Wednesday, September 1, 2010

War's End

So just like that it’s done. The shooting part of the war in Iraq ends with both a bang and whimper, and we could say that the whole war is over, because what is war if not shooting? That’s the object of it all, isn’t it? Lobbing hard pieces of metal at the other guy and hoping to hurt him…

It took President Obama seventeen minutes to tell us about it. Seven years, seventeen minutes. One point five million troops, 4,400 American and ally fatalities, 32,000 wounded, at a cost of $740 billion. Notice, we aren’t told how many Iraqis died, or how much it cost them to have a dictator—a mean SOB, for sure—deposed, and a country essentially destroyed—largely because Dubya Bush was pissed off that said dictator threatened to kill Bush Senior, his daddy. The sad truth is, Dubya’s war essentially financed Al Qaeda’s growth, prompting untold thousands of young Islamists to join the terrorist ranks…

Fifty thousand troops will remain as advisers. What does a twenty-something volunteer from the States advise? “Shoot this guy, not that one?” These men and women will stay in Iraq until the end of 2011.

It seems a lot of details haven’t been worked out, though. If a bad guy (read, an Islamic terrorist) shoots at a good guy (us), is the good guy allowed to return fire? And if casualties or fatalities result, is it murder? Who takes who to trial?  It’s all pretty confusing.

The end of the war in Iraq will fund the prolongment of the war in Afghanistan, since President Obama favors one and not the other. Our troops will die in a rocky hell-hole instead of a sandy one, and the dollars saved will certainly never come back to the States to become, say, education or health care money.

And of course I’m simplifying things, using Occam’s Razor "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate," very roughly translated as “the simpler the explanation, the better" or "don't multiply hypotheses unnecessarily” (the Latin makes me seem smart.)  Erudite books will be written about this long and costly war; blame will be assigned to Presidents, generals, foot soldiers and politicians. We’ll never get the $$740 billion back. Heck, we invaded a prime oil-producing country and the price of gas went up!

Hopefully there will be lessons learned here, but probably not many. Ever since David and Goliath, we’ve liked to throw rocks at each other and invent better slingshots—it spurs the economy, if not much else.

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