Two-Way Street – Frank Rich on Iraq

Frank Rich’s Sunday NYT column concludes on what I think is meant to be a savagely ironic note:

Of all the pro forma passages in Obama’s speech, perhaps the most jarring was his entreaty that Iraq’s leaders “move forward with a sense of urgency to form an inclusive government that is just, representative and accountable.” He might as well have been talking about the poisonous political deadlock in Washington. At that moment, there was no escaping the tragic fact that instead of bringing American-style democracy and freedom to Iraq, the costly war we fought there has, if anything, brought the bitter taste of Iraq’s dysfunction to America.

It’s not just a third world nation’s dysfunction that our violent intimacy with Iraq has brought to us.  The most privileged nation in the world met, via its military operations, one of the most miserable, over the course, so far, of 20, not merely 7-8, years.  I imagine a kind of vast historical siphoning process: our surplus of will and power and ignorance forced down the already opened channel between the two culture-states, their miseries returning in the other direction in a bloody slurry of human wreckage, impelled to fill our moral vacuum – a two-way empathetic exchange.  No one is in a position to identify what else we and they may have taken on or absorbed as a result of this not yet completed process, though almost everyone brought to offer an opinion seems compelled to submit a judgment and assign fault.  The only thing that seems certain is that virtually no one – few whom I’ve encountered, anyway – seems to have much empathy to spare on this issue.  Seems to have all been used up.

(Further discussion at “The Iraq Syndrome” and comments under “No Alternatives.”)


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By CK MacLeod

Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

8 comments

  1. I welcome myself to Tea Land.
    “Therefore, when a U.S. president wages what might otherwise be considered a just war, if he has failed to secure a congressional declaration of war, he is waging an illegal war — illegal from the standpoint of our own legal and governmental system. And when the American people support any such war, no matter how just and right they believe it is, they are standing not only against their own principles and heritage, not only against their own system of government and laws, but also against the only barrier standing between them and the tyranny of their own government — the Constitution.”
    TRUMAN
    LBJ
    BUSH
    CLINTON
    W
    OBAMA
    http://www.fff.org/comment/com0204a.asp

  2. Yes, because it is Iraq, that is forcing the Congress not to submit a budget this year, please give me a break. The Phillipine War that grew
    out from the Spanish American war, but soon took on a life of it’s own, complete with the first real anti Imperialist movement, which Carnegie
    was a part of, is a better parallel.

  3. BTW,MC,

    Dave Petraeus just got involved in the Burn the Koran day in St Petersburg Fla.,DP told the press that burning the Koran would put our soldiers at greater risk,not that Book Burning is a Nazi thing to do.

  4. It’s a stupid and counterproductive thing to do, the fact that Petraeus was receiving the information from sources in Afghanistan and Indonesia, indicates that much like those additional Mohammed cartoons, that Abu Laban circulated around the Middle East, they
    might be spiking the message with some extra oomph

  5. CK wrote

    though almost everyone brought to offer an opinion seems compelled to submit a judgment and assign fault

    Assigning blame is pretty much the only thing we have left for creating a sense of control.

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