Tuesday, June 14, 2005

History Repeats Itself In Iraq

Despite so many overly optimistic statements about Iraq from the Bush Administration, the sad fact is that history is repeating itself in this country. Bush reportedly told Rev. Pat Robertson at one point before the war that he didn't expect any American war dead. And Donald Rumfeld promotted the vision of Iraqi residents welcoming American soldiers with flowers thrown at their feet, similar to the palm leaves thrown on the ground to welcome Jesus into a Middle Eastern city. But just like in the case of Jesus, fortunes are sadly prone to change. Jesus was welcomed one week. Then horriby tortured and murdered as his political enemies sought to end his life a week later. Even with good intentions, fortunes sometimes horriby change for the worst.

After much long combat during WWI, Britain decided to set up a colonial regime in Iraq. In the minds of the British this was somehow "good" for the people of Iraq. Yet it only seemed like a variation of the of the old colonial policies of past Britain, rather than a true peacekeeping effort, simply to control a nation where it was assumed that the people of that nation were somehow incapable of running their own affairs.

In 1917, Britain established this colonial rule over Iraq. However by 1920, a powerful Iraqi insurgent effort became so strong, that Britain resorted to terrible tactics to control Iraq. In a bloody10 year military campaign, Britain used aircraft and armored vehicles to attack entire Iraqi villages. Mustard gas and firebombings to pacify entire Iraqi villages were used by the British in terrible combat against the Iraqi insurgents and population between 1920 and 1930. After this somewhat less lethal efforts by the British continued until in a rebellion in 1958, Britain left Iraq in defeat. Even Winston Churchill, one of the victors over Hitler and the Germans was not able to put together a winning military strategy to defeat Iraqi insugents.

Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush Administration offer a constant flurry of hopeful statements about the Iraq War situation. In every statement, some sense of hope is just around the corner is always promotted. Yet the history of Iraq paints a grim picture. In their 1917-58 struggle to control Iraq, Britain could not assert control over this nation. And just today, a new round of insurgent attacks took many more lives. Within months, the number of American war dead will equal that of the War Of 1812. Later it will equal that of the Spanish-American War. In the future it will equal that of Korea and then Vietnam. History unfortunately repeats itself. Just like colonial Britain, no matter America's intentions in Iraq, it is very difficult for any power to assert themselves over Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld never bothered to take history into account in his Iraq War plans. Now America is stuck in the same situation as Britain in it's losing 1917-58 war in Iraq.


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