Monday, 29 January 2007

Why We Couldn't Put Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again

Sometimes I hate being right.

Back, way back in 2003 when the U.S. war machine was bearing down on the tottering Saddam regime, I had a conversation with R., a good friend, and fellow worrier about global politics.

The gist of my part of the conversation was that while the Americans would occupy Iraq easily enough, they wouldn’t be able to put humpty-dumpty back together again. There would be serious resentment amongst the population and anger at the American forces (yes, even I failed to see the size and bloodiness of the “insurgency” that would unfold over the next 4 years) and the Americans would find that instead of creating their imagined haven of peace and democracy in the Middle East, there would be bloodshed, attacks on the Americans and bombings aimed at fracturing the tottering state. The American public would lose interest in Bush’s mission, the anti-war protestors would gather, and the money for reconstruction would grind to a halt. The Grand Enterprise would be abandoned and there would be two major effects that would reverberate throughout global politics:

The first would be the descent of Iraq into anarchy, with all the consequent hatred, violence, anti-Americanism and resentment that would bleed into the rest of the world.

Second, American justifications would only confirm their own myths. Instead of critically looking at American power and how it is being used globally, the blame would fall on the ‘nature’ of Islam and the Arabs. Inevitably those same self-fulfilling prophecies of difference based on ‘Ideology’ would come to the fore. It will be said that it was because Islam is anti-democratic, or irrational, or barbaric, that Iraq could not become a democratic nation as America decreed it should be….

Sometimes I hate being right.


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