"You will kill ten of our men, and we will kill one of yours, and in the end it will be you who will tire of it."
-Ho Chi Minh
I'm tired of it already.
The ache that my country, that I love dearly, learned not a god-damned thing Viet-Nam -a war that mauled my
family and took several people out of my parent's life, has been drilling in my temples for ages.
So Kos, if we bail and Iraq descends into all-out civil war that's ok with you?
What? Advocating pulling out of Iraq is advocating civil war?
That's right. I read it correctly, I didn't read it wrong. And there comes a time when it still digs at you 12 hours after you read it and you get up in the middle of the night and write for three hours.
Its just the latest example of a theme that really gets me right in the part of my soul where I keep the names of the fallen in my family.
Heads I win, tails you lose.
Listen, we just have to keep smashing our tender man-sacks with this iron hammer until it doesn't hurt anymore... and eventually candy and flowers will grow out of our ears.
Kos makes an observation, and a civil war --that is already well in progress-- is rhetorically dumped on the doorstep of... himself and people daring to suggest a change of direction in an already failed war. Why? Because its insane not to keep repeating the same failed policy over and over again until it stops failing and miraculously works like the DC think tanks said it would?
Wait... so if we just keep screwing up indefinately, things will magically get better when the wretched idea becomes brilliant?
My god, we should've stayed in 'Nam until Reagan would have won the motherfucker!
But things will get worse if we leave!
As I'm not a member of the Bush administration, the American Enterprise Institute, The Heritage Foundation, or any other delusional think tank I am not going to piss on you and tell you that God has made it rain lemonade on your dockers.
Yes, you're right.
Things will get worse before they get better, and there will be a spike in violence when we leave, in fact, while we are leaving. But I have reached the point where I believe that things will get NO better if we continue the current policy as-is. Either way we have crossed a line that leads to great suffering and death. The presence of the US military, and the construction of permanent US bases, just strings that out for years.
I know its hard to believe that there's a civil war happening... not just because its happening in slow motion, but because it isn't being covered.
Michael Jackson is too damned important. Bobbi Jo is missing in Fiji. We might miss a runaway bride.
Hell, Howard Dean just dared to say that there are 'unripened' peaches somewhere down in Georgia.
Maybe, just maybe, the reason that we can't fix Iraq 'hands on' in-country is BECAUSE we're the people who broke it in the first place, and because hatred of us is short-circuiting our attempts to make amends.
Right now, we are feeding the insurgency because think tank abstractions with live soldiers are bolstering the insurgency. You shouldn't have to lose a good round number of people, (what's a 'good' number of war dead? 20,000 over 25 years?) over a failed policy to give the Washington Mall a decent-sized new memorial.
Why can't we just do what we are doing? Why don't you think the Iraqis will come around?
Lets say you killed my son Hamdi in 2003.
Or, Lets say you killed Hamdi in 2004.
Or, lets say you gunned him down in 2005.
If I'm Iraqi and you kill my 13 year old son, at whatever point you did it, I don't give a flying fuck that the Heritage Foundation did a study that says statistically a 35 year old Iraqi man will 'get over it' if he 'feels hopeful'. But that is where the architects of this war still are. That's fucking crazy. But that's where they are. No, its not Viet-Nam... its worse. fifty eight thousand reasons worse. Because we already HAD Viet-Nam and they are still clinging to McNamarian thinking about an insurgency. If the theoretical still trumps the practical after 1,700 it will after 17,000 if you let it. That the people who planned, lied, manipulated, and then did this were alive during Viet-Nam magnifies the evil by a ten fold in my eyes. They think that they can win an unwinnable war by sheer force of somebody else's sacrifice and somebody else's enforcement of their will.
They learned nothing.
If I'm that Iraqi father I make a transition of spirit... from 'I don't give a damn about what Bill O'Reilly has to say'. 'I don't trust the GI's or the Generals and what they have to say'. 'I don't want to watch your 'Iraqi' cable news station in Alabama or Tennessee'. To 'Either you get the hell out of my house. My town. My state. My country. Or else I either want you to die or don't care if they kill you.'
