Saturday, June 02, 2007

Busting the "Pottery Barn Rule" Applied to Iraq

You Did Not Buy It When You Broke It

I did not even realize until now how this you-break-it-you-buy-it "We have to fix Iraq, since we caused so much damage" epitomizes the America-as-world-cop concept.

Yes, we broke Iraq. We invaded a sovereign nation, toppled its government, killed and still are killing its citizens.

I believe it is moral to respond that we must undo the harm we inflicted. Do wrong, try to make it better.

But my reply to that assertion has always been that we can't, in this case. We're simply not equipped. I realized after reading this entry at Big Brass Blog that what I'm really saying is that the conclusion that we must undo the harm we've inflicted is a poisonous one, as it's rooted in the same world-cop, white-man's-burden, what have you, concept that let us think we could blithely invade another country in the first place.

So here is my conclusion: we broke Iraq. That makes us -- America -- the one people who can't fix it. Some other organization or country might be able to, I don't know. But we'll never know, especially if we don't get out.

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