THIS IS NOT A WAR DAMMIT

Iraq is not a war. There is no identifiable enemy, and we’re not “losing” to anyone.

Iraq is a police action. Our objective in Iraq is not to defeat anyone; it’s merely to keep the various native factions from killing each other.

There was a time at which it seemed that the only way we would be able to keep the Shia and the Sunni from killing each other was by killing both of them before they had a chance to kill each other, but these days it seems that the primary objective is to just be there, to pretend that what we call the Iraqi government is actually on the verge of assuming the responsibilities incumbent upon a government, to do the policing while we pretend that any day now, they will be magically endowed with the will and the ability to do their own policing.

They will not. We have now learned the lesson that I predicted five years ago we would learn from Iraq: why it took a Saddam Hussein to run the place.

Don’t get me wrong. Saddam Hussein didn’t make Iraq the mess it is; we did. The United States (unfortunately, not just the bumbling fools in the executive branch who got us into this, but all of us) has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, about how we took a world that was kindly disposed toward us after September 2001 and proceeded to piss it off across the board.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we can fix it. Like Yugoslavia, and like a lot of the American states, Iraq is an artificial state – created by arbitrarily drawing crayon lines on a map. By demolishing the Iraqi dictatorship, we triggered a civil war like the one in Yugoslavia that followed upon the death of Tito.

We are not fighting that war. We are not fighting any war in Iraq. Instead, having discovered that we have started a war, we are now attempting to keep it from happening – to simply deny that it is happening, if we can get away with it.

We can’t get away with it. There is a civil war going on in Iraq, and we started it by toppling Saddam Hussein. That much should be transparently clear to anyone who follows the news.

To claim that we have lost a war in Iraq, or even to claim that we are fighting a war in Iraq, is a gross misunderstanding of the meaning of the word “war”. The Bush administration calls Iraq “a war” so that they don’t have to call it “a police action”, which is what it really is, or “a fuckup”, which it also certainly is.

Why is Bush afraid to call this what it is? Because police actions are the kind of thing the Canadians and the French do. The Canadians are very good at peacekeeping; wherever you see a UN peacekeeping force, Canada has a strong presence.

On the other hand, Americans are not very good at peacekeeping. As a nation, we are temperamentally unsuited to it. If Bush were to admit that Iraq is a frantic effort to stifle a war that we caused, he would lose the last shreds of public support he’s managed to hold on to.

So why is Harry Reid saying silly shit like “we have lost the war”? That’s merely playing into Bush’s hands. That’s propping up the bullshit excuse the administration has been using to justify the killing and maiming of thousands of American soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

What we should be doing is not wringing our hands about having lost a war, or fondling Nancy Pelosi at press conferences. A real leader with a sense of responsibility would go to the United Nations with hat in hand, admit that we made a serious mistake in Iraq, and ask for a consensus on what we should do to fix it –

and then follow that consensus.

As soon as possible, also, we should start getting our combat forces out of Iraq, and get them back out after that Bin Laden guy.

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One Response to “THIS IS NOT A WAR DAMMIT”

  1. Iraq: Not a War « Micropolitan Living Says:

    […] 29th, 2007 by jkc I said it over there; I may as well say it […]

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