Skip to comments.'What have Americans ever done for us?'
Posted on 03/07/2005 8:30:32 AM PST by Alex Marko
ONE OF MY favourite cinematic moments is the scene in Monty Pythons Life of Brian when Reg, aka John Cleese, the leader of the Peoples Front of Judea, is trying to whip up anti-Roman sentiment among his team of slightly hesitant commandos. What have the Romans ever done for us? he asks.
Well, theres the aqueduct, somebody says, thoughtfully. The sanitation, says another. Public order, offers a third. Reg reluctantly acknowledges that there may have been a couple of benefits. But then steadily, and with increasing enthusiasm, his men reel off a litany of the good things the Romans have wrought with their occupation of the Holy Land.
By the time theyre finished theyre not so sure about the whole insurgency idea after all and an exasperated Reg tries to rally them: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
I cant help but think of that scene as I watch the contortions of the anti-American hordes in Britain, Europe and even in the US itself in response to the remarkable events that are unfolding in the real Middle East today.
Little more than three years after US forces, backed by their faithful British allies, set foot in Afghanistan, the entire historical dynamic of this blighted region has already shifted.
Ignoring, fortunately, the assault from clever world opinion on Americas motives, its credibility and its ambitions, the Bush Administration set out not only to eliminate immediate threats but also to remake the Middle East. In the last month, the pace of progress has accelerated, and from Beirut to Kabul.
Confronted with this awkward turn of events, Regs angry successors are asking their cohorts: What have the Americans ever done for us? Well, they did get rid of the Taleban in Afghanistan. Orrible bunch, they were.
All right, the Taleban, I grant you.
Then there was Iraq. Knocked off one of the nastiest dictators who ever lived and gave the whole nation a chance to pick its own rulers.
Yeah, all right. Fair enough. I didnt like Saddam.
Libya gave up its nuclear weapons.
And then theres Syria. Thousands of people on the streets of Lebanon. Syrians look like theyre pulling out.
I just heard Egypts going to hold free presidential elections for the first time. And Saudi Arabia just held elections too.
The Palestinians and the Israelis are talking again and they say theres a real chance of peace this time.
All right, all right. But apart from liberating 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, undermining dictatorships throughout the Arab world, spreading freedom and self-determination in the broader Middle East and moving the Palestinians and the Israelis towards a real chance of ending their centuries-long war, what have the Americans ever done for us? Its too early, in fairness, to claim complete victory in the American-led struggle to bring peace through democratic transformation of the region. Despite the temptation to crow, we must remember that this is not Berlin 1989. There will surely be challenging times ahead in Iraq, Iran, in the West Bank and elsewhere. The enemies of democratic revolution all the terrorists and Baathists, the sheikhs, the mullahs and the monarchs are not going to give up without a fight.
But something very important is happening now, something that will be very hard to stop. And, although not all of it can be directly attributed to the US strategy in the region, can anyone seriously argue that it would have happened without it? Neither is it true, as some have tried to argue, that all of this is merely some unintended consequence of an immoral and misconceived war in Iraq.
It was always the express goal of the Bush Administration to change the regime in Baghdad, precisely because of the opportunities for democracy it would open up in the rest of the Arab world. George Bush understands the simple but historically demonstrable thesis that freedom is not only the most basic of human rights, but also the best way to ensure that nations do not go to war with each other.
In a speech one month before the start of the Iraq war in 2003, Mr Bush laid out the strategy: The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life.
I doubt that anybody, even the most prescient in the Bush Administration or at 10 Downing Street, thought the progress we are now seeing would come as quickly as it has.
But what was clear to the bold foreign policy strategists in Washington was that the status quo that existed before September 11 could no longer be tolerated. Much of the Muslim world represented decay and stagnation, and bred anger and resentment. That was the root cause of the terrorism that had attacked America with increasing ferocity between 1969 and 2001.
Americas critics craved stability in the Middle East. Dont rock the boat, they said. But to the US this stability was that of the mass grave; the calm was the eerie quiet that precedes the detonation of the suicide bomb. The boat was holed and listing viciously.
As a foreign policy thinker close to the Administration put it to me, in the weeks before the Iraq war two years ago: Shake it and see. Thats what we are going to do. The US couldnt be certain of the outcome, but it could be sure that whatever happened would be better than the status quo.
And so America, the revolutionary power, plunged in and shook the region to its foundations. And it is already liking what it sees.
"What have Americans ever done for us"? - the craven Eurabians squak.
Well, for starters, let the tour the graves at Normandy, around Bastogne, the graves where the U.S. Marines fought the Germans in 1918. No, American is not 10000% perfect. But what would those Eurabians be living under if D-Day had never happend? But then again, the Eurabians could care less.
A clever article, and it rings true.
I'm surprise the editors at this rag allowed this quote to get through. Somehow, I find it juxtapose to the Times position. Then again, you won't see a quote like this in the Guardian or the New York Times now known to me as the New York Crimes.
Yah, well... America is evil. I know it is so it is true. What about Haliburton. War for oil, Imperialism. Genetically modified foods. McDonalds. SUVs, air coditioning, nice homes, phone and electric everywhere. Pollution from your hedonist lifestyle. Pushing freedom on the happily oppressed. Why are you so happy while so many in the world suffer. I hate America.
I want to be called Loretta.
Turns out they weren't so silly after all.
The same holds true for the Berlin Wall. No one could have imagined that just two years after Reagan's "Tear Down this Wall" speech the Belin Wall would fall followed by the breakup of the Soviet Union. I can recite chapter and verse of how many times the conventional or expert opinion got it wrong.
Well, for one thing, they'd be goose-stepping if we had not stopped Hitler.
compare this to what the clintoon did in 8 years...
W is the next Reagan (JUST GET RID OF SOME SPENDING AND REFORM TAXES)
I believe the correct phrase to refer to them is...
The populations were skeptical of what was going on in Iraq until the Iraqi elections. This was the tipping point in the hearts and minds of other populations. The courage of the Iraqi people is spreading. Now all it will take in other countries to stand up to their dictators is a 'trigger event' such as an assassination that happened in Lebannon. All revolutions require a one; they are not spontaneous. It will be interesting what is going to be the trigger event in Iran.
On the other hand, the only country that no one is talking about -including the President- is Pakistan. The dictator Musharraf is getting a pass from the US and the international community.
I need to send this to some eurotrash that still don't get it.
France wanted to be rescued from Hitler like Dennis Galahad wanted to be rescued from the forty very naughty virgins.
I have heard rumors from friend is France implying that some are organizing to force the removal of American wardead from French soil.
This is a great idea...get our sacred remains off that filthy, yellow French soil. F FRANCE!
Actually, with Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and Clarence Thomas, that question could be answered, too, though I'm sure other answers could also be given.
That's a factual understatement. I was stationed in the army in the late 60's in Germany in an artillery unit. I had been a "Youth for Goldwater" in high school. I knew the geo-political, "lay-of-the-land" in Europe at the time. I visited the Berlin Wall and "Checkpoint Charlie". I was a US soldier in NATO, on the East West Frontier, ready to take on the commie hordes of the Warsaw Pact. I knew I would die the first day of the the first week. If anyone in our arty battery would have said that I would witness the fall of the Soviet Union, the dissolution of the Warsaw pact and some of its members become members of NATO, within my own lifetime, I would have called the M.P.'s to haul him away as a Section 8!
Twenty years later the wall came down from within. I was speechless as I watched it all on TV, here in the US! It was a miracle in my own time!
Peace is, indeed, possible in the Middle East, if we have no more Clinton's after Bush.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.