Friday, July 09, 2004

History Friday

From a historical standpoint, I tend to discount direct comparisons between the war in Iraq and Vietnam. If generals, famously, fight the last war each time they take the field, then this one was supposed to be a combination of lessons learned in Desert Storm, Somalia, and the Balkans. I don't think the example of Afghanistan is apposite here as that one is still going on. Of course, this current Itraqi war been ballsed up beyond belief by a combination of dogmatic meddling lead by Rumsfeld and Cheney, arrogance on the part of Tommy Franks and his successors, and a woeful lack of preparation for the troops on the ground.

OK, caveats aside, here's an event in history that might spark some consideration of the path Iraq might be taking:

1971 United States turns over responsibility for the DMZ in Vietnam

It is interesting to note that one of the first actions the newly 'sovereign' Iraq has taken since the hand-over on June 28th has been to rush through a law that allows the Prime Minister to enforce martial law. You know martial law, the essence of democracy; with its secret detentions, abritary searches and arrests, enhanced powers of lethal force, censorship and so on. Good to see that all those coalition troops and Iraqis who died to bring democracy to Iraq didn't die in vain, eh?

Mind you, when you consider the Bush adminsitration's definitions of democratic process and civil rights, maybe this was to be expected. After all, the new Iraqi powers are a combination of John Ashcroft's wet dreams and the Patriot Act. Perhaps this is what Bush and the neo-cons envision as a "hardened democracy." Maybe Iraq is the proving ground for the creeping fascism of corporate conservatism that will be coming back this way, rather than America being an exporter of values. Paranoid perhaps; just like Pastor Niemoller was in the 1930s. Yikes.

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