Two weeks ago, in a piece highlighting America’s unreliability as an ally, Mark Steyn laid this heavy quotation on us:
Forty years ago, as another American client regime crumbled, the US Ambassador sportingly offered asylum to a former Cambodian prime minister, Prince Sirik Matak. His response is worth quoting:
I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection and we can do nothing about it. You leave us and it is my wish that you and your country will find happiness under the sky. But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad because we are all born and must die one day. I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans.
So Sirik Matak stayed in Phnom Penh and was murdered by the Khmer Rouge, but so were another 1.7 million people, and in a pile of skulls that high it’s hard to remember this or that individual. But there are many in Iraq and Afghanistan who are reflecting, as Sirik Matak did, that they made the mistake of “believing in you, the Americans”.
“Happiness under the sky” has the same resonance of simple truth as American Indian aphorisms, to my ear, another people we hosed royally.
[W]hen the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.
Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not altogether powerless.
I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohulhulsote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led the young men is dead.
It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are–perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead.
Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.
Leaving aside the nobility of our adversaries, the USA didn’t use to be “harmless as an enemy, treacherous as a friend”, as Steyn quotes Bernard Lewis. Seattle and Joseph knew our treachery, but never saw us as harmless.
Now there can be no doubt. The same regime that swears the US “will always have Israel’s back” now recognizes as legitimate a fraudulent government of a fraudulent people, with Hamass—a very real and legitimate terror gang—as a member. Our treachery lies bare for all to see. ISIS, the Taliban, Iran, to name just a few of our enemies, can better tell you how harmful they find us.
I see the latest news is that whatever passes for Iraqi military are pushing back against the ISIS marauders. Good, I guess. (Are there any good guys?) It sure beats our answer that Iraq needs to build a more inclusive government. As if anyone, besides Saddam, has figured out how to include Sunnnis, Shiites, and Kurds in one country. As if even if they did, “inclusiveness” is useless against tanks. Never bring a liberal piety to a gun fight. (How many divisions does the Pope have, Stalin once wryly asked.)