Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Fast fights?

Has anyone ever sold a war claiming "man, this is going to go on for years"? Seems like every time someone elects to go to war there's that "it'll be over by Christmas" pledge.

Althougth they didn't have Christmas back then as a war ending benchmark, the Athenians promised a quick victory over the Spartans. More than 30 years later, the Athenians lost their ass.

In August of 1914, the so called great powers, now that the holiday had been invented, promised that it would be over by Christmas. Four years and millions of dead later, the world lay in ruin.

We were supposed to get in and out of Vietnam right away. Ten years later, we get out, three years later the cause 50,000 Americans gave their life for - protecting South Vietnam from Communism, was lost.

How long was Kosovo promised to last? Last time I checked, we're still in Bosnia.

Now we go into Iraq. Whatever happened to those chickenhawks who told us it would be over in six months and we'd pay for it all with oil money? The Bristih initiated a Mesopotamian campaign in 1914, where they invaded Iraq. Five years later, and over 30,000 casualties, they finally conquered the country. As for lasting impact of the ultimate sacrifice of those dead and wounded, the Iraqui house has never been in order. It still isn't.

There was a pro war "support the troops and their mission" rally last weekend in Washington. Speaker after speaker spoke of the "ultimate sacrifice" made by our troops, and the need to finish the mission - honor that sacrifice.

"Mission accomplished" is more than a propaganda baner on ship - it's got to me an idenfiable, realistic goal - worth the most precious resource we have - American lives.

Do people really think that, at some point in the very near future, Iraq will become a stable democracy, say like Iowa, where everyone just gets along.

Democracies are forged, not imposed. A successful democracy, with a diverse population, requires that people trade their differences, foregoing revenge for past wrongs, for the blessings of peace and liberty. To those supporters of the "mission" - does it really look like the Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite factions, who've been at odds for centuries in Iraq, are ready to eat such humble pie? Or, like two combatants in a domestic disturbance, are they just waitin for the cops to leave?

When the epilogue of this war is written eighty years from now, I hope and pray the American blood staining the sands of Iraq will bear better fruit than their British predicessors'.

How many times can we turn our heads - in favor of a cartoonistic notion that we can remake in just a short time an Iraq that dates back to Mesopotamia - and pretend that we just don't see what's really going on?

The answer is blowing in the wind.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Safe as Iowa is a straw man. The iraq election sounds like it will be a success regardless of the outcome. Democracy doesn't require your side to win for it to be a good idea. The Sunnis regret not voting the first time, and are likely going to turn out in high numbers. They may vote the constitution down which will leave them fealing empowered. That is a good start for a lasting democracy. The other possibility is the constitution will pass. That sounds like success too. The rules have changed for this vote such that local politics have been strengthened. This will mean more Sunnis in office and less identity politics for everyone. There is a strong Iraqi patriotism. Maybe the glass is one third full. That would be cautious optimism.