Historical perspective in Iraq

Ralph Peters reviews historic examples of occupation.

"...During the federal occupation of the South after the Civil War, a hostile, impoverished population lived amid ruins and cholera. Deadly riots and murders were common. The terrorists of the Ku Klux Klan enjoyed far greater support among the population than do today's Baath Party dead-enders in Iraq. Attempts to achieve inclusive democracy were frustrated for a century."

"...We face criminals, not a quagmire.

"Yet the breathless media reporting of each American casualty in Iraq implies that the occupation has failed. Yes, every soldier's life matters. But we also need to keep the numbers in perspective. In one recent week, as many Americans died in a workplace shooting in Mississippi as were killed by hostile action in Iraq. The total casualties for the war and its aftermath hardly rise to the number of deaths on America's highways over a long holiday weekend. Considering the dimensions of our victory, the low level of our losses is something entirely new in the history of warfare. But the quest for daily headlines is not synonymous with a search for deeper truths."

"...Instant judgments that the U.S. occupation is somehow failing, though politically gratifying to a few, are inaccurate, destructive and ill-judged. It will be at least a decade before we can read the deep results of our actions in Iraq, but the initial indications are that they will be overwhelmingly positive...."

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