I left this comment at “The Moderate Voice” on a post about how us awful lefties were SO convinced that this war was awful that we weren’t looking for “victory” anymore.
But it stands on its own, and, frankly, I doubt that it will be much read in its context over there.
In Vietnam, we knew that the war was hopeless in 1968. But we hung on for five more years, and two years after THAT, in 1975, Vietnam fell altogether.
Did we save face? And do we remember that it was a similar post-election strategy of surge that produced the majority of our fatalities? AFTER 1968.
If we would have left in 1968, the only difference in the outcome would have been fewer people killed.
I am willing to bet you that this is precisely the same scenario.
Pull the taffy as you will: the bottom line is that the people of Iraq are RIGHT NOW worse off than they were before this senseless invasion and occupation.
It is only hubris on our part that imagines we have any control over the outcome. The people of Iraq will, ultimately, decide Iraq’s future, for good or ill. Let’s let them do it by getting out of their way.
Let’s learn from the tragic mistake of Vietnam: Stop the meatgrinder. Just walk away.
As for “national pride,” and “saving face,” I have always found that people who are secure in themselves can admit to mistakes and move on.
This isn’t “Vietnamization” or “Iraqification.” It’s not quitting smoking with little nicotine patches. Just pull out as fast as possible, and count the lives you’ve saved.
And let me add this, here: to argue speciously that we have to “maintain America’s prestige” while we sit, frozen like deer in the headlights, incapable of withdrawing out of SHEER FALSE PRIDE, is exactly criminal.
It is the hubris of Greek tragedy.
I include in that the bullshit that Al Franken’s been slinging for a couple years now, that we have to be “responsible” or any other smokescreen for the paralysis that freezes us in a war we never should have undertaken — that perfect reversal of moral choice: we didn’t agonize much about going in, but now, having realized that going in was a mistake, we agonize ENDLESSLY about “pottery barn rules” and our “responsibility.”
Our responsibility is to our KIDS. Get them the hell out of there, instead of forcing them to risk their lives so that hypocrite John “I got my plane shot down” McCain can pretend to shop.
(Dozens of people from that market were executed the next day, their bodies found north of Baghdad, in a story you probably didn’t see, since it was relegated to page 17 in all the papers. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are CULPABLE for those murders by any rational standard, but the charge isn’t even MADE, let alone made to stick.)
To REFUSE TO ACT is aiding and abetting in the pointless murder of American kids (like mine, a 1st lt. in the army) and Iraqi men, women and children.
Mohammed says something in the Koran that needs to be taken to heart: More evil is done by foolish men in the name of foolishness than by evil men in the name of evil.
These “sins of omission” are just as deadly and evil, as if those now dragging their feet on withdrawal were actually holding the guns and shooting our kids in the back of the head. And as morally reprehensible.
I don’t give a good goddam how “abstract” it is, it is EXACTLY the same as Dick “Fourth Branch” Cheney is holding a bowie knife to my son’s throat. (Which is what he is doing.)
We will be just as embarrassed over Iraq, whether or not we leave now, or in ten years (as Petraeus suggested the other day).
What kind of sick adult agonizes whether or not they’ll be called a “coward” or a “cut and runner”? My stepdad taught me from an early age that “it takes a bigger man to walk away from a fight than to get into one.”
I can tell you from longstanding personal experience that he was absolutely right. I’m not yellow because I walk away from fights. Neither should our leadership be. It’s getting into juvenile schoolyard fights in this craven manner that has been the hallmark, the “gold standard” of cowardice.
And here’s a little secret of über-machodom: the REAL cowards are the ones who would rather get people killed than be seen as chicken. Real men eat quiche. Only the phony macho worry about it.