September 28, 2003

More powerful than the Atom Bomb ...

Lexington Green at Chicago Boyz thinks that our attempts to change Iraq are a betrayal of Bush's Jacksonian supporters.

...What Mead is getting at is that Bush's core Jacksonian supporters are not happy with the way things are going. Mead wrote this in June. Now, in September, it is much worse. Jacksonians like me were not real happy that this war was even called "Operation Iraqi Liberation", for example. I don't think it would ever have been worth sending American troops in somewhere solely because they had a horrible government. That's their problem. I think we should send our troops in somewhere because it is to the benefit of the United States that we do so...
Jacksonians are always reluctant to have us go to war or get involved with furriners. But when our country is attacked, they are ready to apply any amount of murderous violence, and they despise anything less than total victory. (Which probably saves lives in the long run.) The fire bombings that left Tokyo in rubble as far as the eye could see in any direction were the essence of Jacksonian warfare.

But I think in this case Mr Green is being a short-sighted Jacksonian. We are not trying to bring freedom to Iraq out of altruism, but because freedom is a weapon of enormous power. The Capitalism and Globalization and Democracy that we are dousing Iraq with are are almost unimaginably corrosive and destructive. If allowed to work for even a few years they will be a cataclysm analogous to the Neutron Bomb. But instead of killing people but leaving everything else intact, like a Neutron bomb does, they will kill traditional ways of thought and culture, but leave the people intact. Totally brain-zapped, but alive. You know how at Disneyland there's the "Old West" with Injuns and steamboats and such? If our weapon is allowed to do its obliterations, in twenty or thirty years the Iraqis will be building theme parks, with tribal sheiks and Fedayeen and camels...

The terrorists all come out of repressive and backward regimes. Have you noticed that, although India has more Muslims than almost anywhere, none of them seem to be turning up in Al Quada? It's probably because they get to vote against their leaders if they are unhappy.

I personally am a Wilsonian with a strong Jacksonian strain. I find the present situation most amazingly delicious. "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" For the first time in my life I am perfectly in tune with American foreign policy. The cream of the jest is that Jacksonians like Bush have seized a Wilsonian program as a Weapon of Mass Destruction! Actually they didn't seize it, the "Neocons," a very Wilsonian bunch, sold it to the administration as just that. But I like to imagine Woodrow Wilson, prickly, proper, pince-nezed, stiffly holding some elaborate brass clockwork gadget, and having some raw-boned squirrel-hunting Jacksonian type grab it, saying, "Gimme that. I'll show you how we can ketch us some RATS with this here thang!"

And come to think, since the Globalization that is part of our cluster-bomb is a Hamiltonian project, we have three of the four themes of American foreign policy coming into conjunction. Sort of Mars-Jupiter-Saturn. Pity the poor Jeffersonians. It's not a happy time for them.

* By the way, I totally disapprove of the mass bombings of German and Japanese cities. But they did have one huge benefit. Nothing makes people ready to abandon their old ideas and be open to new ones like digging in the rubble that was once your capitol, looking for scraps of tin to keep the rain off...

Posted by John Weidner at September 28, 2003 7:30 PM
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