Wednesday, November 23, 2005

America must win the war in Iraq. This isn't mere rhetoric, or some militant call to arms. It is merely a statement of fact. There is, at present, no way for America to lose the war, because there is no readily comprehensible plan to win.

Since the start of the Iraq war, the White House has brilliantly concealed its purpose, goals, and rationale. Was the goal a democratic Iraq? A stable Iraq? Any Iraq short of outright civil war? One year into the occupation the endpoint of the project was already so muddled it could be any of those of none of them. And therein lies the genius: if you have no set or discernible goal, there's no way to fail to accomplish it. And if you can't fail, how can you not succeed?

Indeed, since the war has no clear objectives, its objectives can be adjusted to have already been met at any point. A successful terrorist attack becomes a sign of weakness and desperation in the enemy; an eruption of insurgent violence becomes part of a brilliant flypaper strategy. Consider the following dire sentiment:
If America stays bogged down in Iraq, the country's deterioration into sectarian violence and partition may become inevitable, even as the sustained military commitment leads to the collapse of the U.S. armed forces as we know them.
Grim, yes. But let's take a look at this pig wearing the bright, shiny lip gloss of victory!
If America stays the course in Iraq, the country's advancement into sectarian friskiness and partition may become a success, even as the sustained military commitment leads to a transformation of the military for the twenty-first century.
Ah, that's more like it! Indeed, once we discard any plans or expectations for actual success, victory can become anything: an oppressive theocracy, a costly, drawn-out slaughter, a bloody civil war, a butterfly dreaming it's a monk dreaming it's victory. What could "failure" possibly look like in the context of a scenario where we don't know what we're trying to achieve? When winning becomes a state of mind, insanity becomes an increasingly attractive option. What have you got to lose?

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posted by the Medium Lobster at 2:19 PM




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