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In 2003, decision was made to openly attack a sovereign nation state which, although famous for verbal saber rattling, posed no direct threat to us nor had it committed an illegal invasion or recent attack on anyone else since last Gulf War.
With guns blazing, we marched into OK Corral. Despite absolute predictability of enemy combatants fading into general population rather than standing their ground and being annihilated, we were "surprised" as ease of entering Baghdad. We had forgotten lessons of our own Revolutionary War when it became clear that standing face-to-face with well-supplied redcoat squares was a recipe for total destruction.
"Mission Accomplished" trumpeted President, Administration, temporarily impotent and sleeping media. The worst was over. There was now simply "mopping up" operations left in a country which should be overwhelmingly grateful for what we had achieved. Instead, of course, more U.S. troops would die after our mission was "accomplished" than in hot war itself.
Why surprise? Once again, as in days of Vietnam, Tet Offensive, bombing of Cambodia, once again face of Ugly American was exposed to world.
Why are we hated? We are superpower, bully in school yard. Difficult as it is to forge an uneasy truce with us when we act with restraint and decorum, it becomes impossible when we throw our weight around and beat our collective chest with pride, hubris, and will to move alone without trying to rally allies or international support. The Ugly American is loose in streets of Middle East, a target for all, a friend of none: arrogant, defiant, outcast, and alone.
Never again, we said. Oops - isolation and hate is back. We can now have satisfaction of knowing we generated it all by ourselves. Who needs an enemy when we have us?
Virginia Bola is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the results of cultural forces and employment on the individual.She is the author of an interactive workbook, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a monthly ezine, The worker's Edge. She can be reached at http://drvirginiabola.blogspot.com