Why the present US policy is self defeating.

June 24 2005.

Mr. Brooks:

You say :"[the Iraq war] is about victory for the forces of decency" (what you meant, from the context of that quote, was that the forces of the USA are decent; New York Times editorial, June 23, 2005).

Most Iraqis would disagree, deep down inside, that the USA is on the side of decency in Iraq. After all, the US (and France, among others) were behind Saddam Hussein's war against the Muslim fundamentalist Iranian regime. The Western worthies encouraged, and materially helped Hussein's war effort for nearly a decade, in crucial ways, by contributing the most added-value means of fighting that war (telecommunications, advanced rocketry, chemicals, satellite feeds, etc. ...).

That Iran-Iraq war, which was condoned in the West, killed more than a million people. After this, the West, and then mostly the US and Great Britain, engaged Iraq in a war, which, whatever its shifting reasons, and its shifting alliances, has been going on for 15 years. Not much has been achieved, besides Iraqis dying in vast numbers.

People such as you still hope that US "victory" is around the corner, but, long term, this "victory" will never belong to the US of A. Long term, the USA has probably already lost. Why? Because too many Iraqis have suffered too long, and too many saw the US on the other side of guns pointed at Iraqis. Too many Iraqis, in the future, will therefore conclude that the USA as a meddling agent which, whatever happened, whatever the pretext of the moment, always found a war for Iraqis to die for. American reasons for turmoil in Iraq are endless; yesterday it was Iran's Shiites, then it was the Iraqi waterfront (known as Kuwait, a part of Iraq for 5,000 years), then it was non existent WMDs, then it was democracy (American style), now it's "terror" (whose terror is that? Have Iraqis been driving around the streets of America, shooting US citizens?).

Those future Iraqis will see that, by 2005, the US military involvement in Iraq, here, there, and everywhere, had been going on for 25 years. Decent Iraqis will see that the number of dead is well above 5% of the Iraqi population, during those 25 years of US meddling in Iraq (the fact other countries, such as France, were involved initially in the great dying of Iraqis, will be forgotten then). Future Iraqis will not like it at all. They will not like the contempt their race, culture and civilization has been held into (the USA does not even count the Iraqi dead, as if dead Iraqis were roadkill). Iraqis will feel hatred. They already do, and it is just the beginning. When they think about it, it will grow. Future Iraqi scholars will remember that American conservatives went around all talk shows of America, in 2002 and 2003, saying that Iraqi oil would pay for the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. They will ponder if Iraqi blood was also part of the American calculation.

Human beings come equipped with hatred circuitry, which, when activated, is thereafter the main agent of their mental organization. This has to do with man being the greatest threat to man, for the last four million years, resulting in man having had plenty of time to evolve in such a way that the destruction of an adversary is paramount to the human condition. This is not a new observation, the American psychologist and philosopher William James made it more than a century ago. Against hatred, common reason struggles in vain. Nothing activates hatred better than invaders coming, and exterminating part of one's population. Sheep flee, man fights. To death.

It is not because 8.5 million Iraqis voted that they do not hate the US. If anything, they voted so that the US would run out of one of its politically correct pretext for occupying Iraq. It's not because an Iraqi government is formed, that it is not formed with people who hate America, deep down inside, and who are waiting for the right time to get even. Meanwhile, many of those Iraqi officials can discreetly feed the insurrection with interesting information.

The American political class which rushed hysterically into the invasion of Iraq now says that there is no solution, but for an American victory. They feverishly incant, as if they were Jihadists, that there is no God, but for an American victory, and that Cheney is its prophet. Right.

American victory can be achieved if, somehow, America's hatred for Iraqis overcomes the Iraqis' hatred for America. That maybe difficult to accomplish, because Iraq has not yet caused the death of one American on American soil. Not one. Not yet. Whereas, all together, directly or indirectly, America has been implicated in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, on their own soil, over 25 years, including countless children deprived of modern care by ill organized UN sanctions. Now we learn American forces have been torturing Iraqi children they incarcerated, in violation of the most sacred international laws, and the most basic decency of Western civilization.

Ultimately Americans may want to make a cost benefit analysis of the hatred they earn versus the oil they won't get. Indeed, however mighty the armor clad imperial troopers of America are, all they do, as long as they are under American command, is to feed hatred against themselves, America, and Western civilization.

Then Americans will come to the unavoidable conclusion that it would be better to put the United Nations in charge of the whole mess. That is the most fundamental mission of the United Nations: separating combatants by enforcing an international settlement. That is the only decent thing to do. Then, and only then, the Iraq war will be "about victory for the forces of decency".

Patrice Ayme'
Berkeley, CA