I was listening to George W Bush Speak on NPR about the just released report on Iraq where we are failing on 8 political bench marks and passing on 8 security benchmarks and somewhere in between on 2 others. But listening to his speech it was not the benchmarks that I found disheartening but rather his classification of the two sides of the should we still be in Iraq.
Let me tell you a true story that most people don’t really seem to remember. A pretty great man with good intentions who did more to shape the world in the 500 years after his death than another man who was pretty great who died just after him who probably did more to shape the world in the 1500 years after his death. I took a class called Julius to Jesus in college, and I think Bush needs to take this as well.
Julius Caesar conquered more of the world than any one man has ever done. With him he brought culture, sanitation, agriculture, and for lack of a better word morality. Any of Caesar’s followers would have told you they were doing a good thing, and that the people who resisted were crazy for not welcoming the advances that came with joining the Roman Empire. Rome had combined many of the best parts of Greek and Roman and Persian civilization of the time, they were quick to adopt technologies from those they encountered they were at the time the peak of the then modern civilization. A country very similar to what America believes of itself right now. But Caesar couldn’t hold his country together the burden of occupying such a large region, and the resistance from those who wanted to remain sovereign wore on the occupying forces and very shortly after Caesar’s death his dominion crumbled.
Too long ago? Think this is only a problem faced by ancient civilizations? Look at England and Ireland with regards to the IRA. Being forced to have a culture that is not so very different. It is hard for people in the US to imagine committing violence over which church we had to attend because we aren’t that religious as a culture.
Hong Kong and China a peaceful handing over from one type of government to the other that is slowly boiling over 10 years and is approaching the tip of boiling over.
People are quite resistant to change. Psychology 101 teaches us about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In Iraq people went from having their physiological needs met by an inflexible tyrannical government of their own people to not having these needs met by a government that is not their own. One can not achieve the needs of safety with out meeting the physiological needs. I thought perhaps a Texas Boy would know something about cattle. You can put them in a pen keep the coyotes (and Aliens) away make them feel safe but if you don’t feed them they will stampede.
We can’t occupy Iraq until all those who remember what Iraq was like before Saddam took power have died of old age. And with out the backing of the UN we can’t pretend to be peace keepers. If the UN had Peace Keeping forces on the ground and were preventing violence providing relief, and generally meeting those basic needs Iraq could move forward with rebuilding its government. But we are the enemy to many in Iraq, and that prevents us from being able to fill the role of care giver.