At what point…

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Today I’m reminded of this little scene from Life of Brian:

REG:
Yeah. All right, Stan. Don’t labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?!
XERXES:
The aqueduct?
REG:
What?
XERXES:
The aqueduct.
REG:
Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that’s true. Yeah.
COMMANDO #3:
And the sanitation.
LORETTA:
Oh, yeah, the sanitation, Reg. Remember what the city used to be like?
REG:
Yeah. All right. I’ll grant you the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done.
MATTHIAS:
And the roads.
REG:
Well, yeah. Obviously the roads. I mean, the roads go without saying, don’t they? But apart from the sanitation, the aqueduct, and the roads–
COMMANDO:
Irrigation.
XERXES:
Medicine.
COMMANDOS:
Huh? Heh? Huh…
COMMANDO #2:
Education.
COMMANDOS:
Ohh…
REG:
Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough.
COMMANDO #1:
And the wine.
COMMANDOS:
Oh, yes. Yeah…
FRANCIS:
Yeah. Yeah, that’s something we’d really miss, Reg, if the Romans left. Huh.
COMMANDO:
Public baths.
LORETTA:
And it’s safe to walk in the streets at night now, Reg.
FRANCIS:
Yeah, they certainly know how to keep order. Let’s face it. They’re the only ones who could in a place like this.
COMMANDOS:
Hehh, heh. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.
REG:
All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

I’m a little curious. At what point of Iraq progress does the “no exit plan” argument finally lose steam. At what point does the Vietnam comparisons, quagmire calls, and “end the war now” proclamations become tired. Of course it is exactly like Vietnam, except for the bit about overthrowing the primary enemy, dismantling the army, occupying all major cities, establishing an elected government, training a new army and police force, having an embassy and walking through the process of now passing a constitution approved by the People.

Wait, a second, methinks there’s a problem somewhere in the analogy. Let’s see. Ah, that’s it. All Asians, in fact do not look alike.

So, there’s no “exit plan”, except for the bit about the elections, training, empowering, tribunals, Constitution, etc. and so on. Yeah, there are still people dying. But, if that was a sign of failure, we’d have long left Los Angeles and Detroit by now.

Just goes to so, that saying something, even a lot, doesn’t make it true. May God bless the Iraqi people as they continue to rebuild.
Oh!: a better link than the “glass is half empty” one above: Iraqis back democracy four to one. Which means, oddly enough, that everything Bush has thought about the situation thus far has been right. Now if only the anti-“war” folks could admit this, quit their belly-aching so the folks blowing up bombs in Iraq would no longer have an audience.

That’s really worth another post right there, only I haven’t quite developed the thought enough. The anti-war movement has, curiously, been likely the indirect cause for at least a 1000 deaths in my estimation. By keeping up a political opposition they have diluted the effects of overwhelming force by giving the enemy a rationale for victory. In this way it is Vietnam like, as the enemy understands there is no chance for military victory but does see the chance for victory through political defeatism. Thus, because of the protests against death, more deaths are caused. If America was 4 to 1 in favor of democracy in Iraq, the terrorists would go elsewhere. This means that Cindy Sheehan, oddly enough, is likely more to blame for her son’s death than is President Bush.

Overwhelming force must be accompanied by overwhelming resolve. This doesn’t mean all political opposition is wrong, rather it’s more a matter of timing and methods. If Bush had 80% support, there was no anti-“war” movement, and there was not the slightest indication of political fallout from our military presence there, the bombs would stop and the military would come home.

I am of the increasing conviction there’s a lesson in this.

5 Responses to “At what point…”

  1. Pop Says:

    Excellent . . . should be an editorial in American newspapers across the continent. Guess their were doubters during the American Revolution . . . “What’s the point . . . ? People are dying and . . . Washington doesn’t even have a clue where this is going”

  2. punch drunk Says:

    I am an interesting phenomenon. Well not me specifically, but people like me. Well, I guess everyone is, everything is, if I can explain.

    When my mom met my dad he was a sales representative for a pants company making a delivery to May Co. She was a cashier there and engaged to be married to someone else. She saw him, took off her ring dumped it in the cash register and married my dad. Twenty one years and three kids later, they got a divorce.

    Before that some Spaniards led by an Italian guy found their way from Spain to a collection of Islands in the Caribbean. Having just spent a good portion of their history at war with Moors, the Spaniards had developed some incredible methods of death, things like impaling pits, war dogs, human abattoirs, the strappado, ear screws, fire gibbets, not to mention swords, lances, and armor. All of these were particularly effective against people who didn’t have horses or guns. Another method, one common to every campaign meant to subject and eradicate a unique people, was rape.

