Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Why Iraq is not Japan

It hit me like a bolt last night. Ever since we decided to "westernize" Iraq, with the neo-con idea of "westernizing" the middle east, the comparison has been made to Japan after WW II. I was always troubled by the comparison, but this morning I understand why I am troubled with it.

First, I have a great love for Oriental culture and history. In fact I think that the most beautiful people on earth are Japanese girls between about 13 and 30 years old ... in fact, I have a lot of trouble telling the difference between a Japanese 13 and 30 year old. And I see lots of photos, ranging from fashion, to the Japanese man's fantasies of porn --- which are totally different than the American male's idea of porn. I have made an effort to understand Japanese culture, which until recently was a feudal as anything in pre-Magna Carta Europe. And the ethics of the Shinto religion, and the rise of the Emperors of Japan.

But let's get to the question.

In Japan in the early 20th Century, the Emperor, who was considered to be God on Earth by the population was weak, compared to the military, and the militarized Cabinet Ministers. His authorization to impliment the SE Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere may have been for concern for the availability of raw materials, but one has to think that he was led down this path by the Military Code of Bushido. The military had larger ideas of conquest.

Japan in 1945 was completely and utterly defeated and defenseless. At that point General McArthur, who I don't like very much, accomplished one of the most amazing political feats in history. He ran the country and the Emperor got all the credit. He was fair and wise, and he had the willing aquiescence of the population of Japan. Within the amazingly brief time of five years Western culture had not only been accepted by Japan, but embraced with a vengance.

Look at the young people in Japan today. You still see traditional culture, but only as a ceremonial and historical adjunct to their lives. In every other way, dress, music, appearance, preferences and to a smaller extent food, they are exactly like young people in Los Angles.

Contrast Iraq. There are very fundamental differences between Islam and Shintoism. Not the least is the attitude of Islam (and the other monotheistic religions) toward other religions, Shintoism looks inward, Islam looks outward. Japan in 1939 never was accused of seeking war to spread religion, Iraq after 2003 can only be considered to do that. As can we, for that matter.

Iraq has been on the borderline of civil war over religious differences within Islam for many years. Now there is the opportunity, not to westernize and modernise their society, but instead a chance to act out grudges that are hundreds of years old.

Postwar Iraq has rejected westerism. The Shia majority has used the opportunity to move back the clock away from feminism, away from democracy, and away from all it's neighbors, save Iran. The success claimed for the elections are mostly a sham, and just a way for them to get us out of the country and for us to claim success and get out.

The entire middle east is the worst tar-baby imaginable. We could have kept the lid on it and let it slowly simmer under the surface by buying it off, but once we declared war the ugly die was cast and the result will not be Japan, in spite of the fantasies of the neo-cons who thought up the entire mess.

When I see teenagers in Baghdad posing in bikinis on alt.binaries.sherazade I will believe that we stand a chance in the Middle East -- not until.


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