There was this yesterday by paradox at The Left Coaster:
It’s always been extremely interesting to me that Senators Clinton and Obama proclaim with varying degrees of intensity that the United States is going to leave Iraq, not that in fact we’ve lost the war. One would think in the natural order of things leadership would state the obvious fact we’ve lost, thus we are leaving, but employing logic has never been a strong American political trait.
I agree with the two named senators that we should leave, and do so forthwith, but I find it difficult to find the grounds upon which paradox bases his claim that we’ve “lost the war.” I’m not sure I have any claim that we’ve won it, either, but any claim to loss or victory depends on why we are, or were, there and that has certainly never been all that well established.
If we were there to find WMD’s, well, then we should have been on our way home several years ago. The fact that we didn’t find them is a failure of objective, but it’s hard to see how it counts as losing a war.
If we went there to depose Saddam Hussein then we have won.
If we went there to create a democracy then, at least on the face of it, we’ve done that. It’s time to declare victory and head home.
If we went there to defeat Al Queda then we were just insane. Al Queda wasn’t there. That’s like the batter coming from the dugout with his bat over his shoulder and standing at first base to face the pitcher, or the quarterback lining up with his hands under the tackle as he calls the snap count. Nothing good is going to come of it when you are in the wrong place.
Al Queda is a stateless entity and cannot be defeated by fighting it in one location, assuming it can be defeated by fighting at all. Against Al Queda, victory and loss are meaningless terms in Iraq and should have no influence on our decision to leave.
If we went there for a lot of less noble reasons; like to become the dominant military power in the Middle East, or to establish permanent military bases, or to control a major oil producer, or to establish occupation and dominion over another sovereign nation, then we seem indeed to failed in those objectives. If any or all of those were our reasons then I might agree that we have “lost the war.”
But is that why 4000 soldiers have died and 30,000 have been maimed? Is that why a million families have been torn apart for five long years? Is that why a trillion dollars have been spent and our economy wrecked?
And that’s just our cost. We don’t even know how many Iraqis have died because we don’t care enough about them to count. They are the enemy, they are supposed to die. By some estimates more than a million have. More than four million have been driven from their homes. An entire nation has been laid waste, made rubble, and city after city turned into a series of walled ghettos.
All for the failed objective of an American Empire?
I profoundly hope that the fog of war, the fog that prevails in the political rhetoric here at home, has confounded and clouded a more noble purpose for all of this than mere empire. For five long years, though, our leadership has never wavered in committing blood and treasure to a war for which the reasons have been as fickle as a maiden’s heart.
I feel certain that when we no longer know why we are fighting a war it is time to stop the trivia about whether we are winning or losing. When we no longer agree on the enemy or the cause then neither term has meaning.
Just stop this madness, and bring them home.