Here’s an interesting piece on Kanan Makiya, one of the wonderful ‘intellectuals’ that helped get us into the Iraq war. This part really struck me:
That the Americans committed error after error in Iraq, Makiya takes as a given: their biggest mistake, he maintains, was the decision to occupy Iraq and govern the country themselves, rather than allowing the Iraqis to take over. “I did not want to see the United States micromanage Iraqi affairs because, I feared, that is where things might go wrong,” he said.
Uh, dude? It doesn’t take a heck of a lot of brainpower to understand that this was the plan all along.
Hell, just open up any edition of the Weekly Standard and you’ll see brazen calls for America to transform itself into a 19th Century imperial power. Here, I’ll help you find some examples. Like this one, from Max Boot:
The irony is that there is no shortage of U.S. experts in all these fields, in and out of government, many of them veterans of prior peacekeeping operations. What is lacking is a central office that can marshal their expertise. We need to create a colonial office–fast.
Of course, it cannot be called that. It needs an anodyne euphemism such as Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. But it should take its inspiration, if not its name, from the old British Colonial Office and India Office. Together, these two institutions ran large swaths of the world with a handful of bright, honest, industrious civil servants. They had an enormous impact, given the small numbers involved; there were seldom more than 1,000 members of the Indian civil service to administer hundreds of millions of Indians. Like its British predecessors, the U.S. colonial service needs to be an elite civilian agency that can call on forces for assistance where appropriate.
Boot adds in some weaselly nonsense at the end about how we shouldn’t really become like the British empire, but rather we should merely learn from how we operated. In other places, though, he’s much more explicit:
Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.
There’s also this:
What is the greatest danger facing America as it tries to rebuild Iraq: Shiite fundamentalism? Kurdish separatism? Sunni intransigence? Turkish, Syrian, Iranian or Saudi Arabian meddling?
All of those are real problems, but none is so severe that it can’t readily be handled. More than 125,000 American troops occupy Mesopotamia. They are backed up by the resources of the world’s richest economy. In a contest for control of Iraq, America can outspend and outmuscle any competing faction.
The greatest danger is that we won’t use all of our power for fear of the “I” word–imperialism.
And of course there’s this classic by Jonathan Last:
STAR WARS RETURNS today with its fifth installment, “Attack of the Clones.” There will be talk of the Force and the Dark Side and the epic morality of George Lucas’s series. But the truth is that from the beginning, Lucas confused the good guys with the bad. The deep lesson of Star Wars is that the Empire is good.
Here’s another good one that laments the withdrawal of European imperial powers from Africa.
These people are old-skewl Imperialists, buddy, and they’re quite open about it. They don’t have your country’s best interests at heart — they simply believe they’re entitled to rule the world.