Last night’s Vague Film was Errol Morris’s excellent documentary Fog of War, an extended interview with Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defence in the Kennedy and Johnson Administration. I’ll review the film later, but an immediate cord was struck with the its first lesson from McNamara’s life: ‘Empathise with your enemy’.
This seems the one thing America is incapable of in Iraq. In Sunday’s Observer Magazine an Moroccan Islamic fundamentalist explained, ‘The will of God is not the same as the will of man. How can it be? I prefer myself to follow God’s law, because it is the most perfect’. When it comes to running his country, he’d rather trust the judgement of his learned Mullah – the expert on god’s will – than that of ordinary people like himself. He prefers theocracy to democracy. I don’t believe in god, but I can still follow the logic.
Yet the US’s most godly administration seems unable to empathise with the many Iraqis who say the country should be run not to the will of ordinary men and women, but to the will of god. Given the chance Iraq may vote for theocracy, leaving America to impose the will of the people over the will of their god.