Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Rot at the Center

One of my staff cut open an apple the other day at lunch. On the surface, it was nice, shiny and quite tempting (no, her name was not Eve.) But in the center, it was dark, evil and rotten.

Two supposedly intelligent people debating whether we should "let them have their Civil War."
JIM LEHRER: Have a civil war and get it over with?

DAVID BROOKS: Right, I mean, there are two ways to think about it. First, the moral, which is, what is our moral obligation to the Iraqi people? And suppose we stay and lose 125 of our people every month, but their sacrifice leads to the saving of 10,000 Iraqi lives. What's the calculus, our people versus their people?

And then there's the security issue. Maybe there's nothing good we could do anyway, so they're going to have their civil war, so let's let them have it. Or maybe there is a way gradually to prevent that, the worst, and that's the moral dilemma that everybody sees (emphasis added).
Just a little bit late to be wondering about our "moral obligation to the Iraqi people, isn't it? How about March, 2003, Mr. Brooks? How about "Shock and Awe" where we bombed the bejesus out of their country because some jerk in the service of Ahmed Chalabi* code named "curve ball" said Saddam Hussein had WMD? Huh? Remember that? Where were you then Mr. Brooks?

I'll tell you where. You were on the same Jim Leherer Show April 4, 2003 and said this:
The success to me (of the invasion of Iraq. Dr.C.) has been remarkably good. I think you've begun to see a couple things. One, you've begun to see Iraqis who are jubilant and happy in the cities where they do know they're liberated. If you've read the last few days of the New York Times, you've really seen some exultant crowds, including one who had to me, the slogan of the war, a happy Iraqi fellow who went up to the troops and screamed out, democracy, whiskey and sexy, showing that he understood -

MARK SHIELDS: He got it right.

DAVID BROOKS: It's a little weird to hear a Muslim talking about whiskey. And then the final thing -- to hear the marines talk and to hear them talk about liberating the Iraqi people. When asked by the embedded reporters, why are you doing this? They never talk about the weapons of mass destruction. They talk about the people they're seeing right there. And I think that is having a tremendous cultural effect in the United States, and making us feel a little better about ourselves.
Is this what you mean, Mr. Brooks?

And where were you when the Lancet (one of the premier, peer reviewed, medical journals in the world) published their article in 2006 that stated:
We estimate that as of July, 2006, there have been 654 965 (392 979–942 636) excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war, which corresponds to 2·5% of the population in the study area. Of post-invasion deaths, 601 027 (426 369–793 663) were due to violence, the most common cause being gunfire.

Yes that is 654 THOUSAND deaths. Dead. Stone dead.

Mr. Brooks, you are the personification of a rot that is at the center of my country from which we may never recover. If you really want to know what the Iraqi people want, go read Gorilla's Guides every day. It should make your heart break but, then, even a sledge hammer wouldn't do that, would it.

* did you know that Chalabi was "once dubbed the "George Washington of Iraq" by American neoconservatives?

1 comment:

montag said...

I agree. The responsibility we bear is beyond calculation. Our malfeasance is so vast we are trying any means to escape it.

The rot at the center appears to have escaped the status of being merely a metaphor.
Now it is our reality.