History threatens to repeat itself

By on December 4, 2003

An editorial written by Geoff Sawyer entitled “Still fighting unjust war was recently published in The Chronicle. No further specification on which unjust war was needed. In reading the article, we see the arguments made by critics of the Bush Administration’s decision to invade Iraq last spring. It would be great if that were the half of it. The truth is that while our nation is growing ever farther away from September 11, 2001 and our troops have been stationed in Iraq for the better part of a year, George W. Bush is still cashing in on what he has seen as a blank check for war against perceived enemies.

Pfc. Jessica Lynch will go down in history as the face that rallied a nation around the war effort, and will now serve as an example of the innocence we have lost as a nation. The small-town girl, captured behind enemy lines fought to the last bullet while being bayoneted and shot, and yet, survived to be captured. It couldn’t have been written any better. Now that she is back on American soil, Pfc. Lynch’s story has taken some dark turns. She never fired her weapon. She may have been raped. Her dramatic rescue, which was conveniently caught on tape, was staged. Her liberators were said to have fired blanks back at imaginary attackers. So while her capture served to rally a nation, her rescue and recovery inspires questions of just what else about this war was exaggerated.

She is not a hero. At least she is not in the Audie Murphy or John F. Kennedy sense. Her story was manipulated by a government seeking a reason and approval for their actions. She is a prime example of how our military was used in Iraq, and now, she is even more so a victim of this war.

And then there was that one summer day when the world woke up to their morning coffee and the blood-spattered corpses of the infamous Uday and Qusay Hussein staring up at them from the paper. American forces were tipped off on where the pair, along with Saddam’s 14 year-old grandson and a bodyguard, were staying and immediately surrounded their sanctuary. A firefight had commenced and it became obvious that nobody was ever intended to leave that house alive. It is a paradox, hypocrisy, injustice. It is an abuse of our constitution and those of every free government. These men, wanted men, were due a trial, not a cruise missile through the house window. Even the Nazis got a trial after what is now most likely to be our nation’s last honorable victory for a while. Instead, Uday and Qusay’s sentences came in the form of American firepower, which would have been considerably less outrageous had the pictures not been displayed for the world to see as if George Bush was King Edward I arrogantly displaying the severed head of Scottish patriot William Wallace. Yeah, we all know what happened at the end of that movie. Do yourself a favor and rent it, Dubya.

Our occupation of Iraq has been compared to that of Germany after World War II. Well, that is not entirely accurate. A more apt comparison might be the Nazi occupation of pretty much all of Europe during that war. During a half decade of occupation, untrained and outnumbered groups of European resistance fighters terrorized their German invaders, even after their own military and government had surrendered. Winning their hearts and minds was impossible. Our current situation in Iraq is appearing quite similar. Think of how you would feel seeing foreign soldiers patrolling your neighborhood with M-16’s slung over their shoulders.

In closing, I am reminded how history repeats itself. I also remember how those who forget history are the ones performing the repetition, but most of all, I think of a Muslim phrase that I learned from a friend. The exact words escape me, but it warns one to be careful about whom he names as his enemy for fear of becoming him. Those directing the occupation of Iraq would be well-advised to heed these sayings lest our stay end in disaster rather than freedom.


About Beau Miller