Thursday, July 5, 2007

Getting it Exactly Wrong

It was absolutely breathtaking. I could not believe what I was hearing. It was precisely, quintessentially backwards. Utterly and completely wrong, a perfect 180º off from reality.

Yesterday, addressing a captive audience of National Guardsmen, he compared the war in Iraq to our own revolutionary war – but he recast the roles. The invaders are the good guys and the homegrown insurgents are the bad guys.

The president, who was accompanied by senior adviser Karl Rove, began his remarks by comparing today's soldiers to those who fought in the Revolutionary War.

The president mentioned Adam Stephen, a Revolutionary War general who founded Martinsburg, a city of 15,000 in the panhandle of West Virginia. "We give thanks for all the brave citizen-soldiers of our Continental Army who dropped pitchforks and took up muskets to fight for our freedom and liberty and independence," Bush said. He added: "You're the successors of those brave men. . . . Like those early patriots, you're fighting a new and unprecedented war."

Good lord, does he actually believe that load of bovine effluent? Does he really?

If so, it is begging for an accurate historical compare and contrast.

Prior to the War for Independence (the actual revolution, according to Madison, having taken place in the hearts and minds of the people) the British sent the fleet into Boston, and attempted to “shock and awe” the colonists into compliance with the crown. It didn’t work on Bostonians then, and it didn’t work on the residents of Baghdad in 2003.

The colonists adopted guerrilla tactics to counter a much larger and superior army, and wear down the will of the English to continue the fight led by Mad King George. The more effective the guerrillas became, the more brutal the English army became. Then, like now, the increased brutality of the invading forces just serves to anger the natives and strengthen their resolve.

The parallels are there for the drawing, they just aren’t the ones that Mad King George wishes they were. There is even a “resource war” parallel. England was on the brink of the industrial revolution, and timber and coal were plentiful here, scarce there. Rather like oil and Iraq today.

In the narrative this Mad King George insanely tries to sell, the invaders are righteous and the local populations are evil. Exactly the opposite as the story the way we learned it in civics class. And then there is the parallel of George, the mad potentate, the most incompetent leader in the history of the nation, who mismanaged the war, constantly changed the objectives and failed to truly support his troops.

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