Friday, March 23, 2007

Dear Mister Matthews....

Posted: Monday, March 19, 2007 5:06 PM by Hardball
Chris Matthews

The lazy story of the Iraq War is that nobody expected it.
Nobody thought it would be so unpopular.  Nobody thought it would cause so much division in this country.  Nobody thought it would cause so much of the world to condemn us.
But leaders are not supposed to be nobodies.  They’re supposed to know things.

We ought to have known that going into Iraq would lack the world support that President Bush’s father enjoyed in the Persian Gulf War.  It was clear as early as December of 2001 that going into Iraq would “forfeit” the global support we enjoyed in the weeks after September 11.  It would mean “a hard division” here at home.  I just came across those assessments I made back then as a columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle:

"By the late summer of 2002, even before Congress voted to authorize the Iraq War, a Washington Post poll showed that division beginning to show itself. Asked whether they supported war if it would involve “significant casualties,” 51 percent, said “no.”   Okay, we were fifty-fifty on the war even six months before the shooting started."

People like to say on this fourth anniversary of the war that we never thought it would this bloody.  But in the Aug. 25, 2002, column where I quoted this poll number, I painted a vivid scenario of what would follow after the promised “cake walk” of the actual invasion.

“Our troops in Baghdad morph into a constabulary force. Their mission: guard streets, shoot snipers, arrest the suspicious, keep order, find the Hussein loyalists, round up the members of his ruling party, root out plots, battle the terrorists.”

The way our enemies in the Islamic world would exploit our occupation of Iraq was equally predictable.  

 “A mission to attack one isolated enemy will end up isolating us. A mission justified by the fight with terrorism will give birth to millions of terrorist-supporting haters.  In every cafĂ© from Manila to Casablanca, just whom do you think they will be rooting for?  Just whom will their kids be killing themselves for?”

We Americans have lost over 3,000 of our young people.  24,000 have been wounded.  One estimate by Johns Hopkins University has the count at 139,000 Iraqis dead in this war.

What part of this was hard to predict?  That an invaded country would resent, resist and finally fight the invader?  That the Shia would fight the Sunni?  That America would not end up taking the blame?

 It was all predictable. 


Now, Let Me tell you what I really think.
(the real nobodies)

People, you know them Chris, the little guys who say this country is all they got. Got us into this war. The short sighted, lacking nuance, Cowboy and Indians mentality.

The people who thought revenge was needed for 9/11 but wouldn't know that Revenge is a dish best served cold. Doubtful they would know who de la Clos was?

And here we are today looking at Reagan who has a tear rolling down his face? How blithely ironic and truly un-deconstructed that image is today in face of our war of consumer choice.

Because it is our war fought with our generation's attitude, and our generation's skill. You not only go to war with the army you have, you also go to war with the country you have...

But French knew, the Germans knew, and I would venture somewhere inside you, knew too...

Regardless, we got the war we wanted, fought the way we wanted, and no matter how blue in the face I or the few others yelled it was a mistake... The country wanted war on the cheap, like a pair of Chinese made socks from WalMart we buy on credit.

Well, Let me tell you Mister Matthews what I really think...

It's the 21st century, and we are all connected, the rules have changed even if the mentality of the little guy hasn't...Video of your sex exploits would have killed a career 20-30 years ago, today it gets you TV series, Mosques are network hubs with no barrier to class, while our Cellphone networks discriminate against those outside our circle of friends... We now see the rise of the social capital entrepreneur, that uses grand exploits to increase their social net worth, and uses the dense network of communication and social networks intermeshed to achieve whatever selfish goals they wish to perpetrate.Or don't baby boomer watch YouTube?

And yet it is the nobodies sir, who got us into this. It is the nobodies who will die for it also.
And it will be the nobodies who can't see or understand that there is very little difference between the rise of a Paris Hilton in the United States and the rise of Osama Bin Laden in the Middle East... Both members of the new social capital entrepreneur class..

It is new terrain, and the nobodies are lost. And while you whine and complain, and ignore your sweet walks down country roads with the civilian corporal henchmen who helped sell the nobodies, this bloody mess, the responsibility lies squarely on your head...

Because just like a typical baby boomer your indignation comes in small individually wrapped sanitized bite size pieces for consumption.

And because of that, you sir, you by being another commodity in this 21st century of the networked information age have an apology not to me, or your fans, but to the nobodies. The nobodies with their arms blown off, their skulls popped open, their legs turned to stubs.

Tell them, no really, seriously walk out of your office, and don't stop walking till you get to the first VA hospital and tell them... I am sure you'll bond immediately, I mean, you avoided the draft, had Republican parents, look them in their little guy eyes...

Do me one favor, when you tell them sitting in their cockroach infested beds, who's buddies died inflight over Germany, and remind them that their ideas of good guys and bad guys, and 9/11 revenge all of it is just a bunch of crap. Tell them that is what got their leg blown off. It's nuanced, yet their reaction may just be predictable as the wars outcome...

So keep the cameras rolling Chris Matthews. Keep the cameras rolling...


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