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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A DOOMED IDEOLOGY 

A RESPONSE TO JACK RANDOM’S
IRAQ & VIET NAM: THEY WON’T KILL THEIR OWN

By Dragon Lady

Dear Sir,

You have acquitted yourself with such passionate eloquence in validating an uncomfortable reality - one my father once stated with equal passion and conviction. Being a war-hardened soldier, his words were taken seriously by all of us kids. He had fought 'the good fight' to liberate Europe - and always denounced colonialism and imperialism. None of our family 'volunteered' for Vietnam, or endorsed any of America's idealistic brush-wars.

The one unfortunate circumstance this time though, is that the world's oil reserves will be depleted in short shrift. Already the greedy are fighting over the scraps of a doomed philosophy and a doomed ideology. This is one war that won't go on for hundreds of years - the treasure, once looted, will leave the desert blood-soaked and empty. The Iraqis - those that survive this atrocity - will be abandoned. There will be bigger problems occupying those that pillage and loot - the ability to roam the world at will ends when the oil runs out. Then it's back to basics - wind, water, and sunlight will create new realities on the ground - and new challenges for society.

I do hope the Iraqis are successful in ridding their country of conquering invaders bent on looting and exploitation - hoarding their national treasure might force these modern day pirates to change their ways. If the Iraqis succeed in defeating the military super-power that claims dominion over the entire planet, it might lead to hope - and freedom - for billions of others. Iraq just might be the new Armageddon - the evil forces of violence against the resistance of ordinary people. That would be a lesson in democracy to make despots tremble - a true David-and-Goliath struggle of epic proportions.

It's ironic that the fate of the world might just hang on the actions of a handful of unemployed, uneducated, disillusioned, misguided Iraqis - the fundamentalist dogma of some insurgents hardly merits admiration - but their dogged resistance is pure inspiration. It's unfortunate that the resources of the 'civilized world' are aligned against their noble endeavor - imagine what might be if we co-operated and encouraged freedom instead of so violently opposing it! How dare they dream of sharing in prosperity? How dare they envision freedom? How dare they insist on being masters of their own destiny? Can't they see that Americans know better? Impudent ingrates!

Being intimately familiar with colonialism, it pained me to see Vietnam so brutally devastated - the mendacious ruses of the current US administration make me wonder if there isn't a fatal flaw in American mythology. In spite of a long and damning history of brutality and exploitation, they had no trouble rousing the people again, to indiscriminate mob violence against an innocent non-enemy. Creating imaginary enemies to be subjugated by the brute force of unimaginable atrocities seems to be deeply imbedded in the American psyche. A persecution complex born of guilt, much akin to that of the Zionists.

I have little trouble with the assessment of much of the world that the US is the greatest threat to peace and prosperity - the record is undeniable. There is a fatal flaw that seems to thwart the best of intentions - Americans just don't 'learn' anything - from anyone. They really believe they are the epitome of civilization - that they have achieved the limits of 'perfection' in human evolution. The arrogance is stunning. My father had a piece of advice about that too - he always said 'You'd better learn from the mistakes of others - you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.' Every soldier in this new conquering army is proof that one ignores history at their own peril. I might grieve for their stupidity - but not for any of them. Every time I see the 'Stars and Stripes' I am reminded of other arrogant follies - the swastika, the rising sun - symbols of hubris and impending doom. I can't help wonder how so many people can embrace cognitive dissonance as some kind of achievement - is it racism? Is ignorance a normal human state? Is morality relative? Then why do some of us see so clearly what others are so busy denying? Are we the vanguard of a new philosophy? Or the remnants of one in dissolution? Or just a constant minority that laments the needless waste of so much talent? Sometimes I can't help but feel that I'm watching an ant farm.

You've raised a lot of questions in my mind - and I thank you for that. Maybe that's the highest compliment anyone can pay to a writer. Maybe challenging those around us is all that we can hope for - and more than we can appreciate. One thing for sure - when the oil runs out, life will be very interesting - maybe all that energy can then be devoted to real social progress. Maybe oil just stagnated evolution. But the despots have always found an excuse - we just have to keep fighting.

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