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Tue

28

Nov

2006

When Failure is Better than Success: What Americans, and the World, Owe to the Disaster in Iraq
Tuesday, 28 November 2006 11:46
by Andrew Bard Schmookler



There can be no doubt that the failed American invasion of Iraq has been a terrible thing. Because of this American failure, the Iraqi people have suffered horrific trauma and destruction, and there’s no indication that their ordeal will end anytime soon. For America, too, this botched invasion has proved most costly: in blood, in treasure, and in national reputation. The order of the world has been rent, the global stage dominated by violence initiated by its leading nation in an act interpreted by most of the world’s people’s as an unjustified act of aggression.

Looking at these developments from the standpoint of the year 2000, it would appear to be an unmitigated catastrophe.

Yet, from another perspective –a valid and important perspective—this ongoing disaster in Iraq is good news. It’s good news only in terms of the alternative. That is, in terms of the alternative if one takes as givens the Bushites’ being in power in the United States and, especially, their decision to invade Iraq.


Imagine, in other words, what the situation would be –in America, and in the world—had the mission truly been accomplished at the time that this arrogant and ignorant president of ours strutted across that aircraft carrier in front of that infamous banner.

The Escape from Fascism at Home and from an Imperial Global Bully Abroad

It is hardly likely, had Bush been able to ride into these recent elections a victory rather than a debacle, that the American people –who always love a winner—would have hesitated to ratify the one-party state –that “permanent Republican majority”—toward which these Bushites have aspired. And it should be recalled that this was to be a one-party state fundamentally different in nature from that which the Democrats once enjoyed. This present regime, as we now know, is one that early on set out to transform our constitutional democracy into a system of government in which the Great Leader –our “war-time president”– enjoyed unchecked power. Imagine how much further down this road toward fascism we would be now if Iraq had not dragged this president out of that cocky, swaggering posture which, it seemed, more than half of our countrymen were willing to applaud.

We Americans may well owe the survival of our democracy to this failure in Iraq.

For all the damage done to the international system, imagine how it would be if the world’s one remaining superpower had enjoyed the promised “cakewalk” in its first venture into “preventive” war, i.e. attack justified by the hypothetical possibility that some country might, in some conceivable future, constitute a threat to the American hegemon. Throughout the 1990s, analysts of international affairs had marveled at the unparalleled level of dominance of American power on the international scene: way beyond the ascendancy the British enjoyed at the height of their empire, it may even have surpassed the power of Rome at its crest. For such unchallengeable dominance to come under the command of a group with the Bushites’ insatiable lust for power would have been far worse for the contemporary world than for this rogue American regime to be humbled and hobbled at the outset of its aggressive ventures.

The news is still bad. The world has no other source on the horizon for the mostly positive leadership the United States has supplied for the past several generations. And we all may rue how the crippling of this over-reaching American power has incapacitated the world from being able to deal with other possible threats, such as the breakdown of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the likely rise of Iran as well as North Korea as nuclear powers.

But better these costs than an America successfully embarked on the dark road that the Bushites wanted to follow. The world may owe its escape from an age of unipolar imperialism to this Bushite failure in Iraq.

Into a Clearing, but Not Out of the Woods

In America, the danger to our constitutional democracy has diminished, but it has not passed. The struggle so many of us have been engaged in to expose the truth and to awaken our countrymen to its portentous meanings must go on. But it is the failure in Iraq that has given us a wind at our backs.

At the global level, the damage done by these Bushites remains considerable. And it is unclear how long it may take even an able and principled American leadership to repair that damage and regain the trust so recklessly squandered by this Bushite regime. But we can now hope that perhaps, two years from now, we might at least be able to choose a leadership that can undertake that effort.

Meanwhile, for the people of Iraq –who have known little but dark times for decades—the nightmare goes on. For them, the American failure may always be far worse than an American success would have been.

But from one important perspective, at least, their terrible sacrifice has not been in vain.
 

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James A. said:

0
it's a long vigil
We do have to reach deeply into imaginative thought to see anything poitive. I often wonder if literature that stretches the msytical notions is real...immortality...Arjuna mentioning the dead are not with us...but in a 'a greater, larger, dimension beyond our normal scope of being, a optimism can see beyond the horizon. The big picture. And those who insist to remain delusional, will be visited in another reality to testify! There have been long periods in history when peace reigned with just administrators...It took the massive protest of the citizenry to make corrupt-weak men shiver, sweat, and wail. Bush's neocon will be forced to hold Nature's mirrow to their face. It's a hideous howl of self-discovery Being put off. The vigil will end. The bushCo is in the final throws of desperation. the hunting season in the woods does not last forever. the countrymen are being awakened. bush is sweating. the properly angered mass of creatures are no group bush's neocon crew wish to tango with. what is happening is unfolding. reading these articles is like sipping aged wine. the Stock yards, markets, and people already know to place no Stock in this dear maladministration time. ever see the cartoon where the deer got the politicians all hog-tied up into the wood-trees? "Ain't that a good dead game tied up and tossed into a pickup truck." Says the former one's being opressed. How to find the tongue to say what's needing said. sorry, I saw a dead deer tossed into a truck. His tongue was hung out in protest? hope. tears will be in the eyes of bush's herd some dear day. it comes back. the dead will testify. god/love/care/compassion...there's another eye too...they will wail. we lament they are not yet in jail.
 
November 28, 2006 | url
Votes: +0

Bill from Saginaw said:

0
Big fat silver lining
This is indeed a wonderful Thanksgiving season thought: if the mission had truly been accomplished, we would have had a military coup ousting Saddam & sons & the old guard Baathists, no looting, ethnic cleansing or major insurgency, a token integration of Shiites and Kurds into the central Chalibi-led "democratic" replacement regime, and a unified march on towards Tehran and Damascus to seek out and destroy the remaining al Queda hangers on (all coordinated from our brand new embassy in the Green Zone and financed - of course - with Iraqi oil revenues).

Instead, our troops are hung out to dry with increasingly vulnerable lines of supply while enmeshed in a nasty civil war in which we're but the largest, best equipped militia among several in the area, but a foreign militia with no popular base of support nor any discernible military mission beyond day-to-day survival.

Still, I agree with your premise that genuine success for George Bush would have been far worse for the world and the American republic than the faux success now being trumpeted as just over the horizon, with a few Bakeresque mid-course adjustments. Now if the Democrats can just get the troops out before 2008, renounce torture and dreams of empire, and the country avoids another major domestic terrorist attack that can be blamed on the peace movement, then maybe just maybe we can glue Humpty Dumpty back together again.

 
November 28, 2006 | url
Votes: +0

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