Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Nothing Accomplished" Day

Are you ready for it?

Five years ago tomorrow, one of the most ridiculous and erroneous publicity stunts in presidential history was perpetrated on the world.

Any bets on how much coverage this will get in the mainstream media?

After another nearly 4000 US deaths, tens of thousands of US injuries and uncounted and largely ignored numbers of Iraqi casualties (innocent and other), the mess is deeper and wider than it was when The Decider pranced around on the deck of the USS Lincoln. Oh, yeah, and the "US" figures are (to the best of my knowledge) only the DOD numbers. Who knows how many civilian contractors are not counted in those totals?

And I don't mean to de-emphasize the numbers of the Iraqi casualties... there's simply no way to know how many civilians have died as a direct or indirect result of "coalition" policies and actions in that country. It's just a guess on my part, but I would not be at all surprised to learn that more Iraqi non-combatants have died in the last five years than did in any five-year span during Saddam Hussein's reign. He was definitely a bad man, but has our meddling really done that country any good?

Five years ago, victory was proclaimed. It was a farce then and it's even more of one now. The "stay 'til we win" philosophy espoused by the right is nothing more than a guarantee of death and destruction without end.

You cannot win when there are no achievable conditions for victory. That's not the fault of the troops on the ground. There has never been a defined mission for them to accomplish. There was never a strategy for anything after the toppling of the regime, and without that, the forces on the ground are left with nothing but day-to-day tactics to keep themselves alive.

This war cannot be won. It can't really even be ended. It will go on after all Western forces are out of the area.

An American-style democracy cannot be forced on a culture that isn't ready to support it. A civil war can't be avoided when two factions have irrational and irreconcilable differences. Prolonged unrest is simply inevitable. As long as there are Shia and Sunni leaders seeking power and status, there will be bloodshed. American and British troops won't be able to stop it.

Prior to the invasion, a few critics mumbled references to Vietnam and were shouted down loudly. True, it's not exactly the same. Fewer troops are dying, and combat medicine is far more effective. Fortunately, the troops aren't being vilified as they return home, and their mistreatment at the hands of the Department of Defense has been received with appropriate outrage. And, of course, there aren't any jungles in Iraq.

And, again, of course... there's a LOT of oil under Iraq. But this wasn't about oil, was it?

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