Thursday, September 29, 2005

No easy answers

Sometimes in life there are no easy answers. Take for instance, Iraq. It's clear in hindsight (and for some foresight) that invading and occupying Iraq has been a disappointment. However pulling up stakes now will cause even more chaos and blowback. Yet, it may be inevitable at this point so we might as well take our medicine like aduls and not waste more effort trying to save the unsalvageable.

But knowing that, having in one's head played out the logical conclusion of the chess board, is not the same as the country being ready to do it. The time to oppose the war, to vote against it, or to at least abstain voting for it, would have been at the onset. Getting up and screaming and getting red-faced on a podium won't bring troops home sooner, and might indeed get one blamed for undermining the war effort.

It is not outrage that will end this war, but fatigue and irony. Comedy and the ludricuousness of the situation are the true anti-war weapons. Where are the WMD? Where are the flowers and candy? Some cakewalk, right? Are the troops going to be home some year soon? Wonderful care Rumsfeld is taking of our boys, still denying them reimbursement for body armor a year after the Congressional act mandating that the Pentagon do so. So we gonna win this war some decade soon please?

People are slow on the uptake sometimes, not because they are stupid, but because they are as all of us loathe to admit that they were wrong. So Iraq will not fall apart in some politically panicky cut & run, but it will fall apart and die a cut of a thousand deaths. When the occupation has become a feature in American living rooms and a thousand jokes have been told and retold and repeated around water coolers and the people who were gung ho for the war are not red-faced but just quiet and tired and give up well then and only then will the war end. It is not a bang we are looking for but a long drawn out whimper.

Having failed to stop the war when it was launched and having failed to prevent its creation, it must run its course. It must run its course until every delusion and every rationale and every rosy-light-at-the-end-of-tunnel has not just failed but mocked to a restless grave. When the supporters of the war have nothing left to say, when Bush is out of office, when the next President exhausts his own political capital trying to save American face by tip-toeing out and then we get smacked on the rear by the door getting slammed on us on the way out then it will end.

It must end that way because people still aren't ready to force the leaders desperately wasting lives to try to keep themselves from being embaressed to walk away. That's the way a democracy works. We get the leaders that we allow to take power. They stay there and do what they want until we force them, by statuatory term limit or by electoral ballot box revolt, to leave. It's not the most romantic view of Democracy but it is the one that most comports with the facts on the ground.

So Bush will continue to try to make Iraq work while looking for a way out where he doesn't have to admit he was wrong. He won't find either, and so we'll be stuck while he holds out for a way not to be ridiculed as a failed war leader. Iraq will continue to get worse no matter what is done at this point and it will degrade us, it will drag us down, and when we leave it will blow up in our faces. And we will put up with it and shuffle on because that's how this sort of thing works.

Trying to hurry it along won't earn you any thanks, it will end when the next President tries to disentangle himself from it without getting too much mud on his face. And yes, all the words written about not having enough supplies and not enough troops and not enough brains to make this war work right are true and they matter. It's just that they matter mostly to the people in Iraq getting screwed over by this, our soldiers and the Iraqis. It also matters to the nation's greatness, because each day that slips by we lose a bit of our national greatness. A not inexhaustible amount, a possibly renewable, but presently declining greatness frittered away by weak liberals and wrong conservatives.

It is the doom of our generation to see Vietnam, part II, the remake on steroids. What we learn from it and how we take care of business at home to clean up all the abuses and failures of the system that produced this monstrousity, that is our work. That is where we can make a difference. That is where we should focus our efforts. Never again, but never again what? Never again a 5-4 Supreme court split deciding the electoral winner of the Executive of the United States of America? Never again fuzzy electoral results producing an unfit leader? Never again a corrupt party politics and an insanely pandering grassroots machinery that produces ineffectual and wasteful government in the name of trying to reform it? We have a lot of things to do, there is much that can be done, but first the Vietnam and only then when it's clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that it all went wrong and there is no defending it, then we move on.

9 Comments:

At October 2, 2005 at 8:35 AM, Blogger TS said...

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At October 2, 2005 at 6:51 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Hey,
Good to see you're posting again! I kept you on my Bloglines blogroll for ages, just in case, but I'd pretty much given up hope. It was a pleasant surprise to see that you're back.
Amy

 
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