Now, multiply that by thousands of Iraqis, maybe hundreds of thousands of Iraqis considering the number of non-combatants and 'regular' Iraqis that have been slaughtered. For years now.
There ain't any flexability in the hearts and minds department anymore. We lost that one sometime in the last three years for good. At the same time the delusional Vice President of the United States is talking about a waning insurgency and spouting the same crap he spouted two and a half years ago.
How can anybody be surprised that a man in this very position would let men who are Iraqi like him -men murdering the uniform that killed his son- hide things in his basement? Or mistrust the politician that is in power only because the US military demanded that the representation of the government be 'western friendly'? Why would he stop letting these bastards hide 'things' in his house as long as the uniforms that killed his only child are still there?
He isn't. His neighbor isn't. His cousin in Tikrit isn't. This is a war without uniforms or a beginning, a middle, or a forseeable end. This is what happens when people who craft theorectical wars as intellectual excersized on paper wage war. They don't plan for anything but victory. In this case, they don't even plan after the first month of combat and the declaration of victory.
So... what? You see a war without end?
I see a war with a breaking point. Ours. I don't believe that staying in Iraq until the Army and National Guard cracks under the strain of this war, with one hundred plus thousand men abroad in a hostile country when that breakdown occurs, is anything but a recipe for a disaster on par with the Great Depression.
The idea of a war without end, as an idea, had merit to the thinktank architects of the war.
And I think that this is exactly what the neoconservatives in the Bush administration wanted all along if they couldn't have a quick and easy puppet state in Iraq. Either they get a base of operations to control the middle east via a US ally ringed in US military bases... or a permanent war site to keep the 'war over there' indefinately. I have heard many in the Bush administration say 'all the right things' about Islam and arabs... but I have heard just as many of the president's supporters go 'un-PC' and tear that mask off... that this is a crusade to some zealots and ideologues in this country. Its not just extremist Islamic militants that give them the willies... its the Islamic faith and the arab and persian peoples.
But while the Bushies and their 'ideas' and their prejudices are destroying the US military via a death of a thousand cuts, they aren't willing to fight in the wars they desire themselves, nor are they willing to submit their children or grandchildren to that meatgrinder, nor are they willing to lose political points by asking the American people to sacrifice for their dreams.
Fighting is for poor people of color, rural white folks who want to get out of their poverty and isolation, and 'other people' in general.
If George W. Bush had been President in 1942, he probably would have cut taxes by 30% to beat the Axis powers with 'Freedom Deficits'.
The risk of open civil war was going to be like a volcano that could go at any time. The second that the Sunnis, the Shiites, and the Kurds, (as well as thousands of small tribes, religious sects, and family groups in rural areas of Iraq that the US military and media don't ever tell us about) started jockeying around for power and fucking with each other without Saddam's secret police and informants keeping the land terrorized. Its not like we went Soviet or cold war CIA and assassinated Saddam, we smashed a nation of millions to take him like a scalp, disbanded the military afterwards, barred the most experienced politicos, and we did it while the rubble was still smoking.
Think about that...
Its already been years ago.
No running water in some very urban and developed areas that had running water fulltime before the war. Pipes bursting or sabotaged and then three feet of sewage in some streets. Dead bodies ignored in the street. Bombs. Accidental assassinations. Shootings at checkpoints. GI's beating the shit out of the wrong guy. Or killing the wrong guy. Deliberate assassinations. Rape gangs. Kidnappers. Extremist cults running their own courts and killing people convicted by non-sanctioned councils. Electricity that varies from six to twelve hourse in a day.
If Iraq becomes a fundamentalist theocracy... it is because we created the climate for it, and things didn't get fixed because the insurgents keep destroying the things we fix because we fixed it. Hanging around there dying 10 to 30 men a week is only delaying that transition not preventing it.
And, heresy, maybe the people of Iraq will be better off without democracy delivered at the point of a gun.
