Thursday, March 20, 2008

March 19, 2008

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing.
Gone for soldiers every one....
No, it's not as bad as Vietnam. The American death toll in the Iraq war is at 4,000. The Vietnam Wall in Washington has 58,000 names. Still, the Iraq war is five years old and I'll bet many of us would have a hard time telling a stranger what it's about.
Vietnam was about containing Communism, except that Ho Chi Minh won.  The Vietnamese then learned that Marxism doesn't work. They kept the rhetoric while abandoning the practice in favor of joint ventures with capitalist companies and countries.
Why did we invade Iraq?  Saddam Hussein was a dictator, of course, but George W. Bush never promised to overthrow all the dictators in the world.   Iraq was not any kind of threat to the United States.  An American-led coalition had thrown Saddam out of Kuwait a few years earlier and he was certainly smart enough to know that he wouldn't do any better the second time around.
President Bush, in a birthday speech about the war, said that it was "noble" and "necessary."  Nobility, I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder, but necessary?  For what?  The army needed practice?
The President also said in his speech that the war is being won.  Well, the level of violence is down, though it's flared up a bit in the last couple of weeks.  But if the original idea was to create some sort of stable country, some sort of system that could peacefully accommodate its three warring groups--Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds--it's hard to see that we've made any progress at all.  The political system is as broken-down as ever.  And oil production's a mess too, if that's what the war was about.
Do the Iraqis want us there?  They tell pollsters no.  Are we doing anything useful there?  Not that I can see.  The Iraqis will have to figure out their own politics.  We can't.
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago,
Gone to graveyards every one.
When will they ever learn? 

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