How could we possibly tell?
How could we tell whether we've ended up being at war with the natural defenses of the indigenous dessert community of
Back when it was ghostly quiet in Iraq, the days and weeks following our invasion, the fall of Baghdad and our scattering of the structures of government, the first sign of independent organization arising in that land were the scattered crazy desert renegades running out into the open and shooting at the passing massive army of ‘liberation’. Our guys thought that was really hilarious and mowed them down. Then a few days later they came out in two’s, and then in four’s, this time hiding behind the burning wrecks. As their style evolved it exhibited the classic easily recognizable progression of exponential growth. At that time in our own internal political conversation we were still deceived by an illusion that
What should you say when you’re in an unfamiliar situation and see evidence of growth in response. Well, the thing you usually say about a really big important learning experience is “ah ha!” because growth is clear concrete and reliable evidence of something much bigger going on. We should have said the obvious, “take me to your leader, you are people we need to include in returning Iraq to it’s natural owners, we apologize for mistaking you for someone else in the confusion”. There was a real window of opportunity that we missed.
What we chose to say about it, and still choose, is to call them ‘thugs’, trying the same trick of character assassination that has been so productive for our political establishment throughout it’s rise to power. It’s a great little shortcut to power to slay your opponents with self aggrandizing insults, but it makes the natural world your enemy.