The last two weeks have seen much jeering and mocking of the anti-war movement by many, including some current Lawrence students. Their contemptuous glee resounds through the many articles published in our weekly newspaper. Their exuberance was almost palpable as the Iraqi armed resistance melted away with the disappearance of Saddam and his henchmen. However, the sight of the overwhelming crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis shouting anti-Saddam and anti-American slogans should give them something to think about.
The war may have been won, but winning the peace will be the real challenge.
The White House “clique” that surrounds Bush and does his thinking for him were so convinced that the Iraqis would greet their “liberators” with open arms and welcoming flowers that they did not spend too much time thinking about what will come after the tyrant has been removed. They assumed that the Iraqis would idolize their benefactors, their “sugar daddies,” and would automatically be pro-American and look upon Rtd. General Jay Garner as their messiah. They assumed that a “democratic world” would be the solution to all the problems of the world. Their vision of a democratic world tended to overlook the fact that other people might not think the same way they do, or that democracy might not function the same everywhere as it does in the U.S. Democracy may not be the best solution to all the world’s problems, lest be a solution at all.
From day one, the Iraqis have refused to followed the script; instead of honoring and saluting the “coalition” forces, they have made it clear that overjoyed as they are in getting rid of the brutal dictator, they would like the Americans and the Brits to leave as quickly as they came. The American invaders also have so far been unsuccessful in enchanting the Iraqis with their heroism; not only have they not restored all the essential utilities like water and electricity which their “smart” bombs took out, but they have been unnecessarily trigger happy. On Monday, April 28, U.S. troops shot dead 13 Iraqis, including children, and wounded 45. According to U.S. CentCom, this was an act of self defense. Self defense against children? Does this not question the merit of the Americans’ technologically advanced weapons and superior training?
There is also increasing resentment of the American presence, and just as an American presence in Saudi Arabia created bin Laden, a long-term American military presence might be the breeding ground for many bin Laden spawns.
As the U.S. tries to create many trenches around the world to defend itself, it should realize that the holes it digs get deeper each time. The day might not be far away when it digs itself too deep and might not be able to come out.