Was there a speedometer on the surge where once we reached 4,000 war dead things would tip right back over into the Book of Judges?
The Snob doesn’t profess to be a great scholar of the Bible, but she is BFF’s with two aspiring priests, so for the uninitiated, Judges is the most messed up book in the Bible. A lot of bad things happen in the good book, but hands down, Judges wins as the most violent and disturbing chapter. Go ahead. Flip through it sometime.
But whenever I hear news out of Iraq about our 4,000 war dead and many, many more injured and of the lives destroyed and of the chaos that followed our invasion I think of the Book of Judges. It refers directly to the time when there was no autocratic rule in Judea and every just sort of did whatever they thought fit the job at hand. So it was a lot of battles, revenge killings, a gang rape or two. Everything and everyone was pretty lawless.
The comparison is pretty apropos.
Everyone is doing what they think fits in Iraq, be it forming militias, joining up with foreign interlopers, sidling up to the Americas, joining the insurgency, stock piling weapons, fleeing for their lives, murdering their neighbors based on old grudges, stealing, throwing people into prison without due process and haphazard violent suppression.
Many times I’ve heard George W., et al, say that Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein. I always wonder if he actually asked any Iraqis that. It’s true that Saddam was a murderous dictator, but it’s also true that when Saddam was alive the government was the only one killing people. Neighbors weren’t massacring neighbors. Everyone stayed in their sandboxes. There was some semblance of order. The power was on for most hours of the day and there was decent water to drink. If we’re talking quality of life issues, for most Baghdad residents and other Iraqis the fall of Saddam ushered in a serious downgrade in everything.
- No one was getting blown up for just showing up at their job at the university or going grocery shopping.
- No women were hiding in their houses, afraid to go out because of rapes, kidnapings and the occasional Al Qaeda honor killing
- No one was waiting in line for days for fuel
- No one was curled up sleeping with their guns, afraid of who might kick down their door and attack their family.
Going into our second day of violence in Baghdad and Basra it seems ridiculous to act like this mayhem is better than the former. Before Iraq was a police state ruled by a decadent, absolutist ruler. Now Iraq is a broken country of waring, tribal factions with us in the middle taking fire from all sides.
And how was invading Iraq and killing Saddam supposed to make things better? We would have been better off paying the guy a billion to go the fuck away. I mean, he liked money. I think he would have left the country for a billion and a house in Dubai. And that would be two tear drops in a bucket compared to the trillions of luche we’re bleeding out now.
There had to have been a better way to usher in a transition of power without destroying the entire hierarchical structure of the country. What we did was the equivalent of someone invading the US, disbanding the judicial, executive and legislative branches and dissolving the US military. All people with party affiliations to the Democrats or Republicans would not be allowed to work for the government pending review. And our new “occupiers” would help us pick our new leaders.
Pick any fantasy scenario based on your own version of horrible:
– The PETA and the Environmental Liberation Front invades and puts Ralph Nader and the Green Party in charge.
– Haiti invades and puts Al Sharpton and Wyclef Jean in charge.
– Mexico invades, puts Delores Huerta in charge.
– Israeli hardliners invade, puts Bill Kristol, Joe Liberman and Paul Wolfowitz in charge.
– Canada invades, puts Jim Carrey and Celine Dion in charge.
I know. Bedlam, it would be. Why did we ever expect anything less?