Thursday, December 28, 2006


It was never my strong suit. Nevertheless, with some effort and a good teacher, I was able to master the subject (at least well enough for a 'B').

The calculus that faces us all today – and which will require a far greater application of intellect and will power – is what to do about Iraq. First, we must understand that “Iraq” is just a metaphor for the apocalyptic theocracy which motivates much of the politics of the developing world.

It would be all too easy to just say, “Well, it was a noble instinct that brought us here, but we see now that we can’t win.” To retreat from Iraq would force on us a world-wide defensive war against the same kind of indiscriminate, self-immolating attacks we’ve faced for the last five years. Whereas our enemies will never stop attacking us, we will never see peace so long as we are on the defensive. The attacks we’ve suffered will only stop when our enemies are dead. Anyone who can’t see that is willfully blind. Thus, unless you are willing to accept a “certain number” of 9/11 style (but much more casualty-ambitious) attacks (or a retreat from the world and the economic collapse that would entail) a defensive war is not a solution, or, thus, an option.

Now, that just leaves an offensive solution.

There are two facets to the solution which inform the decision-making in Washington: Military and Political.

Militarily, it is a “no-brainer”. You send in 50,000 troops and you clear and hold Baghdad until the Iraqis can create a stable, relatively democratic government capable of defending itself and the people against the forces currently arrayed against it. If it takes ten years, then it takes ten years.

But, here’s where the calculus comes into play. The problem is with the second ‘facet’ – Politics. The people of the United States, having been convinced by a pusillanimous and America-hating leftist media that the war should never have been fought in the first place, are now convinced we cannot win and therefore will not tolerate any further sacrifice in the attempt. Additionally, the civilian casualties necessary to ‘pacify’ Baghdad will not be tolerated either.

We have attempted to fight this war in a kinder, gentler fashion. We’ve gone to self-defeating lengths to spare the indigenous non-combatant population from unnecessary injury. What have we achieved? They are still dying by the truck load. The Iraqi people are being killed by their own kind and we have done virtually nothing to stop it because we don’t want to hurt them. Re-read the last sentence and think about it for a minute. The bottom line is that the Iraqis have and will continue to pay a very high price for Saddam’s rule because of the necessity of his removal and the turmoil that has unleashed. If we had never gone in, they would be still be dying: in his torture chambers and gassed in their villages. Thus, it is my opinion that we bear no responsibility for their suffering. As to our own casualties, just ask a random selection of our personnel over there whether we can win and if they're willing to stick it out until then. If they're willing to stay and fight, why should we think that the sacrifice isn't worth it?

Were we to take off the white gloves and descend upon Baghdad with a World War Two level of ferocity, we could easily win and as a happy coincidence we would likely see Iran, Syria et al reconsider their anti-American activities.

Will this happen? Actually, yes. However, first we will retreat. The delivery of our final answer to the medieval mindset of Islamic extremists around the world will require the United States to suffer an attack the likes of which will make 9/11 look like an ice cream social. Only when we've lost 50,000 civilians in a nuclear or biological attack will we wake up and decide to fight. Then, the bloodletting and suppression of civil liberties will be beyond today’s comprehension. Today, when we could bring things to a conclusion with much blood, we will wring our hands and not act. Later, the bloodshed will be of Biblical proportions and we will wail, gnash our teeth and point our fingers at those who lost the opportunities to act while there was yet time.

Alas, such is human nature.


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