If you read anything about the later phases of European imperialism, one is struck by the way in which the need for, for example, perpetual British control over India or large swathes of Africa is always justified as being for the good of the subjugated people. And, of course, the perpetual control isn’t described as perpetual. It just needs to last a bit longer. Then a bit longer. You know, Friedman Units and all that. Somehow the actual desires of the people being controlled don’t seem to figure much into the calculations.
I thought of that as I read this bit of dialogue from the McClatchey stringers’ blog:
“Why, Mum? Why can’t I go to this shop?”
“Because it’s in the green zone baby, and you’re Iraqi.”
That was brought to my attention by the deeply unserious Jim Henley who fails to recognize that this is serving an important higher moral purpose.
See also this striking bit of state-of-the-art COIN doctrine in action.