Tags: Arab | Democracy

An Arab Democracy

Tuesday, 17 February 2004 12:00 AM

And that entire argument makes me feel like an adult driver with a backseat full of kids squabbling urgently and endlessly over "Which is colder, Alaska or the winter?"

Back in the Boy Scouts we sang a campfire song about “The Happy Sunday School” in which all were urged to attend but, please, to “Leave your guns and razors at the door!” If you can entertain this argument without a view to who you’d like to see win an election or who you’d hate to see lose one, you may achieve a whole new clarity.

Let’s start with what Einstein would call a little thought experiment. Ask yourself what you really think would have happened -- or NOT happened -- if after 9/11 America had not mobilized, not retaliated, not gone into Afghanistan, not anything. What if we’d sat back and played the consummate victim, wrapped the onrushing sympathy of the world into great big bales and stored them in the Grand Canyon, and asked the United Nations to look into it?

Don’t lie to yourself. What do you really think would have ensued if we’d taken absolutely no action after 9/11?

The honest answer from many Americans would be “nothing.” They hated us. They hit us. They rejoiced. They shouted, “Allah-hu Akbar!” Then they repaired to the mess tent and celebrated with crushed chickpea and sesame sauce and eggplant puree. And they felt good.

And we felt a little less bad every day.

If THAT’S what you think would have happened had we taken no counter-action after 9/11, please do us both a favor and stop reading right here. You may feel like a peacemaker and a holy man, but you’ll look at me as festooned with guns and razors I refuse to leave at the door.

I believe, had we done nothing after 9/11, there would have been a riptide of terror attacks on America, Western interests, Christians, Israel, Jews outside Israel, and others perceived by Islamic fundamentalists as inimical to Muslim interests. I believe there would now be speeded-up Islamic penetration and infiltration of Europe through aggressive immigration that would make our border-hopping visitors from Mexico look like senior citizens from Canada calmly selecting postcards in Detroit.

America did itself and civilization a big favor by staging an “Iraq-type invasion” 63 years ago.

History may have almost forgotten, but America invaded a country with no weapons of ANY kind, a country that had never threatened America in any way. So much about that 1941 “invasion” is so different from our present campaign in Iraq that opponents of the administration will caterwaul against the comparison, but the DNA proof-of-relationship is corkscrewed into the history.

In March of 1941 America was not yet at war. Britain had been fortunate to get a quarter-million troops off the beaches of Dunkirk nine months earlier after France collapsed and Nazi Germany ran the swastika up over western Europe. All of a sudden we woke up to learn that American troops had peacefully “invaded” and taken over the island nation of Iceland, relieving the British troops, who were urgently needed elsewhere.

Iceland had no weapons of mass destruction -- in fact, nothing more menacing than an arsenal of whale harpoons. Iceland neither had connections to Nazi Germany nor made any threat nor announced any hostility toward the United States or the Allied cause.

Nonetheless, we took them. And EVERYBODY on the side of civilization thought it was a great idea!

Iceland, though actually closer to Europe than America, was really “in the middle.” And Iceland’s mother country, Denmark, had been occupied by Nazi Germany for almost a year. Iceland’s population was blond, blue-eyed, “Aryan” and “Nordic” to a degree that made Danes and Norwegians look like Italians and Germans themselves look like Nigerians. And since April 1940, Iceland had just sat there like a live football on the ground nobody from either team had time to pounce upon.

America, fortunately, pounced first. And the motive was not “empire” at the urging of “neocons.” And the motive was not money to be earned by contractors supporting the American operation in Iceland. And the motive was not a macho image President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to wrap around himself for future elections. (At that time, unlimited terms!)

The motive was merely to keep Nazi Germany from grabbing Iceland first. If Germany HAD been first to Iceland, the costs of victory in Europe would have leapt skyward. The deadly effectiveness of the German U-boat campaign against our shipping in the Atlantic was sufficiently disastrous as it was. If the Germans had had a U-boat base in Iceland, it would have been incalculably worse. And with Iceland as an unsinkable German aircraft carrier “halfway” between Europe and America, Germany could have bombed every major city on America’s East Coast with World War II-type aircraft.

America didn’t “pounce” upon Iceland just to practice pouncing. We pounced upon Iceland because the early German success in World War II demanded it.

And America didn’t pounce upon Iraq in 2003 for conquest, rape, plunder or ego. America did it to deny al-Qaeda a nation-base after they’d been shoved out of Afghanistan.

What made it advisable for America to invade Iceland in 1941?

Easy answer: World War II.

And what made it advisable for America to invade Iraq in 2003?

Even easier answer: 9/11!

Sputter all you want about “no evidence of connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.” You’re right.

But it would have advantaged the terrorists monumentally had there BECOME such a connection. At this point we’re loudly reminded that “Saddam and Osama hate each other.” Sorry! Winston Churchill hated communism and Josef Stalin. And Stalin hated Winston Churchill AND capitalist America. Mutual hatred has never aborted the possibility of alliance between mutual haters provided each hates the one they’re uniting against even more.

The American occupation of Iceland prevented Nazi Germany from using Iceland as a base against the west.

And the occupation of Iraq prevents al-Qaeda from using Iraq the way they used to use Afghanistan.

Do you wish President Bush had announced that as our motive when we invaded Iraq? I do, too. Am I furious he talked about weapons of mass destruction instead? Not in the slightest; not when I behold the liberation of 28 million Iraqis, the end of additions to all those mass graves and rape rooms and torture chambers, and the potential birth of another democracy in the Middle East, to join Israel.

I’m especially undisturbed by our failure so far to find those weapons when I read what’s been called “al-Qaeda’s Primal Scream,” the intercepted written lament that “America apparently can’t be scared away and once Iraqis take over their own country we’ll have no further justification to attack them!”

What more eloquent payback than to make al-Qaeda live with the fact that its murder of 3,000 innocent Americans resulted in the first Arab democracy in history.

Imagine! An Arab democracy.

One good apple ruins the whole rotten bunch.


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And that entire argument makes me feel like an adult driver with a backseat full of kids squabbling urgently and endlessly over "Which is colder, Alaska or the winter?" Back in the Boy Scouts we sang a campfire song about "The Happy Sunday School" in which all were urged...
Tuesday, 17 February 2004 12:00 AM
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