My Beautiful Wickedness

A couple of polls, for whatever these are worth.
September 10, 2007, 7:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It really doesn’t surprise me that Americans as a whole think things are getting worse in Iraq. The domestic toll is getting higher, our economy is tanking, our liberties and rule of law are eroded, and prices on many things (most particularly oil) have soared. We’re one bad day away from a global markets collapse. We lack domestic leadership, our foreign policy is a mess, anyone who is paying attention has learned that the profiteering of companies with whom the Bush administration has a close and friendly history is baldfaced and wildly lucrative, and then there’s the body count, the new “surge” in prosthetics and traumatic brain injury research, the endless deployments and redeployments…

We have a lot of reasons to think this war is a bust. It’s been a ethical, financial, legal, and social disaster and it’s not getting any better. One of the reasons that your kids’ schools are falling apart, that New Orleans is a hot mess, that our bridges are falling down and there’s no money to fix them — pretty much anything except Brittney Spears’ poor performance last night on the VMAs has a connection to the foolish way we’re choosing to waste our political and monetary capital. In fact, American residents are more likely to agree as a nation that Bush’s management of the war has been horrible than we are to agree about almost anything else. He was right — he is a yooo-niter.

But how about the people who we’re liberating? The people who we have been fighting to protect? Turns out that they don’t want us there, that they think things are getting markedly worse, and that they want us to go home immediately.

So here’s my thought: when you go to war to “save” a country, you might have originally had noble purposes. (Let’s table that, just for the sake of maintaining some sort of moral plausibility.) But several years later, when you’ve thoroughly fucked up that country and your own, when everybody except the generals and the corporations is telling you that there’s nothing good to be accomplished and that they really really really want you to leave…and you stay anyhow?

Isn’t that what we call imperialism? I mean, by my own definitions, the US was baptized in imperialism and has been an imperialist aggressor for the vast majority of its history. But it had been moving away from foreign occupation as a tool of its imperialism and so some people who think that it always has to be at gunpoint might not have agreed.

What else, though, could you call this war now?


3 Comments so far
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Well put. The Iraq war is nakedly imperialistic.

I recently studied the British forays in Iraq post-WWI.
After the prerequisite gassing and machine-gunning of the more resistant villages, the end game went something like this: “Ello! sign this deal to give 80% of your oil profits to BP…oh, you don’t want to? We’ll be on our way then; I’m sure the Turks won’t mind deposing you and administering the area again…cheerio!
…oh, you’ve reconsidered? brilliant.”

With our loathsome “Iraqi hydrocarbon law,” as the main “benchmark” we are demanding, we are perfectly mimicking the British Empire.


Comment by Nick Dupree

Ummm… “worthless?” “Ill-considered?” “Inefficient?” I mean, as a tool of colonialism and imperialism, we’re doing a pretty shit poor job of it. I mean yes, we’re getting oil and some money, but we’re spending lives like crazy (having not yet mastered that ‘setting up puppet governments’ thing nearly as well as we’d like), and we’re neither cowing them nor winning their hearts and minds. If we were going to really properly get them under our thumb, we’d back the fuck off, open trade a mile wide (with restrictions and whatnot in our favor, of course), and drown them under McDonalds, Starbucks, and American Idol. If we added in juuuust enough education for everyone to have a generation of kids who think the ‘old ways’ (however we define ‘old ways,’ naturally) kind of suck in the face of cool TV shows and trendy clothes, and who are just smart enough to think their parents are “backwards” to boot, we’d win. More thoroughly than anything we could do with bombs.

There are all sorts of ways to accomplish it, too. Selective (and largely one-way) immigration incentives (expedited paperwork! education opportunities! jobs!) for certain types of people to induce brain-drain, real rebuilding jobs that just so happen to remake the cities and educational facilities in our own image, viable (and Americanized) opportunities for work and housing so people aren’t desperate enough to wander off into extremism (and a TV in every room!). It’s not hard. And it makes us money. And hell, if we’d done it fast enough, it would’ve made us look like heroes. Sweep in, nab ‘the bad guy,’ build ‘modern, western’ schools and infrastructure, open a bunch of jobs in the process (slinging coffee, teaching ‘new’ curricula, working at Target), and once we’ve got all the corporations set up and running smoothly, peacefully withdraw and leave them to their ‘autonomy.’ We fixed everything, didn’t we? They have jobs and money and schools and no more dictators. Who cares if they don’t have any real choices and we took their oil and they all work for US-based companies now?

(Which is not at all to support such a course of action… just to point out that this bombing shit is stupid even from an imperialist standpoint. You can take an area by force, sure… but you keep it by culture. If cheap goods and ubiquitous entertainment opportunities can keep us complacent while the world falls down around us, imagine what it’d do if people thought we were giving it as a gift.)

Comment by magniloquence

The State Department already funds many such “retool the curriculum of blah-blah-Stan” programs. They are some of the more lucrative grants that programs can get … unfortunately, they are not much interested in trying to inject blah-blah-Stan with Af-Am Marxist feminism, so I’ve never applied.

Comment by bridgett

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