The Blog

Well, It Was a Good Idea in '46

On Kofi Annan, violence, occupying powers, and making matters worse.

12:00 AM, May 3, 2004 • By LARRY MILLER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The shop-owners and food-sellers and farmers who are holding their breaths for a chance at the miracle of a free society? Because they're not the ones making the martyrs' stand in Falluja.

No, the only "occupied inhabitants" who stand to lose something from "violent military action" are the ones who should have been the recipients of "violent military action" a year ago.

BUT MR. ANNAN feels that all this ". . . can only make matters worse." Really? Worse than what?

Worse than now? Because now, today, and tomorrow, every radical Islamist in the world hears the music of martyrdom, and is gathering for the festivities, and he knows that the big barn dance is in Iraq. He knows that this is a great moment in history, either way it goes, that this battle has been brewing for a long time, and that it will be the biggest one for another very long time.

And the cherry on top? It's not political or economic to him, it's far, far bigger, because he believes that this is exactly what God wants him to do. And he's as happy as he could be. These guys make Japanese Kamikaze pilots look wishy-washy.

No settlement will placate, no shift will change the behavior, not the slightest. It's always been like this, but now, in the twenty-first century, the boil has grown back, bigger than ever, and you either carve the whole thing out, which hurts, or you sit back and watch it grow again on your children, and grandchildren, and every generation thereafter until someone finally decides to carve it out for good.

And guess who that'll be? Hint: Not the Spanish.

HERE'S THE HARD THOUGHT that's been creeping up on me for a while. Mistakes are one thing, but if the folks pulling the levers don't win all the way--all the way--if the decision-makers falter and declare half-victory with a frozen smile, and tip-toe away, and act shocked, shocked, I tell you, when the whole place falls apart . . .

Then it will be impossible to gather the will, or the votes, or the moral fiber to do it again, the right way, for a very long, and by then thousands, and then millions of innocent "occupied inhabitants" will have been tortured and slain.

And the worst part, the greatest sin: Every life lost so far will have been wasted. Every Pat Tillman--and they're all Pat Tillmans, every one--will have been given for nothing.

Of course, the Kurds, and the Shiites, and the Sunnis, and everyone else left to stand on the miles-long execution lines will still be able to count on three things:

(1) The headline of every American newspaper will be about the big, two-hour Friends reunion.

(2) Kofi Annan will still say, "Violent military action will only make things worse. And by the way, I don't care if you hold your breath forever, we're not paying those parking tickets."

(3) The entire affair will be Israel's fault.

Larry Miller is a contributing humorist to The Daily Standard and a writer, actor, and comedian living in Los Angeles.