Friday, February 02, 2007

Krauthammer: Blame in a War like This

Today is Friday, or as it is regarded in the SWNID household, Charles Krauthammer Day. The fog of world affairs lifts for readers of his exquisite, every-Friday column, especially with a column like today's.

SWNID warms to Krauthammer because his analysis drinks deep at the wells of history and understanding of human nature. Like those explicitly informed by the notion of human sinfulness, Dr. K considers both the noble capacity and deep weaknesses of human beings. He also stands sufficiently apart from the moment to consider how the past, displaying human potential and depravity, puts the present in perspective. In the present environment, that makes his opinions contrary to the mainstream, delighting our hard, cold, contrarian heart.

Krauthammer's subject today is, not surprisingly, the Iraq War and its assessment. Specifically he wonders why a successfully fought battle in Najaf is seen by so many as a sign of the failure of American policy. His reply deserves reading in full (reminder to gentle readers: anything linked on this blog is thus deserving). But we offer this most insightful of excerpts:

Iraqis were given their freedom, and yet many have chosen civil war. Among all these religious prejudices, ancient wounds, social resentments and tribal antagonisms, who gets the blame for the rivers of blood? You can always count on some to find the blame in America. "We did not give them a republic," insists Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria. "We gave them a civil war."

Of all the accounts of the current situation, this is by far the most stupid. And the most pernicious. Did Britain "give" India the Hindu-Muslim war of 1947-48 that killed a million souls and ethnically cleansed 12 million more? The Jewish-Arab wars in Palestine? The tribal wars of post-colonial Uganda?

We gave them a civil war? Why? Because we failed to prevent it? Do the police in America have on their hands the blood of the 16,000 murders they failed to prevent last year?

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