Get Over It, Will Ya?
This was a placard held by a member of the pro-conflict group on Easter Sunday: "You lost, we won; You were wrong, we were right; Get over it, will ya?" In its elegant way this sign re-stated the ancient maxim "Might makes right" It's a curious sort of theology, a variant of which may be seen in the Book of Job, which assumes that the winner is always on the right side. In other words, winning validates your cause. Bullies the world over will be grateful for this confirmation.
It's also a variant of another glorious maxim, "The ends justifies the means." For the sake of argument, let's accept that maxim. What were the stated goals of this campaign?
- Disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction
- Prevent potential attacks on the U.S. or U.S. allies (this latter category is increasingly shrinking)
- Regime change
Of these three, unqualified success may only be claimed for the last – that is, regime change. From the Iraqi POV, this may very much be a case of "meet the new boss." At the moment, it's difficult to predict what Iraq will look like in six months, but my suspicion is that the institution of a truly democratic government in Iraq will require a level of diplomacy not yet exhibited by the current American administration.
What have the costs been? A number of deaths, primarily Iraqi, an untold number of whom civilian. If news reports are to be believed, several days of de facto anarchy and looting. The loss of the historical artifacts from several museums is an incalcuable (and preventable) loss.
What is the cost of freedom? The Declaration of Indepence states that it is sometimes necessary to take up arms to defend freedom – though there is nothing in that revered document which claims responsibility for the freedom of a foreign nation's citizens. From my comfortable chair, the lives lost are not worth the uncertain future of Iraq. The U.S. now looks like a bully – which some documents suggest was a desired outcome – but this loss of social standing carries a high cost. The loss of the world's artifacts (many of which reflect the birth of Western Culture) is an almost obscenely high cost. And all of this for regime change?
Who made our Fearless Leader, Gen. Powell, Carl Rove, et al, the arbiters of which governments are so "evil" as to deserve regime change? This is not, as has been suggested, a right which devolves to the U.S. simply because we are (theoretically) the last remaining super power. And, as many a wag has pointed out, the U.S. has sinned in many of the same areas as the former government of Iraq.
Oh, let us pray for the day that Democracy comes to the U.S.A.!