Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Stay the course in Klendathu
Yesterday I learned via Mad Kane that Bush has been evacuated to safety. Then while I was driving down to DC yesterday afternoon, I caught Bush’s speech in San Diego on C-Span radio—every second of it. So now it appears that our mission in Iraq is just like our mission in World War II—and our “reconstruction” of Iraq is just like our reconstruction of Imperial Japan. They were evil, we defeated ‘em, we rebuilt their country, and now they’re one of our closest allies. Well, I’m no military theorist, but this sounds like a pretty solid analogy to me, except for the “rebuilding” part and the “ally” part. And I’m no historian, but I don’t remember any entrenched Japanese insurgency that targeted the domestic security forces-in-training who were working with or for Americans, and I haven’t been able to Google any Japanese clerics who demanded that the constitution for postwar Japan be written in accordance with Islamic law. I’m still trying to figure out who the Japanese equivalent of the Kurds might be, too. Any help?
Actually, I don’t think the Japan thing is going to work. For one thing, I’m not sure it’s a good idea for Bush to draw parallels with past American military operations in east Asia and the Pacific. You never know—people might get confused, and start thinking about Vietnam or the Philippines instead of Japan. (Especially when the President is speaking in San Diego, where, you’ll remember, he seemed to suggest that major combat operations were over two and a half years ago, though I suppose it all depends on what the meaning of “over” is.) For another thing, the premise of the analogy is reality-based (insofar as it appeals to actual historical events), and reality-based politics has never been Bush’s strong suit.
So I think the Bush Administration is making the wrong kind of appeal altogether. Instead, as Rox Populi and I agreed last night, Bush should be telling his supporters that the situation in Iraq is just like Starship Troopers: the enemy threatens our very way of life. We’re fighting the aliens over there so that we don’t have to fight them here. Containment didn’t work, and we can’t go back to the pre-Buenos Aires mindset. It’s a hard fight against a determined enemy but we will prevail. Sign up now and you may get to serve alongside Denise Richards. And don’t forget—we’ve already caught the brain!
Not only would this strategy take the heat off the WW2 analogy—it would also help prepare Americans for what will surely be the Bush/Cheney alternative to the draft. Service guarantees citizenship!
Would you like to know more?