Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Winning Lie
Last week the GOP gave us a number of speakers drawing attention to the fact that Sen. McCain supported the Iraq war strategy known as "the surge", and that Sen. Obama did not.  At times their criticism of Obama based on spurning the surge sank to the level of mockery.

Typically the speaker would say something about Obama declaring the war as lost and refusing to support the surge, at which point the crowd would boo loudly.  They would follow this up and receive even louder cheers by saying that McCain supported the surge and now we are winning.  There we find the lie.

The claim that we are winning in Iraq is a wonderful example of political misuse of our language.  Winning, you understand, means being better off in some way, than you were before entering the competition.

About nine months ago, I had a serious car crash.  The Ford Explorer I was driving (not too well, apparently) was totaled when I drove it into a tree.  That impact got its start about one hundred meters away, where I drove over some ice covered by a thin layer of snow at the beginning of a left turn.  At that point I lost control of where the car was going.  My attempts at correction were either futile or over compensating.  The car and I crossed the left lane of the two lane road and nearly hit a fence on that side of the road, but continuing in a nearly straight line we crossed the road and went head on into a tree on the right side.  After the jolt, I was nearly overwhelmed by the sound of the horn blaring and the gunpowdery smell of the airbag propellant.  I was alive and relatively uninjured ~ no hospital visit was required. 

Our nation's experience in Iraq since 2003 has been like my adventure in the Explorer: poorly planned; an ineffective reaction to a precipitating event; involving unexpected results; loud; smoky; and, not fatal (except to the 4100 soldiers who have died in Iraq, and whom we are trained to ignore).

There is no way to win a car wreck.  And there is no way to win a war.  When you drop the first bomb, you are merely admitting that you have lost.

Oh, the one difference between the car crash and the war in Iraq: the tree survived my assault without any apparent harm.

1 comment:

Julie said...

I originally posted this October 6, 2007. I think it's still relavant.

The War in Iraq

The following is a newspaper article I read in a local newspaper. I did not write or change anything in it. It was written by Foster Childs and he edited and adapted it from an article written by General Vernon Chong, USAF. As the writer states - EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD READ IT. It's pretty long, but worth the read.

The price of defeat

Can we lose the war in Iraq?

If so, what does losing really mean?

We can definitely lose this war, and the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the question "what does losing mean?"

Most that rail against the war in Iraq think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going about our business. This is extremely dangerous and about as far from the truth as one can get.

What losing really means is that America would no longer be the premier country in the world. Losing means that the attacks would not subside, but steadily increase. Radical Muslims want us dead, not quiet. If they wanted us just quiet, they would not have carried out an increasingly escalating series of attacks against us over the past 18 years. And they are not stupid - like any competent aggressor they have a plan. Their plan is to attack us until political infighting and dissension divides us. Once divided we lose our greatest weapon - the rabid, unselfish patriotism that has held our enemies at bay for over two hundred years. And once we lose that, we lose everything.

We would have no future support from any other nations, for fear of reprisals. They would see that America cannot protect them as we have in the past. Once that happens, our entire economy will collapse. And our way of life, as we have known it for 200 years, will vanish. Any country that dares to trade or deal with us will be threatened with violence by the Muslims. Because if America doesn't have the fortitude to stop the Muslims, how could anyone else?

The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore are completely committed to winning - at any cost. It's about time America realizes it and becomes likewise committed to winning - at any cost. And until we recognize the cost of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100 percent of our resources and efforts into winning.

So, how can we lose the war? The answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding." That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and what is really at stake - our very way of life. The only way to avoid this is for all Americans to unite in our support of one goal - victory.

Some in Hollywood have gone so far in their criticism of the war and the Bush Administration that it almost seems they would like to see us lose. I don't believe it is because they are disloyal - they are just too absorbed in their own little play-acting world to grasp what losing means. Nevertheless, their rhetoric gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. This encourages our enemies, while causing distress to our allies and, more importantly, to our troops.

Americans have been accused for many years of being arrogant. I agree with that. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, so powerful and so fearless, that we can defeat any evil in the world! The truth is that we can, but only if we stand united. If we don't recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive, and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.

America can never be defeated by mere military force. We can only be defeated by ourselves - politically correct piece by politically correct piece.

If we are united, there is no way we can lose.

If we continue to be divided, there is no way we can win!

(Okay, now these are MY thoughts...)
I know too many people who either are or recently were in the military to not be affected by articles like this. My brother in law served twice in Iraq. I know a son/brother/husband who will be serving in Afghanistan in the near future. Both of these men are fiercely patriotic and would die for their country and families. Non-military people have NO idea what our troops are doing for us overseas. Even those of us who have ties to the military probably only get a glimpse of what they do. Regardless of what you think about the war, you have to remember that those men and women who so fearlessly defend OUR freedom are doing their jobs. They signed up for this. Any person who has joined the military in the last four and a half years did so KNOWING that they might end up going to Iraq, or at least the Middle East somewhere. To say they are being forced to go is like saying a police officer is "forced" to go into dangerous situations to arrest criminals. Or that a firefighter is "forced" to go into a burning building. Be it law enforcement, fire fighting, or the military - these men and women CHOOSE to put their lives on the line for us. If any one person goes into any one of these professions with the illusion that their life will NOT be endangered at some point, that person is living in a fantasy world.

What happened to the strong sense of unity that we had when we watched, as a nation, the World Trade Center collapse into a pile of rubble? What happened to wanting to protect our nation from further attacks? If you believe that our military presence in Iraq is bad, consider this - if we are not fighting the terrorists on THEIR turf, they WILL come and fight on OURS. 9/11 is a perfect example of that. I see footage of the streets of Baghdad, and I know that I do not want my children to have to ever see anything close to that here at home. If America loses this war, that is exactly where our country is headed.