Enough about “winning” and “losing” in Iraq

I’m ever so tired of this administration and the supporters of the occupation of Iraq talking about the war in terms of winning and losing.

“We can win the war in Iraq” they tell us. “We must win.” “We cannot lose the will to win.” “We cannot afford to lose.” “It would send a terrible message to our enemies if we give up and lose the war in Iraq.”

This is international policy they’re talking about; decisions which effect our foreign relations, national security, the federal budget and its impact on the economies both domestic and global, and most importantly, the lives of millions of Iraqi civilians and U.S. citizens—both those serving in the armed forces and all the people connected to them back home. Yet our president and his supporters insist on talking about it like some high school football game.

Our foreign policy shouldn’t be about winning or losing. The days of such bellicose swagger should have gone the way of Otto “Iron Chancellor” von Bismark and Teddy “Rough Rider” Roosevelt. Our foreign policy should be about what is in the best interest of the global community—which will ultimately serve our own interests best in the long run. If the best means by which to help the Iraqis achieve their interests is to maintain a presence in Iraq (a dubious proposition), then by all means lets stay. If, on the other hand, our presence is catalyzing the ongoing tragedy in Iraq and further sow the sort of enmity which the terrorist organizations are so eager to harvest, no length of stay will make the deaths of our soldiers any more honorable or meaningful. I like message military strategy no more than I like message legislation. If the course which we’ve stayed so long is indeed harmful to the well-being of Iraq, we should immediately begin a withdrawal, regardless of whether or not that withdrawal appears to the war hawks to be a defeat.

I doubt things in Iraq would measurably improve upon our withdrawal. The tragedy of the situation in which this administration has entangled us is that there is likely no truly positive alternative. All possible options seem to entail heavy costs and potentially disastrous consequences for Iraq. It is a matter of determining which will cause the fewest problems. All else being equal, I call for the option that at least minimizes the cost to our nation in money and blood. In other words, unless a compelling case can be made that our presence will minimize the bloodshed in Iraq and expedite the formation of a government which derives its legitimacy from the consent of the people, lets stop interfering. The burden of proof should be upon those who want to continue to spend U.S. money and life, not those who wish to conserve the same.

In any case, this isn’t a game of any kind whatsoever. Millions of lives are at stake, both at home and abroad. By framing the issue in the terms they choose debases the entire issue, and only serves to expose the prideful, juvenile perspective of the administration.

4 Responses to “Enough about “winning” and “losing” in Iraq”

  1. rmwarnick Says:

    I’m afraid it’s time to stop worrying about Iraq, even though it’s our fault the country has fallen apart. We have to save our Army and Marine Corps before it’s too late. Withdrawal ASAP.

  2. bett Says:

    So much agree. Winning? Losing? We’re beyong that. Who could ever have been so foolish as to believe there could ever be a clear “win” when dealing with the unstable countries of the Middle East? Cowboys — that’s who. Arrogant politicians who don’t even read the daily paper of the people they are supposed to serve. The politicians who think they know better, who think they are above the people they are meant to serve. How many politicians have a family stake in the war? How many have sons, daughters in the line of fire? How many current politicians have been in the line of fire themselves? Cheney had “other priorities” during the time he was eligible to serve. It is time all Americans get their own priorities in order and decline the opportunity to continue this war.

  3. Rich Sykes Says:

    I was there…and I can tell you the violence is contained to very small pockets. As a matter of fact, most of Ramadi has been pacified. Don’t you think the isolation of Iran is worth the sacrifice? A democracy in the Middle East, maybe a stretch. However, after what I saw for the two years I was there, I can tell you it’s not what you read about in the press…certainly not what the Nevada weirdo Harry Reid says either. Forget about thie administration…the man does what he thinks is right, and forget about the analogies to Vietnam…different war, different time. We are not fighting the Iraqi’s…the insurgents consider themselves Muslim extemists with no affiliation to any country. We have been quite successful. we have bad days…good days…bad weeks, and good weeks. But the good far outweigh the bad. But, take it from a long time combat vet and Mormon…someday it would be terrific if all religions could worship in the Middle East…an we could have a Temple to worship right in Bagdad.

  4. Captain Rich Sykes Says:

    PS…don’t worry about us…morale is high…we’re doing A-OK

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