A War That We Now Find Ourselves In

After being briefed at the Pentagon Wednesday, the president said

thank these men who wear our uniform for a very candid and fruitful
discussion about the — about how to secure this country, and how to
win a war that we now find ourselves in.”

After being briefed at the Pentagon Wednesday, the president said

thank these men who wear our uniform for a very candid and fruitful
discussion about the — about how to secure this country, and how to
win a war that we now find ourselves in.”

There’s a lot of talk about “those who wear our uniform” on the part of the president, as well as having met “too
many wives and husbands who have lost their partners in life, too many
children who won’t ever see their mom and dad again. I owe it to them
and to the families who still have loved ones in harm’s way to ensure
that their sacrifices are not in vain.”

It’s not something a parent or husband or wife wants to do, to
sacrifice someone to a war—any war. But I would think it’s not in the
interests of those who have lost, as well as those who will lose, to throw more American bodies into hopeless battle just to ensure that prior sacrifices are not in vain.
The vain in that circumstance would be vainglorious– enhancing the president’s feelings of self-importance.
More vain than that, one cannot get. Vain has two meanings and the
president ought to be careful in using the word. Both apply to Iraq and
both are emblematic of the president (characteristic of false pride; having an exaggerated sense of self-importance) and the mission to which our troops have been assigned (unproductive of success).
If this war were a book title, it would be The Vain War.
Taking the second part of Mr. Bush’s Wednesday statement, “how to win a war that we now find ourselves in,” it’s staggering to hear this man refer to America finding ourselves
in a war that he forced upon the nation. There is no other word for it,
no charitable description of how we came to Iraq, but by deception,
fear-mongering and outright lies.
This president dishonors everyone who has supported him, every
soldier who has died in his behalf, every widow and orphan. He
trivializes an entire generation of servicemen and women who will live
out their lives wounded by this falsity. He cuts the financial legs out
of generations to come who will pay for its unfunded costs. He mocks
them all by slip-sliding his personal insistence on this debacle,
calling it instead, the war that we now find ourselves in.
This is, shamefully, the presidency that we now find ourselves in.
Bush told us he’s looking for a plan that combines military action,
political reconciliation, economic development and diplomatic efforts
to get more help from Iraq’s regional neighbors. Military action best serves his cowboy politics, but has been disproved in the field. Political reconciliation
he negates by shaming the democratically elected (if ineffective) Iraqi
government and suggesting the annihilation of the portion (Muqtada
Sadr) of that elected government that displeases him. Economic development was once a possibility that died in the mismanagement of ‘stuff happens.’ Diplomatic efforts in the area (Syria and Iran) have been marginalized by unpalatable prerequisites.
Don’t fail to check out David Ignatius-What Syria Would Say to understand just how much potential Mr. Bush has kicked away in his childish petulance and foot-stamping.
Carl Hulse of The New York Times, writes

the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, spending on the military
outside of the regular budget process, primarily for the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan, has totaled more than $400 billion. For the 12 months
ended Sept. 30, spending on the Iraq war alone ran at an average rate
of $8 billion a month, according to a study by the Congressional
Research Service.”

And so, if we take these
figures (although they could be triple), this war is currently costing
us 3 American dead and $266 million a day to fight. Additionally, it costs 100-150 Iraqi civilian dead a day as well.

The unpublished and unpunished
crime of this war is how George W. Bush took the world’s finest
military and trashed it, made it a laughingstock of the mujaheddin and
pissed away our treasury while doing it.

That book
will one day be written. In the mean time, I have a question that no
one seems to ask. If we are the greatest military power the world has
yet to see, and if our annual military budget is more than the sum of
the next 14 largest military budgets in the world—then how is it that this pissant war has broken the back of the Pentagon?
How is it that we were able to fight a battle across the entire Pacific
theatre to defeat Japan, at the same time fighting a multi-front war in
Europe and North Africa that ultimately destroyed the German Wehrmacht
and Italy’s fighting machine? Yet this operation, confined to one
relatively small and isolated nation, confounds us.
Hitler blitzkrieged his way across Europe and most of Russia, with
the greatest army the world had seen to that time. Japan devoured China
and the Phillipines, as well as most of Indo-China. In less time than this Iraq war has taken, we defeated them.
Simply because they were nations, whose armies and navies met
us on the field of battle, not undefeatable religious zealots. We sent
our drafted armies to battle and our women into factories and when 400
ships were sunk monthly in the Atlantic convoys by Nazi submarines, we manufactured and launched
600. The nation was behind that war. We sweat and saved and sacrificed
as a nation to win that war and it was right, clearly defined and
The sweat and sacrifice in this war is a fraction of the nation. We are
not behind it. We are there because we were lied to and frightened into
a wrong war against a wrong enemy for purposes whose clarity has not yet
been defined. This war’s been outsourced, sub-contracted and thieved
beyond belief. Iraq confronts us with no wolf-pack submarines, owns no
tank battalions, pits no air forces against us, sinks no convoys.
They fight us like dogs in the streets and win.
We have twice had our asses kicked by insurgencies. The first time
we shared that indignity with the French. Cambodia and Laos and Vietnam
were once French Indo-China. If our president had participated in that
war (or any war) he might have been less warlike—less swagger, less bring ’em on and more close attention. But those lessons are learned the hard way, in mud and fear and combat under fire.
They are learned and paid for in blood by “those who wear our uniform.”

Media comment:

1 thought on “A War That We Now Find Ourselves In

  1. There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:
    I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.
    If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”
    The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.
    How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the Sec. Def. to be – Mr. Gates- understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?
    Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.
    From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.
    This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.
    This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.
    We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

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