Washington must face Iraqi Reality
By Werner Pirker
[This article originally published in: junge Welt, November 10, 2003 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.jungewelt.de/2003/11-10/002.php.]
The US has a problem. The problem is called war. After September 11, 2001, US Vice-president Richard Cheney promised the world a "war against terror" without end, Superman against the shady customers as a final showdown. Now and then life actually imitates Hollywood. However writing a triumphal end of US aggression against Iraq over-demands the most imaginative scriptwriters. The just war euphoria in the US has been noticeably dampened. War is still regarded in the US as an extremely unpleasant affair. Even the Bush warriors cannot evade this mood. US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage admitted that the US is entangled in "an uprising that is close to a war". Whether close to a war or right in the middle of a war, the strongest military power of all time is on the defensive.
The defeatist mood in American society can be learned from an interview that Jessica Lynch gave the ABC broadcast station. The female soldier stylized into a luminous figure of the American invasion denies that her "heroic saga" of life should be written. Rather her soldier fate that wasn't unusual was used to gain public support for the war. A half-year of Iraqi resistance against the occupation turned war enthusiasm into war weariness. This is not pacifism from an inner conviction but American pragmatism, a pragmatism that shows the limits of the suffering capacity of American heroism. US citizens should not be reproached unconditionally. That the war for the "liberation of Iraq" asserted by the Bush administration provoked a war of liberation of the Iraqi people suggests that the "liberation" was not liberation.
However too much forbearance toward the mood fluctuations of the US public would also be inappropriate. Their mentality is the mentality of a deeply egoistic society. Even if this war were ended according to the logic of absolute military superiority, the chauvinistic consensus in the US society would not be broken. When the laws of military superiority determined the events, the aggression had broad approval. But the hedonistic society of the US felt deeply humiliated from the moment when the asymmetrical war of the high-tech barbarians triggered the asymmetrical war of the inferiors whose strength consists in their having nothing to lose. The Bushist ideology of mobilization for permanent war has not held its ground to the realities of the Iraq war.