Well, That Was Quick

From Associated Press, a building damaged in fighting between Sadrists and Iraqi police and below Iraqi police at a checkpoint in Basra.

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?

6 thoughts on “Well, That Was Quick

  1. Now why u do that to me woman, u know i trying not to write about Afg or UIraq, damn u done went and done it. Would have loved to see that Laurel and Hardy act with them police though..he my new book out get it and let me know what u think Plssssssssssss

  2. I don’t have any friends studying for the priesthood or pasterhood. But I do have a couple of friends in the reserves and “former” special forces. One got called up out of his law enfrocement job and spent two years – somewhere. He says Iraq but that the State Department will never confirm that he was anywhere near there. According to him he went over with a troop of 150 other gentlemen with his same type of speciality training. 40 returned. I beleive he was where he said he was because of the scars, the limp and the haunted look in his eye. He came back partially disabled and can no longer work in law enforcement so he’s having to make do with a fledgling PI business.He told me, last time I saw him, that the average american citizen would be appalled if they knew the extent to which their own government is lying to them. He says the number of off the books fighters is nearly equal to the accurately reported active military. That means there are twice the number of “troops” over there as are being reported. With that I am assuming that there are probably twice the number of deaths and injury. So who really knows when we hit 4000 american deaths. It looks as if we have privatized this war in addition to the rebuilding of Iraq. When will this madness end?

  3. I appreciated your comments about Judges. It is soooo disturbing and truly a challenge to seminarians and pastors everywhere (except those with really disturbing and bad theology about a blood-thirsty god).Just wanted to share that my preaching professor is having each of us do our first sermon for class on an assigned chapter from Judges. The results have been, well … interesting and the feedback has sometimes been, well … scathing.I preach from Judges next week.Pray for me.BFF.

  4. M-Tizzle: Best of luck to you. While Judges is a disturbing book, I think it has relevance because it reflects on the violence in the world, challenging notions of what God’s role is in our lives. If there is meaning in these horrors and what we can learn from them. It also points out that there is nothing new in the violence we see today. There was never a time when violence wasn’t a part of the human condition. We need to learn and adapt from it.

  5. My my my. Where do I start?[quote]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.[/quote]Black Snob.What if a White supremacist made note of the difference in the American South between 1856 and 1866?* Everything was in ORDER* Blacks knew their place* Yes they were enslaved but at least there was near 100% employment for Blacks – its never been as high ever since.It sounds like you have a greater valuation of the 4000 American lives – the bulk of whom volunteered to join the armed forces than you do the countless number of Iraqi people who have died.I also notice that absent in your claim and in those of many who share your views is any particular request for the IRAQI “equal human beings” to STOP KILLING EACH OTHER.Why is it that people of certain proclivities seem to direct their demands for policy change at the UNITED STATES rather than at the Iraqi people. They are EQUAL HUMAN BEINGS, right? They listen to reason just as American do, right?I have a sense that there is a bit of assumed inferiority placed upon these people by certain people.Why is this?

  6. constructive criticism: That statement wasn’t about moral right or wrong. It’s about our hypocrisy. We were friendly with Iraq in the 1980s when he was abusing his people. We’re friends with all sorts of countries, (China, Columbia) who have been involved in all sorts of chicanery.What was different about Saddams abusive that made them less egregious as North Korea and China? Are we going to go form sovereign nation to sovereign nation fighting everyone’s battles?And would it have made sense for Great Britain to invade the United States after the Civil War, dismantle the entire government and hand it all over to a previously disenfranchised minority?I mean, it would have been great for someone to get involved on our behalf. But the rest of the world respected the United States borders.When it’s not you’re fight you have to decide what you’re going to get involved in and what you’re not. Iraq had its problems, but considering we don’t defend every downtrodden group I did not see what was so special about the Iraqis where they were more precious than the Tibetians, the South Africans, Rawandans, Somalians, Colombians, Cubans, Russians, Aborigonies, ethnic Albanians, the people of Cyprus. The list goes on and on.

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