Last week, Bush finally spelled out the neo-con re-write of the Vietnam war to explain why our troops must stay there forever. Almost two years ago, I wrote the following explanation about why the Bush administration can never pull troops out of Iraq. See if I wasn't right in my diagnosis.Saturday, November 19, 2005
The Importance of Being Earnest -- or Why the Cabal Won't "Cut and Run"
The Bush administration will never pull U.S. troops out of Iraq. To do so would be to violate a sacred principle of the ideologues who run George W. Bush and the U.S.: America must never again retreat.
"Again" is the operative word here. Again, because this principle rests upon the foundational belief of the neo-cons that the US must never show weakness again as it supposedly did in Vietnam. According their view Vietnam wasn't an unwinnable conflict against an enemy that could not be defeated in the conventional US manner.
Nope. That view wouldn't serve their imperial agenda, or stimulate their appetite for conquesst. No. According to the neo-con rewrite, the U.S. was on the cusp of victory when American leadership knuckled under to student protestors (dupes of Communism), lily-livered peaceniks, dope-smoking journalists in the liberal media, limousine liberals in Congress, etc., etc.
Had the US only persisted long enough and strenuously enough, if only the military hadn't been hamstrung by the politicians who had foolishly listened to the anti-war elite, then -- and here's where I have trouble with the neo-con rewrite -- everything would have turned out the way we wanted it to turn out. Sound familiar?
I've never been very sure what that would have looked like, the American victory in Vietnam. And I'm wondering if it's a coincidence that we don't really know what the American victory in Iraq is supposed to looks like either. Here's some possible versions: A series of rigged elections the outcomes of which are consistent with US goals of freedom and democracy (and US business interests) are organized and executed. A puppet government is installed that opens the door to American business interests. Hydroelectric plants are built on the Mekong by US construction companies with loans from Citibank, suburban homes are erected in the outskirts of Saigon/Baghdad with loans from Fannie Mae. Oil fields are tended by Halliburton, roads are built across the desert by US companies paid for with Iraqi oil/and/or loans from Chase. Or maybe it just looks like Afghanistan looks nowadays what with its new birth of freedom, the reflowering of poppies and the Taliban. But I digress.
More recently, the neo-cons point to Reagan's withdrawal of the US Marines from Lebanon after their base was destroyed by a suicide bomber as a colossal misstep in recent foreign/Mid East policy. Again, according to the neo-con interpretation, by pulling up stakes, by doing the "cut and run" America lost credibility, sullied its image among consumers. Its enemies and friends saw the US as weak, a "helpless giant" -- a shameful and humiliating reiteration of Vietnam. Grenada was qickly invaded to wipe the stain from America's military escutcheon a couple weeks after, of course, but the neo-cons knew that this bit of public relations would have be redone on a much larger scale in order to build a stronger, more fearsome brand image. This new brand image would have to be scary enough so that even Arab extremists would think twice before going up against the rebranded "Bad 'Ol USA."
So the war in Iraq is an object lesson, (as well as the usual grab for the invadee's political and economic short hairs). It's a lesson to American's friends and enemies that we will not retreat again, that we are not weak as we were in the past, that, if need be we can be as resolute as any totalitarian state or terrorist gang. That in the Bad Ol' USA we will engage in torture, if need be, just as any totalitarian state or terrorist gang does. That we will not be hamstrung by an anti-war elite or student protestors or the liberal media because in totalitarian states those impediments to policy have been suppressed. There will be no further discussion, just like in any other -- but you get the picture.That's why all the shouting and hysteria this week from Bush and Cheney, the smear tactics used on Jack Murtha, the absolute refusal to put any end date on the U.S. occupation. Perception police, they cannot brook dissent.
To allow dissent would be to give credence to other points of view, to the possible desecration of the brand, maybe even to the opening the coffin of the "helpless giant" they have spent so much time, money and blood nailing shut.The monocultural machine that they have built through intimidation, blood and terror, must be maintained at all costs.