Thursday, November 30, 2006

When Riverbend last posted, from inside Iraq, more than one blogger expressed relief that she was still, well, not all right... but alive. It's been nearly a month, and once again, we're starting to wonder. I'm tempted to send email asking about her, but timid wimp that I am, I'm not sure whether I fear more no response at all, or something like this:

Yes, death hasn't come for me yet. And so I'm pleased to be able to tell you so, so that you'll feel better. Goodness knows that, in the middle of the chaos you have made, with funeral outings (when we dare) more frequent than shopping trips, the most I have to worry about is how a bunch of safe, self-satisfied westerners feel about it all. The uncertainty you feel about me is what I feel about everyone I have ever known. You don't like it? Tough shit. Deal with it.

Not precisely like that, of course --- I really don't think it's her style to say, "Tough shit". But something close.

And it's less and less obvious what Americans --- the army, the president, civilians, any Americans at all --- could do for her with the best will and (for once) open eyes and a decent plan. It's increasingly clear that Dubya invaded without any sensible plan at all for the aftermath. They really believed that the influence of the American army would somehow cause a functioning, friendly state to spontaneously arise. And so, when the mainstream press was dominated by administration talking points about parades with flowers and candy, it was easy to marginalize pessimistic liberal bloggers who were talking about an occupation. Likewise, when the mainstream press was talking about an occupation, and pessimistic liberal bloggers were talking about civil war. Now, as the mainstream press is starting, timidly, to acknowledge the reality of civil war, the talk in the comment sections of liberal blogs is of an American Dien Bien Phu. It's not like the French didn't try to warn us.

The American grunts, most of them, of course do not deserve this. But having tolerated this administration for so long, what of the country?


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