â€œThe governors appointed by the Crown were powerless for good. The practical exercise of power was in the hands of the servants of a soulless corporation on the opposite side of the globe, whose predominant feeling was contempt for the people over whom they were placed.â€ Originally from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, vol. 25, iss. 149, October 1862. By A. H. Guernsey.
What happens when the 101st Fighting Keyboarders get bored with advocating American Brand™ freedom and democracy for the Middle East?
A civil war is the nastiest way to get a good result. The United States hasn’t faced a succession crisis since we settled that ugly business at Appomattox in 1865, and no one to the left of the Ku Klux Klan has since advocated we bring back slavery. Getting there cost 600,000 American lives, but obviously they were not lost in vain.
Nobody even knows if a civil war has really started in Iraq. We have to leave that to the guys on the ground to figure out, and, hopefully, the guys with stars on their shoulders to tell us. Right now, however, things don’t look so good. In fact, things are looking pretty bad all over the Middle East.
Paradoxically, the worse things get, they better they may be.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first.
An Iraqi Civil War would be a disaster. Every bit of reconstruction, every small gesture of friendship between peoples and sects, every last chance of keeping Iraq viable and wholeâ€¦ well, that’s probably all gone. Lacking professional armies and Western ideas of shame, modern Arab wars can drag on as guerilla actions for decades. Let’s not forget that in the process, a lot of good people, ours and theirs, would die in Iraq.
Now for the good news.
If we’re looking at an Islamic civil war, then vast numbers of good people will die, from Libya to Oman. Luckily, they won’t have to be our people. In the very worst-case scenario, the Middle East could blow up â€“ and we could bug out, pronto. “This is the good news?” you ask. Yes, and I’ll explain why.
Christianity was a violent religion until the Thirty Years War. That war lasted so long, and killed so many people (the population of Germany was reduced by a third), that Christendom lost its bloodlust. Freedom of conscience was born on the battlefields of central Europe. The Middle East hasn’t suffered that kind of loss; they haven’t yet had their fill of blood; they haven’t yet become disgusted with tyranny. I’d like to think that the Middle East can do what the West did, without all the suffering. But if it takes regional fratricide, then so be it.
Also on the plus side: a Middle East at war with itself would probably be too busy to wage war on us. Other than police actions to keep the oil flowing, we might finally be rid of the whole damn place. Israel might even enjoy a respite.
An unidentified relative looks at the body of a ten year old girl Asa’d Al-A’reji, a victim of a car bomb explosion, in a hospital in Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006. A car bomb exploded Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing at least six people, including two women, and injuring more than 52, police said. The attack occurred as Baghdad and three nearby provinces were on a second day of a daytime curfew aimed at dampening the wave of sectarian violence that has killed more than 140 people since the bombing of a Shiite shrine.(AP Photo/Alaa Al-Marjani)
Of this unrest I myself saw nothing, In private I observed that once in every generation, without fail, there is an episode of hysteria about the barbarians. There is no woman living along the frontier who has not dreamed of a dark barbarian hand coming from under the bed to grip her ankle, no man who has not frightened himself with barbarians carousing in his home, breaking the plates, setting fire to the curtains, raping his daughters. These dreams are the consequence of too much ease. Show me a barbarain army and I will believe.– Waiting for the Barbarians