Blogs > Cliopatria > Plymouth Rock: The Pentagon Pays Homage to Thanksgiving

Nov 25, 2004 3:01 pm

Plymouth Rock: The Pentagon Pays Homage to Thanksgiving

In honor of Thanksgiving, apparently, the Pentagon has named the latest operation in the Sunni Triangle, "Plymouth Rock."

This strikes me as unfortunate. Let's hope the Iraqis don't dwell too long on the meaning of the name.

For those who do it will surely occur to them that Plymouth Rock is where white Europeans landed on a "new" continent and settled there.

Aren't we supposed to be leaving the impression that we are NOT settling in Iraq?

A small matter perhaps. And probably nobody in the Pentagon saw the historical implications. Plymouth Rock just sounded homey and familiar.

But one day when this is all over and Iraqis are writing the history books--which Iraqis will be the victors to write the history books is still up in the air--some smart intellectual type will no doubt seize on Plymouth Rock as an ominous symbol of what was wrong with the American occupation.

Plymouth Rock of course can be seen as a happy event, and was for many years. Then revisionists got out their knives and suddenly the encounter between whites and Indians seemed less appealing. In no time whites were robbing the graves of Indians (see Jim Loewen's book, Lies My Teacher Told Me), and within a couple of generations whites and Indians were killing one another.

But the storybook image of Plymouth Rock remains in the national memory. No doubt that is what the Pentagon had in mind.

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