Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The (Military) Children Are Our Future

Apparently it’s not enough for President Bush and Dick Cheney to justify their Iraq policy to captive audiences of serving military personnel, now they have to appeal to their kids too.

But instead of the childlike POTUS or the scowling "VEEP" delivering the message, it is Mrs Cheney who has been tapped to explain to elementary school children at two Washington-area Marine Corps bases in Quantico and Fort Belvoir, Virginia how 21st Century Iraq is just like 18th Century America.


Who better to explain to these likely future recruits the historical importance of their parents’ mission than a woman best known for a novel about barely concealed lesbianism in the Wild West?
``Two hundred and seventeen years ago, we held our first vote under our Constitution,'' Vice President Dick Cheney's wife said. ``We started then on the path the Iraqis are walking now.''

Never mind that the new Americans didn’t have to risk their lives to cast their votes, that they weren’t under occupation, that the Constitution specifically rejected the role of religion in both government and law.
The new Iraqi Constitution does( in common with the US Constitution) allow for amendments—an aspect that Lynne Cheney said provides ``a very important historical parallel'' with America's early democratic struggle.

``We did much the same thing in terms of our Constitution,'' she said on CNN.
``Many were reluctant to ratify (it) until they were told there would be amendments. ... So there are indeed many parallels and I look forward to talking with kids about it.''

Well that much I suppose is true: the paths are parallel…meaning they don’t converge in any way whatsoever. But draw two horizontal parallel lines on a chalkboard and any elementary schoolchild will recognize it as "equal".

It seems we can no longer rely on the old adage "History is written by the winners". From today it seems it should be replaced by "History is written by those who write it first, and re-write it later". As the military kids grow up and stumble across another old chestnut "those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" which history will they remember? The history written after the fact or the history crafted before the fact?


Red Tory said...

Lynne Cheney fancies herself to be an historian and never tires of drawing a variety of comparisons between her heroic, sanitized rendition (no pun intended) of the American Revolution and the Iraq War. What makes this rather amusing is that when Michael Moore used the same comparison in reverse (something along the lines that the insurgents could be compared to “Minutemen”)… well, holy shit, did he ever get blasted from the right-wing for THAT!

Personally, I don’t think either one of them is correct. First of all, the American Revolution boiled down to a question about unfair taxation without legitimate representation in the British parliament. That’s considerably different than throwing off the yoke of a brutal and oppressive dictator. The Stamp Act… give me a break. As for Moore’s “minuteman” argument, well, he has a point… but a rather small one and only then in terms of tactics (e.g., sniping at the British soldiers from hidden locations and committing various acts of sabotage). The motives of these so-called “minutemen” of Moore’s imagining are clearly suspect and totally lacking worthy comparison to their historical counterparts.

I think this is all a case of mythology gone haywire.

5th Estate said...

This constant comparision between the US Constitution and the Iraqi Constitution is simply another attempt to legitimize the iraq situation.
The Iraqi Constitution currently binds religion,government and law together---the opposite of the US Constitution.
I'd argue the Iraqis would be better off with a Parliamentary system rather than attemping the US model--a parliament would be more in keeping with the traditional "majlis".

What galls me most is that this stupid woman is grossly misreprsenting the situation to the soldier's kids, exploiting them for immediate political gain.