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    I’m an opinionated Grumpy Old Man. I enjoy the intellectual give and take that goes along with that, but have very little patience for stupid people (Note: there is a big difference between “stupid” and “educated”. Some of the stupidest people I’ve ever met have a PhD…). Beside arguing, I like to build things in almost any media. Right now I’m mostly building in wood, Lego, and a bunch of different electronic media. I teach in a number of different venues - from preschool all the way through graduate school. Subjects range from talmud to neuroscience to engineering.

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The “Other War” and US occuaption of Iraq

Well folks, as things continue to swirl down the drain in the mideast, we have the return of yet another bugaboo. Currently referred to as “The Other War”, afghanistan is once again flaring up.
The supposed “victory” in afghanistan is turning out to be a lot like Bush’s “Victory” in Iraq (Remember how the war “ended” years ago?). It tunrs out that the “Victory” in Afghanistan really meant that US casualties were kept out of the newspapers. As Bush effectively destroyed US support in one Mid East country after another, resistance to the US occupation of afghanistan increased. Bush reacted the way you would expect him to – with extreme force, and no regard for civilian deaths. What a great way to encourage good relations with the locals. “I know we killed half your family, but hey, we were really aiming for that nasty Taliban guy (you know, the one that built your school, hospital, and well). OK, so he wasn’t really anywhere near your village, but our intelligence said he was.” Yeah, right. Kind of like the intelligence about the weapons of mass destruction.

In any case, as things are heating up in Afghanistan, it is slowly re-appearing in the news. As it turns out, Arab states actually want to be sovereign nations – without the US forcing puppet governments on them.

Of course, Bush has shifted the Iraq policy from one of war to one of occupation. His newest way of denying that we are getting our butts whupped is to change his policy (yet again) to one of long term occupation. For some reason, he seems to think that if we wait (and fight and die and piss off even more Arab countries) long enough, the problems that he couldn’t solve by killing off a few hundred thousand civilians will just go away. I guess there is some logic to his approach. If we occupy the entire mideast, and continue to kill off civilians at the current rate, it should only take 40 or 50 years before we have killed off all of the arabs. ‘Course, by then the oil will be gone, so we won’t really care any more.

But seriously, Bush seems to refuse to look at history. In the entire History of humankind, local resistance to foreign oppression has almost always won. Think about:

  • The US revolution where a bunch of farmers defeated one of the most advanced military engines in the world.
  • Viet Nam where a small professional army (NVA) supported by a disenfranchised local population defeated the US military
  • Somalia where a bunch of lightly armed locals defeated the vastly US military despite the US’s vastly superior armaments including complete control of the air, extensive armour, and artillery.
  • Afghanistan where the USSR was soundly defeated, France was routed, and the US is currently getting whupped.
  • Iraq where not a single strategic, military, or political goal of the campaign has been met.

Of course, there are cases where occupiers have defeated locals – the American Indians were efficiently wiped out by the US, Britain managed to keep portions of India under its thumb for a while, and France, the Dutch, and the British all managed to keep portions of Africa under control during the colonial/imperialistic age. However, in all of these cases, the approach taken was complete domination and subjugation of the local populations, and almost all of these cases, the end result was failure – the locals rose up against the oppressors and kicked them out. (OK, the american indians didn’t but that is at least in part because they were for all practical purposes simply exterminated.)

Bush has simply decided that “things are different now”. He hasn’t explained how things are different, but he seems to believe that by ignoring history, he can create a fiction that meets his needs. Well, I guess he did manage to do that by creating the fictional WMD, but there is a difference between creating a fiction and actually changing people and culture. So what is Bush really trying to do? I don’t think anyone really knows. We know he wants to create some sort of legacy, and what he has done so far can only be called a fiasco – not exactly what he wants to be remembered for. Maybe he thinks that he can make the international scene so bad that the new administration will have to take extreme action to fix his mistakes – Make Bush look good by leaving such a huge mess that cleaning it up will require whoever is holding the mop to look even worse. Nobody knows – but what we do know is the US soldiers, Iraqi, Afghani, Somali, and probably Iranian civilians will continue to die in record numbers as Bush refuses to admit his screw-ups.


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