One of my regular reads, Vineyard Views, recently drew attention to an article by Stephen Walt in ‘Foreign Policy’. It was entitled, “Why They Hate Us”, and addressed the concept of military occupation.
Walt begins the piece thus:
One of the many barriers to developing a saner U.S. foreign policy is our collective failure to appreciate why military occupations generate so much hatred, resentment, and resistance, and why we should therefore go to enormous lengths to avoid getting mired in them…….We blundered into Somalia in the early 1990s without realizing that we weren’t welcome; we invaded Iraq thinking we would be greeted as liberators, and we still don’t fully understand why many Afghans resent our presence and why some are driven to take up arms against us.”
Why, I ask myself, is it not obvious? Does anyone truly have to read this before pausing long enough to reach a glaringly blatant conclusion? Or has the populace of the U.S. played the role of the modern Roman Empire for so long that any innate ability to put oneself in the underdog’s position has, over generations, been completely brainwashed away?
Surely a gentleman from Yorkville, Manhatton, or Alcova Heights, Washington, D.C., wouldn’t find it utterly impossible to imagine how he’d react if a foreign army marched into his town and took over? After all, in a sense that’s exactly what happened on 9/11/2001; foreigners invaded part of Manhattan and destroyed it, while similar foreigners attacked the hub of the U.S. military. The resultant backlash from the American nation – the dreadful carnage of revenge – is well documented, begging the question: why, then, is America so mortified when its own army invades a foreign country and the inhabitants retaliate?
Walt continues his essay by likening life under foreign occupation to being caught by an abusive policeman on a U.S highway for speeding, or problems at a border crossing when the customs official doesn’t speak your language, before then suggesting America has itself experienced foreign occupation during the Civil War.
America invaded by Americans? I fail to grasp the similarity.
While Stephen Walt makes a valiant effort to understand the true feelings of those unfortunate enough to feel the jackboot of an invading army on their necks, he fails miserably. His essay only serves to highlight his own failings and those of his fellow Americans unable to grasp the real concept he is trying to portray.
Were one to compare the invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan with the German conquests of Poland or Czechoslovakia in 1930’s Europe, American hands would raise in horror, but the end result is exactly similar.
The truth about foreign invasion is that it is never for the benefit of the indigenous populace, only ever in the interests of the aggressor. Walt’s writing is dotted with phrases such as, “benevolent occupation”, and, “acting from more-or-less benevolent motives”. The word ‘benevolent’ is a total antithesis to ‘military occupation’.
Walt’s essay serves only to provide proof that indoctrination of the American people is a total success. Political cover-ups suggest invasion and occupation by U.S. military forces are designed solely to liberate and protect the very people they’re subjugating. Americans lap it up like kittens around a saucer of warm milk.
The truth is much more to do with what is euphemistically called ‘American interests’. Oil is top of the list, ensuring that steady supply of energy vital to maintain the petroleum-based, fat-cat, lifestyles too many Americans have grown used to for too long. Control of a region by military force to advance U.S. markets in developing nations is the other major ‘American interest’, though frequently the two go together, rather like an M16 and an M1A2.
Stephen Walt needs to tell his readers to forget about American military benevolence. It doesn’t exist. Tens of thousands of Iraqis – at least, those still alive – will attest to that.
So long as the U.S. continues to conduct its insane foreign policy at the end of a gun barrel, Americans will find themselves considered by others as the barbarians they still are; content to live a slothful, indulgent, lifestyle at home while their military killing machine benevolently annihilates the innocents of foreign lands in vast numbers.
 “Why They Hate Us (I): on military occupation” FP, November 23rd 2009
Filed under: Ignorance is no excuse