Blogs > Liberty and Power > NOT WITH MY MONEY, DAMN IT

Feb 6, 2004 10:46 am


I realize that for many prowar types -- those people who think, for example, that"the Senate's decision to turn Iraqi aid into loans is an asinine -- and near-treasonously stupid and destructive -- idea" (discussed in this post) -- this is probably wonderful news:

The United States will fly four Iraqi wrestlers to Colorado and fund their training ahead of their possible participation at the Athens Games this summer, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday.

The wrestlers are the first Iraqis to be named to a future Olympic team, which will compete under the Iraqi flag provided the International Olympic Committee lifts the suspension imposed on Iraq last year after Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed.

L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, said the four-member Iraqi team has been"invited by the American people" to train at an Olympic facility in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"At this facility, the Iraqi wrestling team will have access to all the services and training techniques available to U.S. athletes as they prepare for the 2004 Olympic Games," Bremer said. He did not say when the team would leave or how long the training would last.

Well, I don't think it's a wonderful idea. First of all, I do not appreciate Mr. Bremer's eagerness to play Viceroy here as well as in Iraq, and I certainly do not appreciate his presumptuousness in speaking for"the American people." And I didn't invite anyone to come to Colorado to train at U.S. taxpayers' expense.

Which brings me to the second point: God only knows how much American taxpayer money is being wasted and thrown away in Iraq, even if you fully approved the Iraq invasion. But spending money on this kind of thing is typical of a certain kind of mentality: the kind that glories in"national identity" and the triumphs of"the people."

But here's a note: that kind of mentality used to be an attribute primarily of our enemies. Remember the"triumphs" of the Soviets and the East Germans at the Olympics? It's one thing to enjoy the triumphs of your country in competition, when they are brought to you by individuals who excel at what they do, which had been the tradition with U.S. victories in the past. But now we are beginning to adopt all the traits of those countries we used to despise. (I discussed this phenomenon from a slightly different, and broader, perspective, here.)

This entire spectacle is truly becoming despicable. And Mr. Bremer: you are not Viceroy of the Universe. And until you realize your limitations, why don't you simply keep your mouth shut? Thank you.

(Cross-posted at The Light of Reason.)

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Jonathan Dresner - 2/6/2004

I'm not a fan of Bremer, et al., but this is not just a field trip. He is trying to recreate a national identity because the alternative, in his view, is to allow the development of competing ethnic sub-national (actually counter-national) identities. I think he's playing a propoganda game, putting a cart before the horse, and putting drops in a bucket. But it's not silly.