Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lessons Not Learned

The following letter appeared in the Thursday, March 11, 2010 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It is in response to an editorial last week which can be read here.

Lessons Not Learned

Friday’s editorial “Election and end game” (March 5) perfectly mimicked the navel-gazing that passes for modern political discourse by declaring, “Nearly seven years after the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, Iraq still won’t have peaceful, free and fair elections. That’s not our fault, but theirs – and perhaps history’s.”

Nearly seven years ago our government chose to invade a country with no apparent knowledge of their religion, customs, or complex ethnic history and then the editors seemingly blame the Iraqis themselves for our ruling class’s ignorance.

Historian Thomas Fleming of Chronicles magazine compares this sort of uncritical thinking to a practical joker who tells his victim that he just won the lottery. Who is at fault if the victim suffers a heart attack or carelessly spends money he ultimately doesn’t have? Is it the victim who wasted money he thought he had or is it the joker who needlessly intervened in the victim’s life?

Do we blame the Iraqis for predictably behaving according to their history or do we blame the U.S. government for unleashing that behavior by intervening in a place where it was neither necessary nor wise?

And will this same lackadaisical thinking apply again to the more heavily populated and more ethnically diverse Iran?

Carl Wicklander
Nashville, IL


Don Emmerich said...

Well said, Carl. Way to get your voice out there.

Oso said...

What I find frustrating is the wide acceptance of the claim the US wants Iraq to be a democracy.

In a democracy people elect those who would work for a nations best interests, not the best interests of US multinationals.

A real election cannot occur under military occupation anyway.

I suppose claims of altruism serve to distract from the obvious genocide.

TAO said...

I would have liked if Obama had just pulled us out of Iraq the day he took office, but realistically, no black liberal democrat could ever do that...unless they want to commit political suicide.

That war has and will cost us more than healthcare reform and the stimulus spending ever could.

And what did we get in return?


Iraq will never be a democracy, it will only be as stable as Iran lets it be....and it produces sweet crude oil and we cannot refine we cannot even get oil from the deal.

I spent five years in Saudi Arabia in my younger days and I visited Kuwait and Iraq numerous times...I find it SHOCKING that I understand Iraq better than our whole government did....or does.

We have now killed more Iraqi's than Saddam did and what have they got to show for it?

What have we got to show for it?

Nothing....but a huge deficit.

Oso said...

touching on what Tao said, while I've spent no time in the middle east I knew "joe and josephine Iraqi" would not greet us with flowers and candy as many neocons claimed would happen.

It was just common sense. You could take the poorest person in Appalachia/Compton/Cheyenne River reservation who felt almost a visceral anger towards the US government-should Chinese or Soviet troops invade all three would side with our military, or a resistance efforts. Nobody likes being invaded by a foreign power.

Carl Wicklander said...

Thanks, Don. You're doing a good job of that yourself.

Carl Wicklander said...


The talk of democracy is a farce, as you've pointed out, and an attempt to save face in an utter disaster. To say that we care about the Iraqis but seemingly turn a blind eye to our nation's poorest is dishonesty at best and hypocrisy at worst.

Not that I am about to endorse the welfare state! Conservatives are right to say that our government can't just take care of the downtrodden of American society but it makes no sense whatsoever to argue that our military should take care of the rest of the world. It's welfare on a grander, more catastrophic scale.

Carl Wicklander said...


I agree. What did we get? If only it was only a deficit. It wasn't even a deficit with something good to show for it. It was a deficit and further hatred of us from the Muslim world. A total disaster.

What I regret is that I wasn't smart enough at the time to oppose the Iraq war from the start. I was one of the herd until around 2004 or 2005. And what amazes me is that so much of the GOP is still trying to justify the whole thing when all the facts speak to an unmitigated disaster and they want to bomb Iran too!


I remember almost getting ran out of town when I said, "Iraq?" Now, I would have had little problem with going into pakistan and iran after cleaning up Afghanistan...if it is terrorism that is the issue then that would have made sense...

But Iraq?

That was just a money pit where we could spend alot of money and make the military industrial complex rich with less loss of life overall...

Sadly, it did not go totally according to plan...

TRUTH 101 said...

Iraq was based more on hope and wishful thinking by Bush and the military leaders that went along with him.

And still, we're there hoping something good will happen.