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The American Creed

A small town on the edge of the Greek world spread it’s law across the Mediterranean from 700 BC to 1 AD. It was the army that evangelized the Roman Peace. In 9 AD German tribesmen destroyed three Roman legions in the Black Forest, then fought off later Roman efforts to civilize them. The Roman system had reached it’s zenith.

In 1776 the United States introduced a creed of Freedom. Freedom spread by conquest across North America, by example in Europe, and again by conquest from 1942 to 1975. True believers thought we could defeat the Communists and convert the world. In 1975 the United States lost the equivalent of three legions in Vietnam, and quit spreading Freedom by the sword for thirty years.

Cold warriors never accepted the lesson of Vietnam. After 9-11, they argued that leaving the world un-Free was a danger to the United States. Afghanistan was the first convert. The Afghan regime, the Taliban, had survived on Pakistani assistance, which we removed, and there was an Afghan army in the north ready to help us. Exhausted by decades of civil war, and tired of local tyrannies, a people who fought the British and Soviets to the death accepted American intervention with little resistance.

Five years later, we have not spread Freedom in Afghanistan. There have been national elections, but the parliament and executive have little power. We took years to build a national army, which has unseated only one of dozens of regional lords, and failed bring the remainder into any kind of legal framework. The old cold warriors preached to a second convert, Iraq, before the first was convinced, starving Afghanistan of money, troops and attention. Worse, Iraq has cast the shadow of imperial conquest over everything we do in the Muslim world, including Afghanistan.

Religious faith in free markets, free elections and free speech is a blindfold for the old cold warriors, now called Neo-Cons. They thought Muslims would worship at the alter of freedom because... who wouldn’t? They have refused the assistance of experts not in their camp, believed the lies of wily exiles, and failed the Freedom crusade because they are helpless amateurs.