L. Neil Smith's
Number 232, August 3, 2003


But ... But ... We're the Good Guys!
by Joel Simon

Special to TLE

"The rise of a free and peaceful Iraq is critical to the stability of the Middle East. The stability of the Middle East is critical to the security of the United States." So said President Bush on the morning of July 30.

So! Now I know why American soldiers are in Iraq. I appreciate the information, too, because I'd been wondering about that.

And, oh yeah, he said we're still looking for some evidence that there were ever 'weapons of mass destruction', but it turns out that wasn't very important after all. And two nasty ugly guys are dead, and that's cool, too.

So the purpose of the war on Iraq was really to liberate the Iraqi people, whether they asked to be liberated or not. If this isn't a full-employment policy for the military and the forces of American hegemony, I can't imagine what else would be needed.

Let's see: Since the rise of free and peaceful people everywhere is critical to the stability of the world, and the stability of the world is critical to the security of the United States, that means it is our responsibility to:

  • Liberate the Chinese from the tyranny of communism, since China is the last major communist state left, and that just isn't right.

  • Liberate the North Koreans from the tyranny of their loony and murderous maximum leader, no matter how many South Koreans are butchered in the process.

  • Liberate the Africans from whatever their problem is, and that'll really be a victory.

  • Liberate the French from ... well, from the fact that it's been a long time since they surrendered to someone.

  • Liberate the English from millennia of really, really bad weather.

The list of potential good deeds is quite endless. The list of crises 'we' are obligated to resolve can go on until the sun goes cold. It just doesn't get any better than this.

Standard disclaimer: I will shed not a single tear when Saddam Hussein's body finally gets dragged behind a pickup truck. I don't hate America, and I'm not on the side of terrorism. I wish no harm to American troops, who go where they are ordered to go and bear no moral culpability for their government's policies. And yes, of course Iraq did have chemical and biological weapons. We know they did, because they used them on Iran and because the American government has the receipts for some of them. It would be very strange indeed if all that deadly stuff just evaporated one day, while no one was watching. Okay? So let's just pretend we already had that argument.

But I've got to ask: What the hell business is it of ours? Are 'we'—and by we, I mean the American government, because it sure doesn't talk for me—really going to liberate everybody from whatever we say is bugging them? Whether they want us to or not? Are 'we' going to confiscate every NBC weapon in the world that doesn't have a U.S. logo on it?

I distinctly remember Colin Powell, maybe five months ago, standing in front of the UN security council and presenting embarrassingly lame 'evidence' that that bad ol' Saddam was within minutes—45 minutes, as I recall—of planting nerve gas canisters under the seats of my daughter's school bus. I didn't believe it then. It has been proven untrue now. But instead of rising up and saying, "Hey! You sumbitches lied about the whole thing! I want my son/daughter/husband/wife home now', the American people just placidly chew their collective cud and turn the channel.

In the meantime, of course, there's a war on! We're all in danger! The sky is falling, and only the alphabet agency du jour can save us from it, and it's best to sacrifice a little bit of 'convenience' (the new word for what used to be called freedom and liberty) for a whole bunch of security.


And oh, by the way. How is it that America is 'liberating' the Iraqi people, when job one seems to be to disarm them all? The vile, horrible, mass-grave-filling Ba'ath tyranny never felt the need to do that. Curious.

We are now averaging roughly one American soldier dead and half a dozen wounded every day, because of attacks on them by the happy, grateful Iraqi people. We're expected to believe that these attacks are only being carried out by reactionaries who miss Hussein and want him back in power. Though I have no positive information either way, I suspect such people are actually thin on the ground in Iraq.

Can I make a somewhat heretical suggestion? Please imagine you are a heavily-armed native of the United States, and somebody sends a whole bunch of troops into your country because they've decided that this 'rogue nation' needs a 'regime change.' Would you not at least be tempted to introduce some of them to Mssr. Springfield, Kalashnikov or Colt? Even if you agreed with them?

"Thank you, America! You have helped us to topple the Hussein family and the Ba'athist police state, and we are forever grateful! Please have your soldiers relax for a week or two in our resorts while you arrange for their immediate withdrawal. Here's some oil to cover your expenses, and be sure to look us up next time you need an ally on your road map to middle east peace or whatever you're calling it now. Thank you again, and goodbye. We'd love to have you stay and chat, but we're going to be rather busy working out our future polity.

"What's that? You say you're planning to stay indefinitely? You're going to run our government yourself? You're building military bases on our land? Could you show us the agreement for those bases that you signed with the previous government? No? You're just planning to take the land and move in? Excuse me, I have to go now. I have to take delivery of a load of ... er, tomatoes. Yeah. We're going to make lots of tomato sauce.'

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