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31057Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] food for thought about Iraq

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  • Frank Smith
    Apr 2, 2007
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      --- Tarjei Straume <straume@...> wrote:

      > There's an awful lot of excellent stuff in The
      > New Yorker -- http://www.newyorker.com/ I began
      > subscribing to the online version because Seymour
      > Hersh was writing in it. But my oh my, there are
      > so many other excellent journalists there too, like
      > George Packer.

      This was written by LeCarre in Feb. or March 2003.
      http://southerncrossreview.org/24/lecarre.htm - I
      forget where originally, probably some Brit media.

      > As some of you may know, George Packer has
      > written an interesting book on the subject
      > entitled "The Assassins' Gate -- America In
      > Iraq." Check out the reviews at
      > . He also wrote an astounding article in the
      > April 2 issue of The New Yorker entitled
      > “Betrayed - The Iraqis who trusted America the
      > most” --
      > . This prompted a lot of letters from the
      > readers, and in the latest issue he answers some of
      > these questions.
      > What stuck me as fascinating, and also very, very
      > worrying, is that George Packer sees much less
      > similarity of the Iraq War to Vietnam or to World
      > War Two, than to World War One. And this is
      > worrying indeed. It should also be of special
      > interest to Steiner students, because the Great
      > War was the only war that the Doctor described
      > and explained in such detail from an occult
      > perspective, because it was happening as he spoke.
      > All this second world war talk is something we're
      > very familiar with. Even we ourselves have been
      > talking about Bush being Hitler and his press
      > people being Goebbles clones and so forth. And
      > those on the other side have the same obsession
      > with WWII, calling every political opponent,
      > warlord, village villain and village idiot a
      > Hitler or a Mussolini. About four months ago in
      > California, Robert Fisk put it this way:
      > ROBERT FISK: Over and over again, the Arabs are
      > blamed now for the Holocaust. Do you remember
      > Menachem Begin, when he was sending his troops
      > towards Beirut in 1982, he wrote this rambling,
      > crazed letter to Reagan saying he felt he was the
      > Red Army advancing on Berlin where Hitler was --
      > Hitler being the poor old Yasser Arafat, who was
      > claiming at the time, by the way, that he was
      > defending Beirut like Stalingrad.
      > Everyone is obsessed with the Second World War.
      > Everyone. Bush, even our own dear Mr. Blair,
      > think they’re Winston Churchill. And all our
      > enemies, every one of them, believe me, is a
      > Hitler of the Tigris. Antony Eden actually
      > referred to Nasser as the Mussolini of the Nile.
      > We’re all putting on our World War II cloaks,
      > it’s incredible. And if anyone, anyone, suggests
      > the war is wrong, then we are Neville
      > Chamberlain, we’re in the house of appeasement,
      > and look what happened in 1939.
      > And journalists go along with this. Pollack, one
      > of these people, went along with that line. We’re
      > contently trying to repeat the bits of history
      > that we remember inaccurately and wrongly. And we
      > do not remember the British invasion of Iraq in
      > 1917, when the British commander issued a
      > document on the walls of Baghdad, saying, "We
      > come here” -- to the people of the Mohafazat, the
      > governorate of Baghdad -- “We come here, not as
      > conquerors, but as liberators to free you from
      > generations of tyranny." And in 1920, when the
      > insurgency, the Iraqi insurgency against British
      > rule in Iraq, began, we shelled Fallujah, and we
      > shelled Najaf. The British army, in 1920. I’ve
      > seen the telegram written by British intelligence
      > in Baghdad to the War Department in London saying
      > that terrorists were crossing the border, from…?
      > AUDIENCE MEMBER: Syria.
      > ROBERT FISK: Yes, quite. You read that telegram.
      > You knew about that telegram. And then Lloyd
      > George, the British prime minister, stood up in
      > the House of Commons and said, “If British troops
      > leave Iraq now, there will be…”?
      > AUDIENCE MEMBER: Civil war.
      > ROBERT FISK: Spot on. You read the Times
      > parliamentary report in 1920, didn’t you? We
      > don’t read history. Our journalists don't read
      > history. My goodness, me, nor do our leaders.
      > Now, what about the Irak War and Vietnam? Of
      > course there are similarities what the soldiers'
      > sufferings are concerned, the war crimes, the
      > snipers, and the entire hell and mess. And it's
      > time for all old hippies and war resisters and
      > anti-war vets to take a trip down Memory Lane:
      > <http://www.sirnosir.com/>http://www.sirnosir.com/
      > Whatever you do, don't miss the 12 minute movie
      > trailer:
      > Just dig it, man. Dig it.
      > And now back to George Packer at The New Yorker.
      > There were two questions and answers that really
      > hit home with me (the first and the last):
      > I very much enjoyed this piece, because it seems
      > to fit with the thoughts you expressed in your
      > book “The Assassins’ Gate,” which I read with
      > great interest. One lingering quibble is that
      > your sense of liberal righteousness strikes me as
      > the “milk-and-water” variety that Theodore
      > Roosevelt warned against. Is it tough enough to
      > withstand this ordeal in Mesopotamia?
      > Brian Stewart
      > Bloomington, Ind.
      > You are referring to Roosevelt’s jab at Woodrow
      > Wilson in the years before America entered the
      > First World War: “A milk-and-water righteousness
      > unbacked by force to the full is as wicked as and
      > even more mischievous than force divorced from
      > righteousness.” No one wants to come out in
      > support of either righteousness or watery milk (I
      > know I don’t), but, unfortunately, Roosevelt’s
      > cult of force doesn’t answer the hardest
      > questions of foreign policy, either. When Wilson
      > added some steel to his idealism and, as
      > Roosevelt had been urging, brought America into
      > the Great War, his decision ended in a bitter
      > peace in Europe, a period of reaction in America,
      > Wilson’s political and personal self-destruction,
      > and the groundwork for the next world war. For
      > several years, I have thought that the Iraq War,
      > in its moral atmosphere, more closely resembles
      > the First World War than it does either the
      > Second World War or Vietnam. And its legacy might
      > be similar. Neither idealism nor toughness has
      > withstood the ordeal in Mesopotamia. The lesson
      > is not to embrace one or the other; it’s to combine
      > them with wisdom.
      > As I read your article, I got a sickening feeling
      > that we have been here before. Do you know if
      > many Vietnamese felt the same way as these Iraqi
      > translators and others whom we employed and then
      > abandoned?
      > Thomas B. Jones
      > Rochester, N.Y.
      > I’ve read and heard that many Vietnamese felt
      > abandoned at the end of the Vietnam War­I highly
      > recommend Frank Snepp’s book “Decent Interval,”
      > about the last days of the Americans in Saigon.
      > But, in comparison with Iraq, America acquitted
      > itself with a measure of honor by evacuating and
      > resettling its Vietnamese friends in the United
      > States­a hundred and forty thousand of them by
      > the end of 1975. Compare that to the several
      > hundred Iraqis­almost all of them refugees from
      > the Saddam era­who have been allowed to immigrate
      > to the United States over the past few years. The
      > difference is that Gerald Ford, knowing that
      > Vietnam was lost, was politically able to bring
      > refugees here in large numbers and felt morally
      > compelled to do so. George W. Bush has not said
      > anything about Iraqi refugees, probably because
      > they represent a political embarrassment, and the
      > rest of the government has been extremely
      > sluggish in addressing what is now a crisis.
      > Cheers,
      > Tarjei

      Frank Thomas Smith

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