Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

The Reconstruction of Iraq

April 5, 2006

President Bush carried every state of the old Confederacy in 2004, most by substantial margins. White people in those states have generally supported the President’s Iraq policies by greater margins than people in the rest of the country.

Which is odd, because most white Southerners are familiar with some portrayal or other of Reconstruction, which was the 12-year period (1865-1877) after the American Civil War when federal martial law was either a reality or a plausible threat throughout the defeated South.

Given that familiarity, why did so many white Southerners think it would be a “cakewalk” for Iraq to be invaded to free one people from the persecution of another? Or for it to be occupied by federal troops convinced of their moral superiority and with no understanding of or sympathy for the local mores? Or for the right of self-government to be first withheld completely, then granted only subject to military sufferance? Or for the existing elites to be disenfranchised in favor of carpetbagger exiles?

What did they think would happen? Did they think there would be no resistance; no equivalent of the original Ku Klux Klan? Did they think there would be no lynch mobs or brutal lawlessness? Do they think there will be no lasting bitterness; no “Iraq will rise again”?

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“Jacksonians”

April 2, 2006

A minor buzzword on the right wing of the blogosphere has been “Jacksonian”, used to describe populists who support the occupation of Iraq.

But anyone who is familiar with Andrew Jackson will know how bitterly he resented the British occupation of his native South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. Jackson blamed the rigors of the occupation for the deaths of his family. For the final 62 years of his life, he carried the scars he received from the sabre of a British officer whose boots he refused to clean, and his hatred of Great Britain never died.

Do the people who call themselves Jacksonians see the possibility that the American occupation of Iraq will prove as lastingly counter-productive as the British occupation of the nascent United States?

Another take on Fallujah

May 11, 2004

The blog Belmont Club has kept up a running commentary from late April through now on the military situation in Fallujah. It argues that the situation is nowhere near as bleak as the press is portraying it. Worth reading.

“They know only violence”

April 19, 2004

Kevin Drum points to a post by Matthew Yglesias about the stereotype that Arabs understand only violence and compulsion.

Sad to say, it is an old stereotype…

[A] host of preconceived inherited notions about the Algerian were accepted uncritically [by the French settlers of the 1950s], without examining either their veracity or causation: he was incorrigibly idle and incompetent; he only understood force; he was an innate criminal, and an instinctive rapist.

Alistair Horne, A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962; New York: Viking, 1978 [1977]; pg. 54

Send a soldier to a bowl game

December 11, 2003

The University of Houston football team will play in the Hawai’i Bowl on Christmas Day, but few Cougar fans will make the trip.

As a result, the UH athletic department (apparently taking an idea from CoogFans) is allowing people to buy tickets to the game for soldiers and sailors on duty in Hawai’i.

I bought a ticket today. I hope you’ll buy one as well.

And kudos to UH AD Dave Maggard — this promotion is typical of the smart, agile leadership he is providing to Cougar athletics.
[Link courtesy of Kevin Whited.]