America’s aggressive excursion into the Middle East – the catastrophe that will go down in history simply as “Bush’s War” – has been dotted by milestones of inefficiency and downright blundering. From the moment US troops climbed Saddam’s statue in Firdos Square, Central Baghdad, and draped the Stars & Stripes instead of the Iraqi flag, through the massacres of Haditha and Falluja; the shameful photos of Abu Ghraib’s torturers; the gunning-down of an innocent Iraqi family and subsequent raping and killing of a fourteen year old girl by US soldiers; the blot of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center …….to today’s announcement by the Iraqi government that the six Iranians captured yesterday, after the storming of an Iranian Consulate building in Irbil by US troops, were in the country quite legitimately and with the approval of the Iraqi authorities.
American citizens may be shocked to learn that the US military over the years has made a habit of “doing its own thing” without prior consultation with allies, often creating a political mess others have had to clear up.
The problem is a simple one. It’s called ‘arrogance’. It’s a basic mis-comprehension that America’s military knows best and the rest of the human race is inferior. This attitude begins with the highest officials and permeates down via the non-commissioned officers to the lower ranks. It leads to decisions being made without recourse to intelligence from outside sources. In this instance, the Iraqi government was obviously not consulted before the raid on Irbil – a raid that could easily have led to unnecessary deaths.
Ask any citizen of another country to sum up their opinion of Americans in one word, and the answer will most likely be “Arrogant”. This, of course, is grossly unfair. A large proportion of the US population have not fallen victim to such a character defect, but human beings form opinions based on acquired knowledge, and that is usually obtained through media services that rarely allow John Doe a soapbox. Invariably, only politicians and military actions make headline news around the world.
Couple arrogance with the lawlessness of war, throw in the negating aspect of an army losing the fight, when losing is unthinkable, and you have the emotional mix from which atrocities are distilled.
Despite the rhetoric of US politicians and a mindset that allows no criticism of “our brave boys defending the flag”, the US military is not the supreme fighting force Americans in general are indoctrinated into believing. It is superior to others in two ways: numbers and technology. But it’s badly-funded, poorly-trained, and undisciplined. The sheer volume and scale of its misdeeds in Iraq over the last four years is proof of that. It can be argued that all armies commit atrocities in time of war, but none to the extent that has been so obvious in this conflict, unless one goes back to the last time America waged a foreign war – in Vietnam. America has never revealed to its citizens the full horror of US atrocities in that conflict. Those who have tried have been humiliated.
America’s defeat in Iraq has been because of arrogance. From Commander-in-Chief down to the lowliest private, the mindset was always one of “walk-in and take over”; the expectation – that Iraqis would swoon at their feet and call them “Masser”.
Unfortunately for America and George W Bush, the Iraqis – though different – are not inferior, and resented being stamped all over by shade-sporting, helmeted, weapon-toting foreigners, who arrogantly pushed them around. Winning hearts and minds has never been one of the American military’s highest scoring test results. In fact, they rank somewhere near the bottom of the class in spreading love and respect towards others.
America needs to shed its arrogant attitude towards the rest of the world. Then, it might have the greatest military on earth. American arrogance alone guarantees it’s defeat in the Middle East.
If only that attitude had been different from the start. Iraqis wanted Saddam overthrown; they welcomed it. American arrogance ruined it.
But then, without the arrogance – they probably wouldn’t have gone into Iraq in the first place.
Filed under: Schoolyard bullies