Tuesday, May 11, 2004

When the fall is all that's left

Prince Geoffrey: You fool. As if it matters how a man falls.
Prince Richard: When the fall is all that's left, it matters.

from "The Lion in Winter," 1968

David Brooks writes an unusual article today, in which he calls for the United States to lose the war in Iraq. Not that he's calling for withdrawel, precisely. Just that we permit the Iraqi people to defeat us.

"We went into Iraq with what, in retrospect, seems like a childish fantasy. We were going to topple Saddam, establish democracy and hand the country back to grateful Iraqis. We expected to be universally admired when it was all over.

We didn't understand the tragic irony that our power is also our weakness. As long as we seemed so mighty, others, even those we were aiming to assist, were bound to revolt. They would do so for their own self-respect. In taking out Saddam, we robbed the Iraqis of the honor of liberating themselves. The fact that they had no means to do so is beside the point.

Now, looking ahead, we face another irony. To earn their own freedom, the Iraqis need a victory. And since it is too late for the Iraqis to have a victory over Saddam, it is imperative that they have a victory over us.

For the record, he seems to be calling for a democratic victory over us, and, as part of this plan, for moving the elections up. That way they can have an election, denounce the American occupation, somebody can win and invite us to leave. I'd be interested to hear Rush Limbaugh respond to this idea. Perhaps he did; I'll check his website later.

I'm not sure what the quote has to do with this story; but it is a good quote and something to keep in one's mind.

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