According to a recent poll, 64% of Americans think your Iraq enterprise wasn’t worth it, to which the enlightened leader can only respond, “So what!”
The people who take these polls, and the people who believe they mean something, have no understanding of the synthetic realpolitik that drives our foreign policy. There is a fetid bubble of flatulence (How sweet the smell!) called The Beltway where corporomeisters pluck the world’s strings to create the discordant cries of the suffering that mark the march of civilization. The tune it plays is called “The Washington Consensus”, and the truth is that any country that refuses to dance to this tune will soon be crushed beneath the Invisible Hand of the Market, a relentless force so powerful that it exceeds even that of God and Allah.
The Beltway says we stay in Iraq because it is all about hubris. Hubris is an essential component of our foreign policy because hubris makes possible the moral atrophy that is so necessary to achieve and hold on to power. Hubris finds its justification in this power, a power that must constantly grow and expand for fear of the weakness that is seen as its only possible alternative. Morality is the millstone that keeps power earthbound. To soar, power must cut it loose.
What a joy it is to be freed of the pangs remorse that can rob one of sleep and well-being. To be able to contemplate a child’s death by starvation with nary a twinge of guilt is sublime. (Mind you, I said “contemplate”, not witness. Himmler planned death on a grand scale, but the only time he actually witnessed it, he puked all over his boots.)
The writer Arundhati Roy quotes Robert McNamara who said, “The question is, how much evil do you have to do in order to do good?” That pretty well explains everything. If evil is committed in the name of good, there is no good but only evil, which attaches itself like a parasite to the good that no longer is and in doing so becomes part and parcel of the illusionary good that was the justification for evil in the first place. Evil committed for the sake of evil pales beside that committed for the sake of good.
The ultimate good is economic development and growth. So good is this good that any evil committed to advance it is, by definition, good in that it rationalizes the death and destruction that must always accompany this development. You summed it up in 2006 when you said, “Iraq is no diversion; it is the place where civilization is taking a decisive stance against chaos and terror—and we must not waver.”
And “civilization”, as we all know, is a synonym for The Washington Consensus, and the broken bones and shattered bodies of the uncivilized are the fertilizer that facilitates its growth. This is what makes Iraq and Afghanistan so thrilling—they are the first of the Great Corporatist Wars of the twenty-first century.