December 02, 2006

Just Visiting

The parallels are striking, at least to this UnAmerican who's lived in America longer than many Americans: just as large parts of this country tend to think of the Vietnam war (if they think of that war at all) as a catastrophe visited upon an innocent United States, more and more people here seem to be seeing the US as some sort of innocent victim of the Iraq war. We're even starting to hear breathtakingly cynical calls for Iraqis to stop spongeing on the US and start taking responsibility for the catastrophe that somehow befell them.

Hence the debate here in the US over pulling out, so often entirely couched in terms of what's best for the US, with Iraq and the Iraqis as an afterthought or side effect, if mentioned at all. But even more so than with Vietnam, the US should think of itself as more than just visiting; the US, after all, isn't exactly a guest of the Iraqi people, it didn't just happen to drop by to help while the house was burning….

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