Friday, June 02, 2006


Some things the Iraq war has taught us and some questions it has raised:

1. Nobody has all the right answers at the right time. Should we have had more troops in Iraq? Maybe. Would we then have suffered more casualties rather than less? Maybe.

2. War and the way we wage it has changed dramatically since 1945 - and our military is still coming to grips with this fact. Because of nuclear weapons and the mind-boggling capabilities of the U.S. military, the chances of a large, set-piece struggle such as in Korea are slim. But, even as in Korea, the fear of a widening fight will continue to limit our options. And if that doesn't, then our fear of world opinion will.

3. When you train soldiers to be killers and then force them to act with the restraint of policemen, you are asking for trouble.

4. The people of the U.S. need the kind of clear cut choices that we faced in WWII. Sadly, in 2006, if we wait for another Pearl Harbor, we'll lose tens of thousands of civilians and we'll still end up fighting a trans-national enemy who laughs at the Geneva Convention.

5. The U.S. does need to take a hard, dispassionate look at our international alliances in light of the fact that the cold war is over. Perhaps it is time to quit being the world's policeman and retrench at home.

6. Foreign oil and Israel are two flashpoints for those who hate us. We need to reevaluate our attachment to both.

7. Just like Lyndon Johnson before him, George Bush maintains we can have guns and butter. It has become clear that one of the greatest of our failures since 9/11 has been the failure to make the people of the U.S. understand why we need to fight this fight and why we need to win this fight. But, most importantly, the people should have been forced to invest in the fight. As in WWII, when we have to sacrifice for the effort, we all feel a part of the effort - and we'll back it to the hilt.


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