...Sure Wasn't Blood For Oil
"It is logical," said Marshall, "that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health to the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is not directed against any country, but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Any government that is willing to assist in recovery will find full co-operation on the part of the U.S.A."
Secretary of State George Marshall to the graduating class of
Harvard University June 5, 1947.
Can anyone in the current administration say the words "exit strategy?" The Marshall Plan was not perfect nor was it really that unselfish (nor even a planned "exit strategy" in today's sense), but it exhibited a knowledge of the people with whom we fought and against whom we fought. It didn't stroke people on foreign soil with "Hi! we saved your asses, now demonstrate to us how grateful you are by instituting something called democracy. After all, you'll want to be just like us!" And while it did require that the benefiting countries trade with us, it certainly didn't force countries to change their form of government.
The official mission statement of the Marshall Plan was boost to the European economy: to promote European production, to bolster European currency, and to facilitate international trade, especially with the United States, whose economic interest required Europe to become wealthy enough to import U.S. goods. Another unofficial goal of ECA (and of the Marshall Plan) was the containment of growing Soviet influence in Europe, evident especially in the growing strength of communist parties in Czechoslovakia, France, and Italy.
Possibly the most astute statement made about the American entry into Iraq:
The American invasion of Iraq was, above all else, a revolution in the lives of Iraqis. Their institutions, their everyday routines, their futures, their sense of order were all turned upside down. This revolution, which is still ongoing and will play out for years to come, was the opening of a prison. When they staggered out into the light, most Iraqis didn't know where they were, what they wanted, even who they were, and the Americans who had so quickly and casually broken down the gate were standing around as if they had never even considered what to do next. The Americans were nominally in charge—the Iraqis expected them to be, and after the first few weeks of paralysis, the Americans flung themselves into a flurry of activities befitting an occupying power—but it was all illusion. No one was in charge.
-George Packer: Over Here: Iraq the Place vs. Iraq the Abstraction
Alas... all too true:
The picture at the right may not at first seem to have much in common with this post, but the sign about "The Rapture" indicates just how much Americans believe religious ideolgies are involved in the war. They don't see those ideologies as "peacemaking" either. An Onward-Christian-Soldiers thought: will Christian soldiers be the only ones to stay in Iraq for the next 50 years?