Friday, December 15, 2006

A War That We Now Find Ourselves In

After being briefed at the Pentagon Wednesday, the president said
"I thank these men who wear our uniform for a very candid and fruitful discussion about the -- about how to secure this country, and how to win a war that we now find ourselves in."


Bushiran_1 After being briefed at the Pentagon Wednesday, the president said
"I thank these men who wear our uniform for a very candid and fruitful discussion about the -- about how to secure this country, and how to win a war that we now find ourselves in."
There’s a lot of talk about “those who wear our uniform” on the part of the president, as well as having met "too many wives and husbands who have lost their partners in life, too many children who won't ever see their mom and dad again. I owe it to them and to the families who still have loved ones in harm's way to ensure that their sacrifices are not in vain."
Soldierburial_1 It’s not something a parent or husband or wife wants to do, to sacrifice someone to a war—any war. But I would think it’s not in the interests of those who have lost, as well as those who will lose, to throw more American bodies into hopeless battle just to ensure that prior sacrifices are not in vain.
The vain in that circumstance would be vainglorious-- enhancing the president’s feelings of self-importance. More vain than that, one cannot get. Vain has two meanings and the president ought to be careful in using the word. Both apply to Iraq and both are emblematic of the president (characteristic of false pride; having an exaggerated sense of self-importance) and the mission to which our troops have been assigned (unproductive of success).
If this war were a book title, it would be The Vain War.
Bushmaliki_2 Taking the second part of Mr. Bush’s Wednesday statement, “how to win a war that we now find ourselves in," it’s staggering to hear this man refer to America finding ourselves in a war that he forced upon the nation. There is no other word for it, no charitable description of how we came to Iraq, but by deception, fear-mongering and outright lies.
This president dishonors everyone who has supported him, every soldier who has died in his behalf, every widow and orphan. He trivializes an entire generation of servicemen and women who will live out their lives wounded by this falsity. He cuts the financial legs out of generations to come who will pay for its unfunded costs. He mocks them all by slip-sliding his personal insistence on this debacle, calling it instead, the war that we now find ourselves in.
This is, shamefully, the presidency that we now find ourselves in.
Moqtadaalsadr_1 Bush told us he's looking for a plan that combines military action, political reconciliation, economic development and diplomatic efforts to get more help from Iraq's regional neighbors. Military action best serves his cowboy politics, but has been disproved in the field. Political reconciliation he negates by shaming the democratically elected (if ineffective) Iraqi government and suggesting the annihilation of the portion (Muqtada Sadr) of that elected government that displeases him. Economic development was once a possibility that died in the mismanagement of ‘stuff happens.’ Diplomatic efforts in the area (Syria and Iran) have been marginalized by unpalatable prerequisites.
Don't fail to check out David Ignatius-What Syria Would Say to understand just how much potential Mr. Bush has kicked away in his childish petulance and foot-stamping.
Carl Hulse of The New York Times, writes
"Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, spending on the military outside of the regular budget process, primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has totaled more than $400 billion. For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, spending on the Iraq war alone ran at an average rate of $8 billion a month, according to a study by the Congressional Research Service."
And so, if we take these figures (although they could be triple), this war is currently costing us 3 American dead and $266 million a day to fight. Additionally, it costs 100-150 Iraqi civilian dead a day as well.
The unpublished and unpunished crime of this war is how George W. Bush took the world’s finest military and trashed it, made it a laughingstock of the mujaheddin and pissed away our treasury while doing it.
That book will one day be written. In the mean time, I have a question that no one seems to ask. If we are the greatest military power the world has yet to see, and if our annual military budget is more than the sum of the next 14 largest military budgets in the world—then how is it that this pissant war has broken the back of the Pentagon?
Douglasmacarthur_1 How is it that we were able to fight a battle across the entire Pacific theatre to defeat Japan, at the same time fighting a multi-front war in Europe and North Africa that ultimately destroyed the German Wehrmacht and Italy’s fighting machine? Yet this operation, confined to one relatively small and isolated nation, confounds us.
Hitler blitzkrieged his way across Europe and most of Russia, with the greatest army the world had seen to that time. Japan devoured China and the Phillipines, as well as most of Indo-China. In less time than this Iraq war has taken, we defeated them.
Why?
Simply because they were nations, whose armies and navies met us on the field of battle, not undefeatable religious zealots. We sent our drafted armies to battle and our women into factories and when 400 ships were sunk monthly in the Atlantic convoys by Nazi submarines, we manufactured and launched 600. The nation was behind that war. We sweat and saved and sacrificed as a nation to win that war and it was right, clearly defined and winnable.
Carbombbaghdad_2 The sweat and sacrifice in this war is a fraction of the nation. We are not behind it. We are there because we were lied to and frightened into a wrong war against a wrong enemy for purposes whose clarity has not yet been defined. This war’s been outsourced, sub-contracted and thieved beyond belief. Iraq confronts us with no wolf-pack submarines, owns no tank battalions, pits no air forces against us, sinks no convoys.
They fight us like dogs in the streets and win.
We have twice had our asses kicked by insurgencies. The first time we shared that indignity with the French. Cambodia and Laos and Vietnam were once French Indo-China. If our president had participated in that war (or any war) he might have been less warlike—less swagger, less bring 'em on and more close attention. But those lessons are learned the hard way, in mud and fear and combat under fire.
They are learned and paid for in blood by “those who wear our uniform.”
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