Saturday, January 13, 2007

UGLY MEME: Blame the Iraqis

I've heard this from Al Franken, Ed Schultz, a lot of Democrats in Congress, and now even some of the Republicans who are abandoning Bush. The thrust of it is, we offered Iraqis the gift of democracy, and they couldn't handle it or get their act together to police themselves and are too cowardly and disorganized to fight the insurgents. Therefore, we must threaten them with leaving or just leave since they are hopeless.

I can see why this "blame Iraqis" meme is popular. Congress doesn't want to admit they agreed with Bush's true venal goal of robbing Iraq, or that they were bullied into approving it, or least likely but most claimed, "fooled." And no one wants to be caught saying something that sounds like they are accusing our troops of going to Iraq to steal oil even though the culprits of that crime are the civilians in suits in Washington. It is also useful to calm the chest-thumping knuckle-draggers who still listen to Rush Limbaugh who only think in terms of their team "winning" or "losing."

It ignores the fact that the "gift" came with strings that were more like steel cables, prodding to vote for things like the coming hydrocarbon law that will screw Iraqis and favor oil companies, and vetoes from Washington whenever the elected Iraqis actually put their people's interest ahead Bush's cronies, up to and including dismissing a prime minister the Iraqis chose for themselves. Likewise, the police and military will be hesitant to do their duties to our satisfaction because they may rightly see some of their orders as looking after American interests not their own. When you look at polls of Iraqis, it is clear that they side with the goal of the insurgents, ending the occupation, so the true measure of Iraqi democracy would be how much they stand up to Bush.

This will likely have no effect on Iraqis themselves who are worried when they will have electricity, clean water, whether it's safe to go to the police station to ask about the father taken in the middle of the night, or whether to give up on looking for their baby in the rubble of the last airstrike.

Neither will it have much effect on the discourse here. Those who oppose the war will sift through the rhetoric to find the bottom line of whether our elected representatives will actually represent us and act to end the war, and the right will interpret it the way they do everything, as an excuse to hate and kill more people.

But there's something profoundly immoral and ugly about doing this to a country then blaming them for it.

It's like a wife-beater who pushed his wife down a flight of stairs saying he is leaving her for being so goddamn clumsy.

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