OPINION

Learning from history

The signs were clear from the start, but the arrogance of those drunk on power meant that they paid no heed to them. They had even decided to ignore the dead – and what’s more, the dead in their own ranks – as the enemy casualties were deemed to be no more than unimportant statistics. The signs showed that no people are willing to democratize through oppression and violence and under the eye of troops that spread horror because they are horrified themselves. The signs showed that occupation is always occupation, and hence provokes spontaneous or planned resistance regardless of the civilizing, missionary or liberating pretexts invoked to legitimize it. The signs showed that the barbaric Asia, which has for centuries been abused by Western colonial greed, would not yield as easily as the military planners had it. However, omens are meant for the people and not for humans who portray themselves as gods or their representatives. War in Iraq began immediately after it was officially declared over. And this is not only reflected in the death toll. The Americans, already under fire as none of their charges against Iraq has been verified (no weapons of mass destruction have been found, no connection between Saddam and 9/11 has been established), admit that they did not expect that much resistance. It would be premature to say whether Iraq will be «another Vietnam» for the US. For sure, the ideological context is very different: There is no antagonism between rival superpowers as Washington’s hegemony is unmatched and the anti-war demonstrations in the US are smaller and less passionate than those that marked the 1960s and the 1970s. The commonly accepted dogma that «we learn from history» will be judged from whether it will once again take 10 years for the occupying forces to disengage.