Battlepanda: White Man's Burden, Redux


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, September 23, 2005

White Man's Burden, Redux

Simon Jenkins on withdrawal, from a Guardian editorial:

Don't be fooled a second time. They told you Britain must invade Iraq
because of its weapons of mass destruction. They were wrong. Now they say
British troops must stay in Iraq because otherwise it will collapse into chaos.

This second lie is infecting everyone. It is spouted by Labour and Tory
opponents of the war and even by the Liberal Democrat spokesman, Sir Menzies
Campbell. Its axiom is that western soldiers are so competent that, wherever
they go, only good can result. It is their duty not to leave Iraq until order is
established, infrastructure rebuilt and democracy entrenched.

Note the word "until". It hides a bloodstained half
century of western self-delusion and arrogance. The white man's burden is still
alive and well in the skies over Baghdad (the streets are now too dangerous).
Soldiers and civilians may die by the hundred. Money may be squandered by the
million. But Tony Blair tells us that only western values enforced by the barrel
of a gun can save the hapless Mussulman from his own worst enemy, himself.
The first lie at least had tactical logic. The Rumsfeld doctrine was to
travel light, hit hard and get out. Neoconservatives might fantasise over Iraq
as a democratic Garden of Eden, a land re-engineered to stability and
prosperity. Harder noses were content to dump the place in Ahmad Chalabi's lap
and let it go to hell. Had that happened, I suspect there would have been a
bloody settling of scores but by now a tripartite republic hauling itself back
to peace and reconstruction. Iraq is, after all, one of the richest nations on
America left Vietnam and Lebanon to their fate. They survived. We left Aden
and other colonies. Some, such as Malaya and Cyprus, saw bloodshed and
partition. We said rightly that this was their business. So too is Iraq for the
Iraqis. We have made enough mess there already.

Brutal, the part about leaving the Iraqis to their fate. But staying out of humanitarian reasons is only meaningful if we are making the situation better.