Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Who Will Be Left Behind?

This links to an article about how the U.S. occupiers will decide which among their Iraqi supporters to bring back to America, when the occupation ends. Troubling.

I know the war must be stopped, and that the troops are inflaming the situation, and also that the civil war will not stop immediately upon American withdrawal, and, in fact, it's likely Iran and Syria and Turkey will step into the vacuum and a wider Middle East war will probably ensue, and that, in turn, will probably draw in other nations until it's a world war, which it already is.

But how to quickly limit and turn off that future bloodletting is the question, which always brings me back to the fact that you can't speak against war while participating in it, and you can't advocate other ways of being with people without living those beliefs and building the networks they will need for support and effective action.

The story also reminded me of Robert Fisk's remarks about how the whole war would have gone differently if the U.S. had offered every Iraqi citizen the option to become an American citizen as soon as Baghdad fell (the first time) in May 2003, as the Romans made all their conquered people Roman citizens. I don't know my history well enough, and have only the impression that Roman brutality outweighed Roman expansiveness as far as citizenship, but I think Fisk is probably right.

If the Iraqis were American citizens, with full citizenship rights, things would be better than the almost incomprehensible mess they are now. Because extrapolating that policy out and applying it to everyone, as one must when analyzing the morality and efficacy of any policy, would make all the world's people truly entitled to the same rights held, albeit imperfectly, by every American citizen right now. Maybe they would feel, at first, like a new form of colonial victims, and that America had simply annexed territory by proxy citizens. But it's likely the empowering ideas of America's actual Constitution and Bill of Rights would quickly take hold, and support organized popular self-determination movements.

We're either headed that way, or toward complete hand-to-hand combat all over the world. So I keep working toward spreading the empowerment and sense of shared future, and toward undermining the alternative of power concentration and sense of every man for himself alone. And I hope they'll bring a lot of the Iraqis here.


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