today was remarkable. It was entitled, For Iraqis to Win, the U.S. Must Lose and included the following stunning sentence, “we went into Iraq with what, in retrospect, seems like a childish fantasy. We were going to topple Saddam, establish democracy and hand the country back to grateful Iraqis. We expected to be universally admired when it was all over.”
The trouble is that he says it as if this is just now occurring to him, and that this is a great insight that he is imparting to us. In fact, the points he makes are precisely what the anti-war crowd has, in the main, been saying all along.
He writes, “There was a failure to understand the effect our power would have on other people around the world. We were so sure we were using our might for noble purposes, we assumed that sooner or later, everybody else would see that as well.” And, later, “we didn’t understand the tragic irony that our power is also our weakness.”
Brooks may not have understood it, but WE – those of us against this brash adventure from the start – we did understand it perfectly well. This IS the internationalist, pro-UN argument. Internationalists know that the UN, as highly imperfect as it is, was founded for the very reason that no nation could rely on narrow perceptions of nobility as the basis for action – particularly action that would have any kind of legitimacy. That to act required a framework in which that action might take place.
Harry Truman, after he gave the order to drop the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – he certainly understood the irony of power. Great Britain, at the end of its rule of India, certainly knew the irony of power. Gandhi liberated hundreds of millions of people from Colonial rule using NOTHING but the irony of British power against it. These are the people that founded the UN. Sadly, though the US has to learn the lesson all over again. Unfortunately, that will only happen when the current crowd is turfed out of office. For they will refuse to read the signs, though they are lit up in neon for all the world to see.