Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Hayden's article is systematic and thorough. He is also right to analyze the concept of "The Long War" in terms of Kagan's and others' analogy with the the wars against the American Indians. Perhaps in the next installment he will expand the analysis. Three important points are unmentioned.

First, Hayden makes no mention of the neocons' plans for a "New American Century," which specifically contemplated long-term US intervention not only in Iraq but in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is at this point difficult to tell whether like-minded imperialists in the Democratic Party are after a slightly different version of the same policy. But the idea that the US has any long-term interest in Afghanistan or Pakistan suggests that Obama has been mesmerized into continuing the same imperialist policy under a different name.

Second, the neocons, who are in the gist of their policies half Zionist and half British Imperialist, in many ways provided, in their anti-Arab and then anti-Muslim tendencies, an equivalent to the Manifest Destiny that served as the overall ideology behind the genocide of American native peoples. By the late nineteenth century, the same imperialist ideology had expanded to the Philippines. And it is more than an accident that many of the US troops sent to butcher Aguinaldo and natives like the Moros were veterans of the Indian Wars, with the same attitude toward the Filipinos as they had had toward the supposed native "savages." This attitude, by the way, resurfaced in Korea and Vietnam, and thoroughly permeates much of the American military in regard to Iraqis, Afghans, and soon enough perhaps, Pakistanis.

Third, Hayden's analysis opens the way to seeing the essential flaw in a new "Long War" policy in the Middle East, though he does not mention it in this section of the essay (which he notes will be continued). It is actually quite simple: in Islam the "tribes" that the US considers "savages" and backward have a unifying element that the native American tribes did not have, allowing loose but intense unity against an aggressor whose dominant culture is at odds with its own.

However cynical their motives, the neocons and Zionists and other Straussians callously began a religious war against Islam, mustering the American fundamental Christians in their ranks. In fact, they began something neither they nor the US can ever win, not only for reasons of logistics and terrain, but also of culture and religion.

One looks forward to the next installment, which one might suggest be entitled, "The Long Defeat."

Eugene Costa

Chicago, IL

May 12 2009 - 10:44am

Web Letter

Well written, and largely well reasoned. But... one side alone can't make peace, even in an atomic-war situation.

This article does not show any hope, or any way to deal with people who think it is proper to throw battery acid in the eyes of little girls who want to go to school. How do you deal with that?

Protecting schools, hospitals and other positive growth requires military muscle. Protecting the protectors' living quarters requires more protection.

"Work for peace" sounds good, but how can we do that effectively on the ground?

This article is absolutely vacant of positive ideas to help better the situation against an enemy like the Taliban or Al Qaeda.

How would the author go about protecting those schoolgirls? I'd like an answer, and so would we all.

Without a serious answer, the whole point has departed into what-if, dreams and wisps of fantasy. Without a solid proposal, there is no coherence and the author cannot be taken seriously.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

May 8 2009 - 2:02am

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.