    Eventually the Spaniards would build the first (as we know them) churches, hospitals, orphanages, public schools, paved roads, harbors etc.. of the New “To Us” World. That’s good. Eventually the rape of native women by foreign men, as well as the willing unions of the same, would produce people like me- people who aren’t indigenous nor European.
    Here I am. Life is great, it’s a good thing all that bad stuff happened. No wait, that’s not what I mean. This certainly is the day the Lord has made. But this is despite the evil done, not because of it. A miracle of history is that God is greater than our evil. “His blood be on us and our children” indeed.

    … can I use tags in the comments?

  3. Patrick Says:

    This is an excellent analogy, not necessarily because I agree it is entirely fitting, but because I think it has to be part of the consideration.

    One of the key bits about ethics is comparing related issues and see if the lessons of one connect to what we are studying. The Spanish in the New World is an important part of history and changed the world. Good does come from bad. Amen and Amen.

    Yet, similar things are not always exact things. Both involves war, and technology, and killing, and people of lighter skin interacting with people of darker skin.

    The core distinction, as I see it, however, is that the Spaniards came to rape the land as much as anything else. They wanted their gold, so they took over the corrupt governments (because really, diversity is nice and all, but human sacrifices?). Then they proceeded to spend a couple hundred years taking things and enslaving the natives, and keeping Spanish born nobles in charge.

    As far as I can tell, this is about something else entirely. Only history will tell us the truth, whether Bush is noble or base, nefarious or wonderful. My suspicions are, however, we’re not creating a new race of Anglo-Arabs. The soldiers really do think they are doing a good work, and the fact is the news paints a picture of what is going on distinctively different than the reality (they mucked up Katrina coverage really bad and that deep in the heart of our own shores).

    But, this will be a constant argument, whether it was worth it. Personally, if I was living under tyranny I’d like to know my children were going to have a better time of it, even if this meant me getting caught in an explosion. I’m quite thrilled the French helped us out, even if this meant some Germans and English were killed off to make it happen (and no few Loyalist Americans).

    Then again, the problem at this point is that we’re so half hearted about it. The terrorists make a strong point of saying it is the political division they are trying to exploit by their bombs and murder. Saving lives is important to be sure. But I’m curious how many lives many on the Left would sacrifice in order to make sure Bush was wrong. Complete unanimity at this point on finishing the job in Iraq would immensely destroy morale and the strategy of those who are causing the terror over there. Troops would likely already be home if the terrorists had no expectation of political fallout and our own profound division.

    The anti-war group, curiously enough, is the very cause of the deaths they are mourning. Yes, Bush made the decision and he has to face God with the blood of friend and foe. But, over the last year or so, it’s not Bush but the potential for political division which has caused car bombs and beheadings. The blood is spread around to all manner of people, some of whom are now thriving on the death, feeding off it to spur their own pride and power.

    The examples of war being good and bad are manifold. War is indeed sometimes the answer as the South Koreans likely appreciate. But, like you note sometimes it’s bad but good comes out of it. I suppose this brings us back to questions of inner motives and cost/gain and ends/means and the like.

    Questions which provoke me to take more pictures of birds these days.

  4. punch drunk Says:

    well, i like the pictures of birds- more good despite bad?

  5. punch drunk Says:

    Well- I’ve been hemming and hawing about this ‘cos I don’t want to seem debatey- I was trying to decide if it’s just a tid bit of info or something more important. I think it’s the latter but it still comes with a bit of an “ugh” attached.

    The Spaniards did come with the very clearly articulated intention of spreading Christianity. The monarchy said so, the soldiers said so, and so did the church. And that’s what they did. You could argue that this wasn’t the way to do it- and I’d say you were probably right. In fact, eventually a lot of the priests and monks stated and recorded that it wasn’t right even though they were initially on board with the program.

    I disagree with ethics being a search for parallels in history but do agree that these are analogous events. The desire to spread Christianity was a part of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, so was securing access to Gold- just like the desire to spread freedom and democracy is a part of the war in Iraq as is securing access to oil. I don’t think in either case it is the right way to do it. But I suppose that’s moot. If what is true and morally good simply depend on results, or history (rather than God?) judging then it’s cool I guess.