII warfare strategy to change Iraq, the problem is, that was the requirement.

To find an example of failure of the total warfare strategy in changing a culture we need look no farther than our own Civil War. The first part of the strategy was accomplished, the will to resist was broken, the problem was the Reconstruction and we paid for that failure for nearly a century. History provided the neocons clear and convincing guidelines and they ignored them in favor of wishful thinking dressed up as an ideology.

To go from such a basic failure to blaming the Adminstration, and from there all the other blames handed around is foolish. You cannot build an airplane if you start out with house plans, this mess was doomed from the outset, it cannot be fixed at this date, we can, however, leave. We can stay, and extend the suffering until we leave and the results are the same once we're gone. Or, we could raze the place, kill anything that moves wrong - including entire neighborhoods, take iron fisted control of the government and start rebuilding - I don't think that's gonna fly.

We elected a toy soldier and gave him the real things and gave him the opportunity to use them, and pretend intellectuals to guide him, and we're surprised at the result?

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