Mythology of America and Losing in Iraq
Via Digby, Josh Marshal explains why adding 20,000 more troops will only exacerbate failure in Iraq, and that one of the solutions to extrication is that we “stop lying to ourselves.” Interestingly enough, the first post at Hullabaloo from tristero relates to a Bill Clinton speech where he asserts that Americans are “returning to empiricism.”
Well, I think it’s fair to say that Americans have returned to a form of empiricism towards Bush that greets his assertion that to keep the peace, why, we have to start a war as extremely dangerous bullshit. Unfortunately the truth about who we are and what we have done in Iraq flies in the face of American mythology with typhoon forces, and the effort of honesty and truth would have to be Herculean to puncture the myths that protect the lies of the Iraq War.
Some of the myths of the United States is that it’s a society always striving for equality (laughable), that America loves peace (tragically false), that the country is inherently a “winner” in whatever it attempts (so wrong, we’ve now completely lost three wars), and that our unique, exceptional god-graced circumstances produced the best government ever seen (rankly absurd).
These myths are extremely powerful and prevalent; at least 80% of Americans are totally unaware they’re myths at all and have accepted them as iron truths to their frame of reference. Not only that, the myths embrace and comfort ancient personal anxieties and clashes that exist within the race—shattering them can lead the mind into very fearful, anxious, unknown paths which most citizens recoil from, adamantly refusing to change.
We are much more profoundly stuck in Iraq than Marshal realizes, and although the country may stop lying to itself by rejecting outright clownish falsehoods from Bush, obviating the comforting blanket of American mythology is extremely difficult and going to fail.
Americans are losers in Iraq. The United States lost 1812 and Vietnam but a huge chunk of the country is totally unaware of it, America always wins, we’re the best, we’re the biggest, we’re No. 1! Americans hate losing and even when it happens psychotically cement the myth of winning anyway, just as our current leaders have and perfectly displayed in their rank denial in the trip to Vietnam.
Far more ingrained is the myth of American Goodness, the absolute knowledge that America has been blessed with god-given grace that whatever we do, even blowing off the arms of children for something their country might do, is always inherently benevolent and will lead to great good.
George Bush completely lied in his premise for a totally evil proposition, pre-emptive war. We have smashed a country, employed torture on prisoners, sniped civilians, directly killed at least 20,000 Iraqis, are responsible for at least 500,000 more Iraqi dead, planted our bloody flags on permanent bases of conquest, and now helplessly watch as the country erupts in a chaos that dooms it to a conflagration we can’t even comprehend yet.
America has done something terrible and evil with the Iraq war, as bad any tyrant or dictator has done in history. It’s true. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet, Bush. Who really thinks it’s possible for the country to reach a level of honesty and myth-busting to accept that?
The American Executive, President Bush, beneficiary of a stolen election from the failed Judicial Branch, has completely run amok and plunged the government into total crisis. Secrecy, unaccountability, total disdain for the rule of law (the cornerstone of which our entire system depends, if that fails [hello?] all else fails), lying in every sentence, a brutal agenda of death and inequality rammed through a Congress unable to function.
Bush must be impeached, but because the country is also in another crisis in Iraq, how dare far Congress exert pressure on the Executive, thus leaving our armed forces without a commander in chief? The real issue, however, lies in the assumption that impeachment represents a functional process, a real option in the shining brilliance of Great American Democracy.
Dream on. Cheney and Bush have no intention of honoring a subpoena from Congress, Cheney literally thinks it’s funny. Even if the pretense is shown that a subpoena is being complied with there are hundred ways to stall and obfuscate, easily breaching a threshold where impeachment is unfeasible because the term clock runs out.
Reid and Pelosi have very little power in a government totally out of control and barely functioning in but a few of its base elements. Even if they had the political resources to take Bush out they would never, ever expose the depths of functional democratic failure the country has descended to or take the functional risk. Remember, Bush plays by no rules. In theory Pelosi and Reid could execute political necessity perfectly and simply break the country even more, for Bush wouldn’t abide by their power and authority.
One day America is going to flee Iraq in a bloody hellish bedlam of failure and defeat because it is our only option, implacably enforced upon us in total desperation. The country is simply far too mentally end emotionally entrenched in its mythology, and far too busted in its political functionality, for any other outcome. If there is any good to come out of the hellish debacle of Iraq it may be that the horrifying sting of death, failure and losing can whittle down the unrealities of a nation very lost in its way, blind and stumbling among myths of benevolence and goodness.