Four More Years?
A thousand words.
Four years today since the Bush crossed the Rubicon and invaded Iraq. I was amazed by the folly of it then, and amazed to this day. One of the things that amazes me the most about the destruction Bush has wrought in Iraq, is how blase most Americans are about the war. Probably because for domestic political reasons Bush has refused to instate a draft. The draft is what energized the antiwar movement during Vietnam, it gave the whole war an undeniable domestic impact and a rallying point. Without the draft, it has been relatively easy to marginalize the antiwar movement. And without a highly visible antiwar movement, it’s so much easier to pretend that everything is going just fine.
Of course, not having a draft means that after four years in Iraq we are no better off than when we started. Not having a draft was like Roosevelt telling Eisenhower the day after D-Day: “Well, no more troops, you have to liberate France with the 175,000 troops that landed on D-Day.” It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how that would have turned out. (Hint: There were over 700,000 German troops in France alone.) Yet for the sake of domestic politics, Bush has given the US military an impossible task in Iraq. Of course as is almost always the case when one tries to have one’s cake and eat it too, Bush has accomplished neither goal. His domestic popularity is at record lows, and the conversion of Iraq into a western style state is going nowhere fast. And he’s managing to wreck the US military in the process, not to mention America’s international reputation.
And we haven’t even gotten our hands on all the oil that was supposed to pay for this. Yes, there’s more black gold in Iraq than all the conquistadors and pirates in history ever dreamt of. Fortunately, salvation is at hand, the quisling Iraqi government has almost signed the law giving Iraq’s oil to US oil companies. How the USA plans to pump all that oil in a country riven with insurgency and sectarian strife is still a mystery, but I’m sure there’s a plan. Already nearly one out of five Iraqis is dead or displaced, at this rate in another sixteen years everyone in Iraq will be homeless or dead. Surely it will be easy to pump the oil then. Is this the plan? Is this what Secretary of Defense Gates meant when he said the US will be in the region for decades?
At least the anti-war movement is growing, and is spreading to many sectors of society. There is a strong Iraq veterans against the war movement now for example. Still, it’s disturbing to me how mainstream the idea that “violence is the only solution” has become. It’s almost as if many in America are uncomfortable with the idea of peace. Maybe forty years of the Cold War was so comforting that people can’t imagine not having some enemy lurking in the corners. What’s so bad about being at peace? Why is it wrong to want to be at peace? Wouldn’t we all be better off if we weren’t spending so much money on weapons?
Four years in Iraq, and all I have are questions. I wish I had answers. I know the Democrats don’t, all they do is suggest lite versions of Bush’s answers. And Bush and the war party have been wrong about everything so far, at least they are consistent. Maybe that does suggest a way out after all. The people who said invading Iraq was a good idea also say withdrawing from Iraq is a bad idea…I’m willing to bet they’re wrong as before and pull out our troops.
If we’re brave enough to risk a war, are we not brave enough to risk a peace?
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is central to illustrating the post and it is not being used for profit. It has not been altered in any way, a US Navy squadron does proudly display a death’s head insignia on their aircraft.)