Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Friday, June 13, 2014

Magical thinking on Iraq

Iraq is a dangerous place because it was torn apart by war and not really rebuilt. It was invaded by the US and a "coalition of the willing". Some of the people who were for the war in Iraq subscribed to the "flypaper theory". If we were fighting the "bad guys" in Iraq, we weren't dealing with them here. The problem is--why was it any better for Iraq to have the bad guys, and the war?  Answer--of course it wasn't.

In the run-up to the war on Iraq, we were advised we would be greeted as liberators. As Pandora liberated all the world's ills and slammed the box lid shut on hope?  The die was cast when the decision was made to go into Iraq,  and I don't really think Ari Fleischer made an error when he referred to going into Iraq in 2002--once the Bush Administration had the authority to use force in Iraq, it was going to happen. There were many good arguments why we should not have gone. But they were shrugged off; the people in favor of the war didn't want to hear about sectarian divisions or ethnic strife or internecine enmity that went back longer than our country's history. The biggest argument against it--that the claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda, just weren't true, were probably known, and also dismissed.

So there was an invasion, and we stayed many years--and for what? It didn't do anything for us, and it definitely didn't do anything for Iraq. Like the old nursery rhyme points out, all the king's horses and all the king's men can't unbreak an egg. Staying longer wouldn't have fixed the broader problem with Iraq--a country can't really be said to be stable if it needs to be backstopped by some other country to keep from going all to hell. Only Iraqis can do that for themselves, and if they don't see themselves as one Iraq, but as factions, we are out of luck. You can't bomb enmity out of people, or amity into them.

I am not sure why this is so hard to learn.


Anonymous said...

Hi Vixen,
magical thinking! If only they did use magical thinking. Magical thinking would call for consideration in 4 different dimensions.

For example, if you have a physical house, magical thinking first takes into consideration the impulse to have an abode of some sort. Followed by a consideration of every conceivable abode -- igloos, tepees, palaces, etc., followed by a specific blueprint for the house, followed by the physical house.

In fact, all of these levels are considered to be an actual part of the house. If the house is torn down all the other considerations of the house are still seen to exist, at least until the house disappears from all memories of the house. That's the beginning of magical thinking before we even get around to the dynamics connected with the different sephiroth.

I think you mean fantasy thinking. However, condescension does not necessarily define the truth of a situation. Naturally if one is employed by the administration, one necessarily and justifiably should advance this position as if it were fait accompli.

But the truth is that we really don't know with absolute certainty which is the best way to go. Maybe our present course is the better way, but only history will tell. Regrettably, history is written by the winners, so even this can be dubious.

We still have bases in Germany, Japan, and Korea. If it had been me, I would have established a base in Iraq for at least a hundred years. We won, and so that would give us some say-so. I would have established mandatory education for girls as well as boys (I'm sure you realize that in addition to abusing girls, a lot of these cultures do not believe in educating them), and after a hundred years I would think about whether the bases could remain there or slowly begin to be withdrawn. We did finally close bases in the Philippines, and we have reduced the number of bases in Germany. We have dialed back the number of personnel in Japan, but now with the rise of an aggressive, militant, Red China, this was probably premature.

But this is all just me. And I have no say-so, so it scarcely matters.


By the way, what ever happened to a "fox raised by wolves?" And what did that mean anyway?

Incidentally, if you ever get around to a post about Slenderman, I would have some perspective about that that you really cannot get unless you have seriously trained in esoteric schools.

--Formerly Amherst

Vixen Strangely said...

I guess I meant "magical thinking" in the most cursory way--as if applying wishful thinking actually had the ability to make things better (actually, I have an approach regarding Slenderman along the lines of "thinking making things so"--but I really have to work at condensing my thoughts for a blog post--thanks for mentioning him, though, because I did want to tackle that one!) I feel like saying "if we only stayed longer" is putting an awful emphasis on our ability to actually hold Humpty Dumpty together. Maybe we could keep things on "simmer" for a hundred years if we stayed a hundred years--I think the troubles with Iraq and the region as a whole run too deep.

"A fox raised by wolves" was a play on my nom be blog and general internet persona. By "fox", I was borrowing from the idea of the difference between a fox and a hedgehog--that a fox knows many small things, and a hedgehog knows one big thing. I turn over a lot of details in my mind, but I'm not such a fan of "big ideas". What if a hedgehog knows one big thing--and it's wrong? And "raised by wolves"--my internet persona can be a little sarcastic and potty-mouthed. I'm not sure how "raised by wolves" became a byword for uncouth, exactly, though. Wolves, as pack animals, have a very orderly way of doing things...

I think I will get to work on that Slenderman post, though--I'm interested in your feedback, because I definitely see something uncanny about the way an internet meme seems to be taking on a physical reality.