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As Long as We Remember...

August 21, 2009

Yankees, Go Home!

Roy Meachum

Signs in so-called friendly and allied nations once blatantly demanded: “Yankees, Go Home!” I was surprised when I first saw it, and confused. In my younger days, I had far more confidence Washington will always act in Americans’ best interest. Well, more or less.


Individual politicians made me wary. But, then, I attended Georgetown College and lived nearby when Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy terrorized the neighborhood. That may not be fair. The existential truth of growing up in Louisiana: neither politics nor politicians could be trusted.


Barack Obama was different. His climb for the White House mesmerized me. I was more than a full-time supporter. Of course that had much to do with his opposition. The rival candidates, one of each gender, turned me off – in a big way. He struck me as a rank opportunist and she lost me when she first revealed how big her mouth and how shallow her vision. Plus: Of course, their party had disheveled my country’s image, and frittered our economy away by giving insiders control. Most of all, the outgoing administration involved America’s youth and pocket book in a senseless, senseless war.


You are very welcome to disagree, but that’s how I saw it when voting for Barack Hussein Obama. I would have waded through the swiftest and coldest river to prove my confidence in him, the first black that showed a chance of shoving the KKK’s rhetoric down its prejudiced throat. I still refuse to back away when he attempts to use our collective strength to solve our problems, many left over from the eight years before he took the oath.


But I am flabbergasted by his abject failure to declare victory and pull our troops out of wars in the Middle East; in fact, he’s listened to the generals and boosted the U.S. strength in Afghanistan. Considering the unparalleled heroism, bravery and commitment showed by our young men and women, somebody would argue, the president had no choice. They should not have bled and died in vain, we hear. Trying to make good on the lack of vision that got them into the mess in the first place by shoveling more victims in the cesspool makes no sense.


Now Iraqi voters may do what Mr. Obama and his generals failed to see. The signs in Baghdad and Mosul do not say: Yankee, go home! Not in those words. But their people of all shades and faiths probably will order the U.S. armed forces to vamoose in a January referendum; that was what much of Thursday’s election rhetoric was about. I have absolutely no doubt that this morning’s papers will report America’s Iraqi friends won handily. They are, however, the leaders of the movement that is sick and tired of U.S. meddling in their national affairs. They gained popular favor for ending the occupation.


As for Afghanistan, whatever new strategies and new concepts the White House may put in place, with the military’s full approval, it is going to fail because the mountain country’s largest tribe, the Pashtun, views American muscle and dollars strengthening their bitter rivals, the Tajik – as the British favored Sunnis in colonial Iraq.


The country earned its reputation as “the graveyard of empires.”


The way Washington is going this republic seems destined to wind up on the heap of crowns.

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