Lines in the sand?
German blitzkrieg through France, 1940.
There’s no doubt I’m in a strange mood because of the Virginia Tech killings, at least the media saturation is slowly declining. There’s definitely something a bit weird about media priorities that make such a huge deal out of this tragedy and its victims, yet American soldiers die almost anonymously every day. I guess it’s normal though, people are morbidly fascinated when tragedy strikes close to home, the media frenzy about Virginia Tech is a national rubbernecking. I am disgusted that the killer’s video manifesto got such amazing amounts of air time. I have an idea, why don’t we encourage other madmen to go out in an orgy of blood to achieve everlasting fame? There are countries where the media would not even have been allowed to publish his name, let alone give air time to his ravings. I wish our media would police itself in this way.
The world goes on though. The people of Iraq deal with several Virginia Tech massacres of their own every day. I wonder if they get used to it? And the pro war crowd’s rationalizations about why the US bears zero responsibility for the calamity in Iraq get more bizarre by the day. The latest I heard is that the US “just inherited” the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan and is bravely trying to fix it. “Just inherited” as a euphemism for “invaded and conquered” seems a bit of a stretch to me. I’m beginning to think that the underlaying philosophy of politics is: “It’s not our fault.” Of course if one never takes responsibility for one’s mistakes, one is doomed to repeat them. Or make worse ones. Which is why we are in a war that is bearing an uncanny relationship to Vietnam in many ways. Even to the tired rationalizations about how our enemies will come get us here if we pull out. Oddly enough, people said the same thing about Vietnam, that if we pulled out we might as well set up a defensive line in Hawaii because the commie terrorists would quickly overrun all of Asia. Deja vu all over again.
Even our staunchest allies the Brits are pulling out of Iraq. They turned another province over to the insurgents while claiming they were turning security over to the Iraqi “government.” Can anyone spell “Vietnamization?” Of course in Vietnam the US puppet government was able to hold out for several years without American ground troops, In Iraq the Maliki government will be hanging from lamp posts within days, if not hours, when the US leaves. At least the ones foolish enough to stay behind.
Then there’s the whole fantasy debate about how long our troops will stay in Iraq. It reminds me of a slow motion version of the German attack on France in World War Two. As German tanks raced toward the English Channel, the Allied commanders repeatedly drew “halt lines” on their maps showing where they were going to rush Allied troops to stop the Germans. The problem was, that every time they drew a line on their maps, they were unaware that German tanks had already crossed the line in question. The Allied high command was that out of touch with the rapidly changing situation on the ground, and our leaders in Washington are suffering under similar delusions.
Bush’s “surge” is a great example of a halt line that had no meaning, the situation in Iraq long ago deteriorated passed the point where an extra 20,000 troops in Baghdad was going to turn it around. And sadly the “debate” in Washington mostly seems concerned with deciding where the next halt line is going to be, there’s no grasp that it’s too late to draw halt lines and we need to be thinking more in terms of Dunkirk and getting our troops to safety. At least when German tanks reached the coast (surrounding the bulk of the French and British armies) the French and British realized it was hopeless and planned accordingly. I’m not sure the Democrats and Republicans are capable of fully realizing that.
Who knows though. There’s one silver lining, the leader of the US Senate has said “The war is lost.” Many of us knew the war has been going badly for years while Bush pretended otherwise, so I’m glad to see other important folks finally pointing out the the emperor has no clothes. The Republicans responded with the usual charges that telling the truth was somehow a disservice to the troops. Actually, the people who have been pissing down the troop’s throats for four years are Bush and company with their rosy denial of reality and their refusal to reinforce the troops or take any action whatsoever to turn the situation around. They are finally taking action though, they are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to find someone, anyone, to blame for the mess they made.
If Washington doesn’t come up with a plan, any plan, for getting us out of Iraq soon…the decision is going to be made by our enemies. We’ll wish we’d partitioned Iraq and turned the whole mess over to the UN when that day comes. And it could come a lot sooner than people think.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, and is central to illustrating the post. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who the original author is though to give them credit.)