Demanding what you deny exists
Posted by aogSaturday, 20 September 2003 at 09:24 TrackBack Ping URL

I was listening to NPR this morning and they had an interview two putative experts, both of whom are in the US and not in Iraq. This being NPR the picture they painted was uniformly dismal and a litany of American failures. The interviewer asked objective questions like “Have Army and Marine uniforms becomes symbols of incompetence and failure?”.

What an extraordinary thing it is that our country, after a successful war, has its media spends its time complaining that the invasion and occupation were not perfect and did not provide an immediate positive and uplifting experience for the defeated. How far we have come from the “total war” concepts that dominated warfare just a half century ago. It used to be that the local populace would worry about the victorious army raping, looting and burning. Now there is the sense that if the winners don’t instantly correct the effects of decades of misrule and neglect then the defeated have the right to feel aggreived. The very thought that the feelings of the citizens of the losing nation much matters is a concept of quite recent vintage.

But this isn’t really a sea change in international relationships, but something unilaterally imposed on the USA. No other nation (except perhaps Israel) is expected to be so scrupulous in their warmaking. This is truly American exceptionalism, a level of morality not matched elsewhere on the planet, created by the same people who view the USA as the ultimate font of badness in the world (not “evil” - that’s an obsolete concept). One is left wondering how those who think the latter can be so righteously demanding of the former.