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Iraq and the 60's

Discarded Lies is a pretty damned good site. It's unfortunate that it's largely known as a "second home" for some of the Little Green Footballs crowd, and it's so much more. It provides a great deal of analysis and thought on a variety of topics, and while the style is a bit not to my liking, it's a hell of a good read.

Right now, "Levi from Queens" has a piece up that definitely deserves a lot of attention.

A lot of people have said that Iraq has a lot in common with Viet Nam, and in general are having far more 60's flashbacks than is healthy. Levi (who knows a lot more history than I do) has taken a very, very careful look at the situation in Iraq, and is drawing his own parallel to the 60's. His conclusion: there are a lot of them, but the anti-war crowd is off by about a century.

I'm quite sure that a bunch of people know a lot more about that period in American history than I do, so I'll let you folks pick apart the details. But what I know about it matches up pretty good with Levi's accounting... and it oughta serve as a warning.


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Comments (3)

Ok, I'll bite. Bullshit.</p... (Below threshold)

Ok, I'll bite. Bullshit.

Iraq was under the control of a brutal dictator. The South seceded from an oppressive Federal government.

The South was subjected to punitive measures in the Reconstruction Acts that were designed to prevent future secession by breaking the government and economic bases of the "Rebel" states, not out of a desire to protect freedmen. The Union states had "black codes" too. Iraq has no such pressure, and will have no such pressure, unless Saddam's allowed to return to power and punish those who sided with the Westerners in his removal.

In Iraq, there is tension between tribes that greatly complicate political processes. In the US after the Civil War, there were numerous dissonant factions in any given political party, but they didn't see the need to resort to terroristic means to further their purposes.

The central point of his piece seems to be a comparison between the Ku Klux Klan and the Iraqi insurgency. This is either blatant ignorance or agenda-driven intellectual dishonesty. The original Klan (founded by six Confederate veterans shortly after the War) was nothing like the "second movement" which began in the early 20th century at Stone Mountain (William J. Simmons). The purposes of that original formation were to disrupt the blatant abuses to which the Southern citizens were subjected after the war through the Reconstruction acts. Further, the original Klan was typically very nonviolent, in stark contrast to the violence perpetrated and facilitated by the Federal Government against whites. A little internet poking will reveal a drastically different picture of Reconstruction than you'll find in the current crop of "history" books. General Nathan Bedford Forrest (Grand Wizard at the time) ordered the Klan disbanded in 1869, so this original entity was very short-lived.

As an aside, don't take the above paragraph as any sort of defense of the present-day Klan. The group's name was essentially hijacked at Stone Mountain, and is currently no more than a bunch of inbred idiots. I cite the above woefully brief history only to demonstrate a tremendous inconsistency between reality and the picture painted by the post in question of a "band of terrorists" which sprang from the ashes of the Civil War.

Now, where was that parallel again? Not since the Crusades has a war been fought between ideologies rather than between nations. Unfortunately, the side of the conflict on which we find ourselves have been "over-civilized" to the point that we probably no longer have the stomach for the level of brutality necessary to win.

I think another major incon... (Below threshold)

I think another major inconsistency is the parallel of the ethnic groups in Iraq and the various groups in the post-Civil War South. I find it hard to believe that the coastal/piedmont planters and the Scotch-Irish were driven by their ethnic identifications as much as by the fact that their regional and economic interests coincided (the freedmen, of course, did have specific ethnic interests.) I'm not an expert on the Civil War, but I find it hard to believe that a coastal/piedmont planter would oppose someone who shared his views simply because he was Scottish. Certainly not the way a Kurd would oppose a Sunni.

Freedmen also had an option not available to Iraqis. They could relocate to Northern cities, as many of them did, and still be citizens of the US. Although there was certainly racism in the North, I don't believe it was anywhere as oppressive as the Reconstruction South. I find it hard to believe that relocating to Tehran is as attractive an option.

Although there was certa... (Below threshold)

Although there was certainly racism in the North, I don't believe it was anywhere as oppressive as the Reconstruction South.

You'd be surprised. Contemporary reports indicate that a lot of freedmen and escapees found that being "invisible" up North was pretty damned oppressive. Many said that even as slaves they at least were seen and acknowledged by Southern whites, but Northern whites, aside from those who had helped them get out of the South, simply pretended they weren't there.

Mind you, they didn't turn right around and go back to the South because of it -- but the racism was there, and it wasn't any better. Just different.






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