Friday, June 04, 2004
U.S. IN IRAQ: "KRAZY KAT?"
Christopher Orlet thinks so.
Throughout the post-war insurgency America and her allies have come to resemble a kind of love-struck Krazy Kat, so enamored with winning the love and admiration of the Iraqi peasantry that we blissfully allow the object of our affection to heave bricks at us. “Kwazy,” as George Herrimann’s naive feline would say.
In the U.S. government's zeal not to offend the Iraqi, we allow insurgents to use the sanctuary of the Muslim mosque as an armory and sniper post, even though this abuse of the sacred mosque seems to trouble the Muslim faithful about as much as a few fleas. We are expected to give the terrorist and war prisoner the same understanding, tolerance and mercy we give a high school student guilty of a misdemeanor shoplifting charge. To many in the west, the rules that apply at home during peace-time should apply equally during a standoff in Fallujah.
But if it is the Iraqi’s affection we seek, Uncle Sam is in for a George Jones-size dose of heartache, for never in the history of warfare has an occupying army won the hearts and souls of a conquered people. I doubt the former citizens of the Confederacy went all goo-goo eyed for the occupying federal troops after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Ask yourself how good old Georgia boys feel about northerners some hundred and forty years later?
Clausewitz was right in one respect: "the best strategy is always to be very strong." A conquered people will nonetheless respect strength, and strength doesn't have to mean cruelty and torture. Just the will to do what is necessary to bring peace and stability. And the will to persevere, no matter how the tide of war turns. "In war more than anywhere else things do not turn out as we expect. Perseverance in the chosen course is the essential counterweight."
Between Clauswitz' raping and pillaging and America's current ineffectual dealing with insurgents there is a vast Saharan distance. The time has come for America and her allies to cover some of that ground.