Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Lines in the sand?

with 6 comments

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.)


Written by unitedcats

April 20, 2007 at 11:49 am

Posted in Bush, Crime, History, Iraq, Politics, War

6 Responses

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  1. Hi Doug,

    A lot covered in this post. I will cover a few. As you know, my position on the Iraq war has been one of ignorance. One of the few positions I would take, though, is that when we went in, the mission should have been to topple Hussein for what everyone thought he had (and what he pretended to have)–WMD’s, then get the hell out of Dodge. I dont’ think that we should have stayed there, and when the military and media started feeding into catch phrases like “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, etc. it DID indeed leave me scratching my head wondering why we were going over there to “free” people who allowed themselves to live under fascism–and from what I understand by many pundits–WANT to live under fascism and were better off under it.

    I heartily disagree about Senator Reid, though. I don’t know about you, but I have young friends in Iraq–young friends who have months left there–young friends who have lived hell most Americans don’t understand–and to hear the majority leader in our nation tell them that they failed, that they lost (yes, they take it personally!) is a blow few can understand. Its Vietnam all over again as far as America is concerned. His political grandstanding was uncalled for–it should have been a conversation between him and the President, or his colleagues. Its all about politics for Senator Reid–he wants the American military to lose because its politically expedient for him and his party. Senator Reid couldn’t wait till the soldiers were home to spit on them, he went ahead and did it.

    Said from one soldier to another…



    April 20, 2007 at 2:54 pm

  2. “… I have young friends in Iraq–young friends who have months left there–young friends who have lived hell most Americans don’t understand–and to hear the majority leader in our nation tell them that they failed, that they lost (yes, they take it personally!) is a blow few can understand.”

    May I interject: horse puckey.

    You clearly don’t think much of the intelligence of our soldiers. Read a few blogs. Read some of the collections of letters home. They know *exactly* what’s going on, and are particulary courageous to see their missions through in that knowledge. Their situation demands of them the kind of painful thinking through that you, sir, and those like you, seem incapable of, and I think you dishonor them.

    You dishonor them by weaving your own sentimental stories around serious and terrible circumstances–and I would imagine that your strange beliefs in the motives of others, such as Senator Reid, reflect projections of disowned self-parts more than anything else.

    Which is what makes you so damn tangential; you guys marginalize yourselves. You can’t help the nation with the task of working this out, stuck in WWII.

    I’m not a soldier and neither are you.



    April 20, 2007 at 4:47 pm

  3. Zo,

    I guess I shouldn’t dignify this with a response. I am accustomed to such disrespect from young people. First, because of my age, and second because of my skin color. I grew up with white kids like you looking down their noses at those who were different from them. You don’t know who you are talking to, from your blog, it seems that you have little self-respect, so I don’t expect you to treat others any better than you see yourself.

    You do have it partly right. I tend to be stuck in WWII because those of us who fought in Korea had close family members who had served in it. I also lived through the dispicable 70s that saw our soldiers dishonored. However, this is just all stories in history books to your generation.

    I am no longer a soldier. Many young people of your age don’t know much about our nation’s Buffalo Soldiers, because I think its just touched on occassionally in the month of February in our public school system as a means of patronizing our race in a politically correct society. But it was because of me and many of my brothers gone on that you have the luxury of living in a free society writing and painting.

    Zo, I read many blogs, I speak to many young soldiers who come back home who are in our church. I am a veteran who stays in touch with our young men both here and abroad. I have them in my home regularly, support both them and their families financially. We support them, thank them for their service and tell them we believe in what they do in our community regardless of our perspective the war. But I realize we “black folk” are just a little more back’ards than you intellectual artist types.

    Do you know any soldiers? I can’t recall ever meeting one from San Francisco…



    April 20, 2007 at 7:11 pm

  4. […] Favourites Lines in the sand? […]

  5. Doug,

    You said it all what I had in mind after watching CNN and BBC but did not write anything because get bored of all BS. Iraq war, mainstream media manipulating the stories. Acctually I did not read any of the blogs for long time just signed in today to delete thousands of spams.

    Quran Bible

    April 21, 2007 at 9:51 am

  6. Doug and Zo, I think I agree with you both. This was an unChristian war, it was immoral, illegal and served no national interest.

    Those who defend our soldiers’ honor are correct to do so. Ignorance is perpetrated upon our young people, they do not know the politics nor should they be expected to question their leaders when they have accepted a military rank. You obey orders unless the orders are illegal, you follow the chain of command. The politicians are in charge, they decide to send the troops to Iraq, the troops go to Iraq. They don’t provide the troops with sufficient armor, they don’t give them adequate training, and they expect these young people to cope with living in conditions that we would all consider intolerable.

    Eventually people have to know the truth and we have to decide what to do, and there are some hard choices we are going to have to make. If you’ve made mistakes in your life, so have I, so has everyone — stop making them when you recognize them to be mistakes.

    We don’t need more soldiers. We don’t need more martyrs. We don’t need more enemies. We don’t need more victims. We don’t need more violence. Please stop.


    April 21, 2007 at 9:31 pm

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