At the heart of America’s post 9/11 foreign policy is the thesis that all countries are desirous first and foremost of freedom and with it free elections. America sees itself as the divinely appointed messenger and implementer of this objective despite experience to the contrary.
Since WWII. America has been engaged in several wars with the explicit end of freeing oppressed peoples from the yoke of tyrants and non-democratic ideologies. Yet, how many of these efforts have met with success and had the long term approval of the populace?
The most stunning setback to these principals came with the Vietnam War, a war fought to prevent the home-grown communist movement of North Vietnam taking over a “free” South Vietnam. The upshot of ten years of conflict was that not only did the North have the unqualified support of its people; eventually a significant portion of the population in South turned on its American defenders and sided with its fellow Vietnamese from the North. Better them they said than the corrupt South Vietnamese government funded and propped up militarily by a foreign culture and armed forces. Whatever the crimes committed by the repressive regimes, the people seemingly preferred their native sons ruling them to foreigners.
Subsequently, after the ignominious defeat of the United States, the passion for intervening in other such regimes was cooled but only for brief period of time. Then as memory of Vietnam dimmed, came small easy targets such as Grenada, Panama, Haiti and Somalia. Even of these victories, there are few successes to boast. Since then, Haiti has reverted time and again to a self inflicted tyranny and Somalia became a disaster seldom mentioned today by the proponents of wars of liberation. However, these virtually uncontested conflicts restored America’s belief in its superiority, both moral and military, and the stage was set for more ambitious targets.
Not having learned from the misadventure in Vietnam, the US once again embarked on the same failed policy, allegedly to liberate the Iraqi people from the murderous despot Saddam Hussein and to save the world from his enormous stockpile of WMD. Now two years after the invasion, the United States are ensnared once again in an unwinnable war, one more brutal than Vietnam.
This war, having liberated the peoples of Iraq from Saddam Hussein, has, now, unleashed far more dangerous forces than the now discredited threat of WMD in that country. In addition, the Iraqi War of Liberation has exacerbated already existing resentment of America and carved an even deeper divide between the world of Islam and Christianity. The hatred of Saddam by people of Iraq has been supplanted by their loathing of America. As bad as Saddam was, more and more Iraqis are of the opinion that life, on the whole was better before the “liberation”. They had electricity, water, security. Their children could attend school and the people walk the streets and enjoy an evening in restaurants without fear of suicide bombers or being the victim a stray bullet from foreign occupation forces. There were no Al-Qaeda in Iraq, no “foreign fighters”.
Now, the country has become a free fire zone, and a launching pad for terrorism and destabilisation throughout the Middle East. This War of Liberation mounted by the United States will serve only one purpose and that is to discredit America and the concept of Democracy.