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?