Because the things that keep getting sabotaged and destroyed are, basically, being destroyed to screw around with us and the people we are backing. Remember, the US gamed the ticket in the great Iraq election to deny the 'wrong' Shiites a mega-majority, and the US is currently pressuring the government to give the Sunnis 'slots' and a say in the government, that they didn't earn at the ballot box, moves that will take power from the Kurds and Shiites who actually got the magic purple finger.
But 'we broke it, don't we have to fix it?'
Here's the thing: I feel as morally obligated to rebuild Iraq as anyone, but we need to find a new way to help the Iraqis fix it.
People advocating a change in military strategy, or an outright withdrawal, are not advocating abandoning Iraq, they are advocating abandoning a failed way of rebuilding it. The work isn't getting done. It's not. Millions of Iraqis still don't have the same basic infrastructure they had before the war after billions have been vomited down the bottomless contractor's hole. Don't look now, but the Marshall plan to rebuild Europe this ain't. Worse, the insurgency, supported and abetted by each and every military mistake that we make even though we are trying to rebuild the country, will just blow the hell out of anything we don't babysit 24-7. Because its ours to them. The multi-million dollar transformers we build couldn't be more marked as 'American' if we covered the sons of bitches with a blanket of New York Yankee and Boston Red Sox stickers and emblems.
I have this idea, I know it sounds absolutely crazy to the typical Bushie or FOX-MSNBC-CNN viewer, but I don't believe that people who don't look like me, or who don't believe as I do, or who come from a culture that I don't understand need to be treated like children. Our government is run by people treating the Iraqi people like children. It sickens me how much of the Iraq war is stomach-churningly condescending to the actual locals who have to live in this country we smashed over lies, criminal breaches of Constitutional responsibilities, and, in the end, for one man's scalp. A Creep, yes, but one who had nothing to do with the terrorist attack he was to be scalped over.
I believe that the Iraqi people are just as resolute and brave and honorable as the Bushies pander they are, and that they don't need the 21rst century equivalent of 'the White Man's Burden' to take their country back. I believe that if we leave Iraq we remove the biggest reason that the insurgency is seen as legit, and we give a good and noble people the freedom we keep sound-biting that we value.
Maybe instead of saying that 'we broke it we fix it' we should say we fucked it up then, we're fucking it up now, and we will continue to fuck it up in the future if we go on as we are.
What is happening now is a disaster, not nation building.
Freedom isn't about imperial occupation. Whenever I hear someone start talkinig about how much they value freedom and democracy... I always check to see how many dozens of machine guns and armored troops are on display behind and around them when they say it.
There are a lot of guns behind those Generals and Lieutenants at the podiums giving updates on Fox.
Why, oh, why didn't we just stay in VietNam until the Reagan years, because otherwise we might lose that war to the North? Or why didn't we stay in Lebanon and keep feeding Marines to the chaos there, because the chaos there might continue? Because the shit in-country was bigger than us. Often it was bigger than the very people who had to live there.
Iraq is the same deal.
Because inevitably, unyieldingly, cold hard cruel reality trumps biased ideological thinktank speculations about 'domino theories' and 'islands of Democracy in the sand'.
And although I don't expect people to agree with me, or my decision to firmly support withdrawing militarily from Iraq, (and no, I have no feud or beef with the person who posted it... I didn't even catch the name... it was just the latest flippant comment along those lines and not the person that got me.) I think its time, and its time for the chickenhawks to put up or shut up... If I'm so wrong... then a lot of folks in bow ties better get off their asses, out of their safe DC cubicles and down to the recruitment depot and put all those hours of DOOM! to work. Stat. San Juan Hill is waiting. Conservatives love the free market so much, lets let the free market speak... how are those recruitment numbers coming?
War is good business... invest your son!
And I have no problem with people who think we should stay the Bush way if they are willing to outline just how they would do the Bush way better, but you better start making travel plans to go with your war plan... your draft chit might be sitting in a bin in a year or two ready to tumble.