America's Boer War?


If you're in for a change of metaphor, Mr. Timoth Garton Ash of The Guardian substitutes the Boer War for Vietnam as the basis for analyzing what Iraq means for the U.S., its role in the world and the staggering burden of world—wide hegemony. If you're looking for advice regarding how we should conduct ourselves in Iraq, here's a paragraph's worth of Ash's observations:

Iraq is America's Boer war. Remember that after the British had declared the end of major combat operations in the summer of 1900, the Boers launched a campaign of guerrilla warfare that kept British troops on the run for another two years. The British won only by a ruthlessness of which, I'm glad to say, the democratic, squeamish and still basically anti—colonialist United States appears incapable. In the end, the British had 450,000 British and colonial troops there (compared with some 150,000 US troops in Iraq), and herded roughly a quarter of the Boer population into concentration camps, where many died.

I suppose, then, we should term ourselves the "reluctant imperialists." Is there virtue in that?

Dennis Sevakis   8 25 05