Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

They hate us simply because we're there
Catching up on my Ted Rall. His cartoons are sometimes brilliant, sometimes incomprehensible, always ugly. But he writes extremely well, and always to the point.

With my Venezuela trip, I fell behind on my Rall reading. Catching up, I find his April 7 column, "Cut and Run Now," to be spot on, as they say across the pond.

There are three categories of civilians in an occupied country: patriots, collaborators and opportunists. In the calculus of hearts and minds, anything short of 100 percent popularity qualifies as total failure. It's an impossible standard, which is why no nation has ever successfully invaded and occupied another in the 20th century. Even if a majority like living under foreign control, a dubious assumption at best, an occupation is nonetheless doomed. As long as one percent of the population spends its evenings blowing up enemy convoys, fence sitters will be scared to collaborate. In Iraq, that one percent--or five, or whatever--shows no sign of letting up.

Read and understand: They hate us simply because we're there. Leave, and the hatred goes away. If you doubt that, visit Hanoi as a tourist.
Were there some possible future, even 20 or 30 years from now, wherein enough stability had been achieved to allow us to hand off power to a democratic government that truly represented the interests of all Iraqis, I'd argue that we should tough it out no matter the cost. The chance of that, however, is zero.

"The message to Iraqi citizens," says Bush, "is that they don't have to fear that Americans will cut and run." The Iraqis don't fear our departure; they crave it. Moreover, they count on it.

"We can't leave," Newsweek quotes an officer with a major security firm in Iraq (hmm). "If it takes a million f---ing American lives, we have to stay."

The hell we do. Sooner or later, one way or another, we're leaving--as defeated and bankrupt and demoralized as we were when we fled Saigon. The only question now is: how many more people are we going to kill before we cut and run?