War Ramblings and My Predictions
Memorial service in Kuwait. Credit: DOD
Well, Prince Harry isn’t going to Iraq. Probably for the best, he would have been a magnet for attacks, and that’s not really fair to the troops that would have served with him. At least he was willing to go, which sadly can’t be said of much of America’s upper crust. In the fifties something like 50% of Yale graduates were veterans. Now it’s a few percent at best. It’s a shame really, this is one of the reasons I like the idea of national service. If the upper crust have to go through the military like everyone else, it’s going to keep them more in touch with what regular Americans are like. Plus with national service we’d have a much larger pool of veterans to call upon when we did need them.
Moving right along, I’m guessing now we aren’t going to be attacking Iran this year. There’s so many things that could go wrong I don’t think even Bush would risk it. And our troops in Iraq are way too vulnerable to Iranian attack if we start a shooting war with Iran. Some have suggested that Bush is more likely to attack next year after our troops are on their way out of Iraq. I suspect sometime this year we will announce a withdrawal schedule of some sort. The Army can’t maintain these sorts of losses forever, it’s stretched way too thin as it is. Of course if Bush had declared a draft after 911 we would be in much better shape now in that regard, why he didn’t still mystifies me. How can you have a war without a draft?
It’s too late though, the Bush administration blinded themselves with optimistic predictions about their war in Iraq, and is finally grasping what a mess they got themselves into. Some are saying we need to stay in Iraq until the Malaki government is a functioning secular democracy and can defend itself, but there doesn’t seem to be much chance of that happening anytime soon. Or ever. And we can’t afford to stay for years or decades more, this war on the other side of the world has been hideously expensive. Bush isn’t trying to win anymore, he’s trying to get out and pass the blame.
There really are no other options anymore, it’s just a matter of getting out without a complete debacle. I’m basically predicting now that the whole Iraq mess will end with a whimper and not a bang. Baring some other calamity like Pakistan having an Islamic revolution, Bush will let Congress twist his arm somehow and start pulling out this fall or next year. It’s pretty much standard American politics to postpone stuff like this, some 30,000 of our dead in Vietnam occurred after it was obvious that the South Vietnamese government was doomed.
Sadly too I predict that the right will blame the “loss” of Iraq on liberals, and ultimately this war will do more damage to our national psyche than Vietnam did. Many Americans don’t understand or don’t want to understand that God doesn’t take sides and sometimes things aren’t going to turn out the way we hoped. Just as in Vietnam, we launched ourselves into a war with little thought or understanding of what we were getting into, confident that our righteous cause could not fail. And like in Vietnam, we will not learn from our mistakes.
Depressing, but it could go a lot worse too. Time will tell, I don’t have a crystal ball like so many talking heads seem to possess. All I can do is pray for the safe return of our soldiers and urge Americans not to turn on each other in these difficult times. If we blame each other for our failings, our enemies win by default.
(The above image of Captain Christopher Seifert’s memorial service, March 24, 2003, Kuwait, is a public domain DOD image. Courtesy of Geekphilosopher.com)