Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 2

In Truth, Convincing Americans Wasn’t Hard

Americans hated Saddam. Everybody hated Saddam. He unleashed chemical weapons on his own people in 1988. Uday, Saddam’s son, was in charge of the nation’s athletic programs and treated his flock as poorly as his father treated the rest of the country. Torture and murder by the regime was prolific and horrific. The accounts rendered by those who survived can keep you up at night. Most Americans had heard some of these accounts.

This was why, when Cheney and McCain proclaimed their belief that the U.S. would be greeted as liberators, most of us agreed. Who wouldn’t want their tyrannical dictator overthrown, killed or brought to justice?

This assumption goes to the very root of the ignorance of the majority of Americans regarding the war – which is fairly excusable. But it isn’t excusable for the administration not to have educated themselves on the culture, religion and politics of Iraq to delve deeper – beyond the atrocities of Saddam.

This should have been one of the main lessons from the Vietnam War. Understand your enemy, understand the field of war, understand anything and everything related to a military action that will certainly result in the loss of life. Vietnam introduced us to guerrilla warfare and the end of state-to-state conflict as we had known it across a millennium. One of the main reasons the U.S. failed so demonstrably in Vietnam was that they did not understand who their enemy was and how they operated. And tens of thousands of Americans perished or faced abysmal futures because of it.

But Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and most of the neo-conservative hawks had never seen combat, many of them having gone to significant lengths to avoid the draft or stay out of the war. And men who have experienced military conflict firsthand are more reticent to engage, or send others to engage in warfare.

Had I been older, had I understood the lessons of our past, perhaps I would have been more dubious about going to war. But I wasn’t and I didn’t and I was just another ignoramus watching as the drums beat louder and louder.

So, we start with an ignorant American public and combine it with an ignorant presidential administration with ties to oil companies, a decade-old grudge and a commander-in-chief who would chew broken glass if it prevented him from appearing weak. All they needed was a catalyst.

September 11, 2001. Al Qaeda attacks the World Trade Center and the Pentagon successfully. An attempt on The White House is averted by a number of brave souls in the skies over Pennsylvania.

Now, the Bush administration had an entire country suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, ready for revenge. It could not have been more perfect.

Next Up:

The War Goes Bad Fast

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 1

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 3

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 4

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3 Responses to Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 2

  1. Pingback: Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 1 « Sassy Liberal

  2. Pingback: Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 3 « Sassy Liberal

  3. Pingback: Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 4 | Sassy Liberal

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