Win the war, lose the peace

I have come to the conclusion that we cannot win. We just do not have what it takes. We are too divided. Too polarized. Forget Rumsfeld. Perhaps the best thing Bush could do now is to step down himself. Let Kerry have the White House. Good luck!

I am tired of the war. Not the war in Iraq, but right here. I know we can win in Iraq. Fallujah and Al Sadr...? give me a break. We are more than a match for them and are taking care of them handily. We are not a match for ourselves however. The real defeat comes from right here at home.

The moral of all this? The West can defeat the enemy on the battlefield, but in distant and much-caricatured wars on the dirty ground it can only win when it has leaders who can convince a fickle public into sacrificing, being ridiculed, and putting up with inevitable short-term disappointment that is the price of long-term security and stability a sacrifice that in turn will never be acknowledged as such by the very people who are its beneficiaries both here and abroad.

How weird is our way of war! When we embrace Clintonian bombing in Kosovo, Serbia, or in Iraq and kill thousands, America sleeps: few of our guys killed, so who cares how many of theirs? Out of sight, out of mind. Yet when we take the trouble to sort out the messy moral calculus and go in on the ground shooting and getting shot, then suddenly the Left cries war crimes and worse so strong is this Western disease of wishing to be perfect rather than merely good. Such is the self-induced burden for all those who would be gods rather than mere mortals. -VDH

Now that democrats almost have their watergate, or my lai all wrapped up in one, I am reminded of the words of the Iraqi Information minister Al Sahaf:

"That bastard the American Minister of Defense Rumsfeld, and I won't say shamelessly, because they don't know what shame means. These are criminals. The whole word can hear the warning sirens. This criminal sitting in the White House is a pathetic criminal and his Defense Minister deserves to be beaten. These criminals lie to the world because they are criminals by nature and conditioning. They consider this a military site! Shame on you! You will forever be shamed! You have ruined the reputation of the American people in the most terrible way! Shame on you! And we will destroy you!" -We Love The Iraqi Information Minister
We are unmatched militarily. But we are continually outgunned in the area of propaganda. Who can argue with the kind of ideology which believes that everything America touches is tainted? That everything we do is sullied with self interest unless it is led by a democratic president?

That freeing 25 million people from a torturous regime is not something to do, and in fact makes us equal to Saddam?

The one thing to be avoided is for the United States, which destroyed Iraq and caused perhaps a million deaths through two invasions and ten years of sanctions, to play any leading role in the future of that country. In that case, terrorism would surely flourish. It is for the United States to withdraw from Iraq. It is for the international community, particularly the Arab world, to try to reconstruct a nation at peace. That gives the Iraqi people a chance. Continued US occupation gives them no chance. -Howard Zinn
Posted by Eric Simonson at May 8, 2004 6:02 PM