Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jane Smiley On Iraq

I don’t like the “I told you so” attitude of some of this article, but I like pretty much everything else. From Why I Was Right About Iraq by Jane Smiley:

In other words, I was against the Iraq War because I distrusted the motives of its architects, because the story they cooked up was full of holes, and because when they were telling that story, their body language revealed their bad faith. I was also against the Iraq War because I could imagine myself as an Iraqi. Let's say China decided that regime change in Sacramento was necessary, so they landed an army at San Francisco and Los Angeles and carpet bombed us into throwing Arnie out. Would I embrace them? Would any American embrace them? The shock of invasion would certainly arouse anger and resistance. So, I saw, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld had no realistic understanding of human nature to add to their other personal failures.

Being against the Iraq War wasn't hard -- it was easy. The Iraq War made no sense, even as a wish. All wars cause death and destruction. To wish for a war on one's own soil is suicidal but sometimes necessary. To wish for a war on someone else's soil is to wish death and destruction on others, that is, it is like being an accessory to a murder. How hard is it not to want to be an accessory to a murder?
But, say the converted liberal hawks, now what?

Here's what. First, we recognize that the Bush administration committed a crime in the name of the American people. Then we do what it takes, both psychologically and financially, to repair the crime. The very first thing that this means is that every American who has in some way profited from this crime must relinquish the fruits of the crime. That means the oil companies. That means the contractors. That means the US government. We cannot keep anything that the Iraqis owned before we took it away from them. We cannot have their land. We cannot have their oil or its profits. We cannot have any sort of power over them. Here is what is preventing the US from leaving Iraq -- the US still wants something from Iraq and the Iraqis that we have no right to. It is the desire to salvage some part of what the Bush administration thought would be easy to claim that is keeping us there, and it is the unspoken complicity of the Democrats and the "prowar liberals" in this that makes it so hard for them to accept the failure of the enterprise.

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