Friday, March 19, 2010

The Nut of the Matter

The military lobby's utlimate weapon:
But the concerns of U.S. Central Command and other defense officials prevailed. "Once DoD went to the extent of saying, 'Soldiers are dying,' because that's ultimately what the command in Iraq, what Centcom did, it's hard for anyone to push back," one former official said.

Politicians and generals have used this old saw for generations to continue dubious wars. It's easier for them to continue than to admit a mistake. And waving the bloody shirt is a good way to stop any questions or discussions.

Certainly, at the tactical level, I am less inclined to question the assertion. In the midst of combat, where soldiers ARE dying, something must be done and done fucking NOW. But that's a pretty basic level of operation. At the command and policy levels, "soldiers are dying" becomes a convenient cover.

At that point I want to know why soldiers are dying. There had better be a damn good reason, something like self-defense against aggressive, hostile action that threatens life and liberty. Otherwise,it's a waste. Energy, economic advantage, profit--typical reasons for war--require the sacrifice of many for the few. A waste. Unless maybe you're on the receiving end of the profit.

Even building democracy and protecting women's rights--oft claimed as reasons for the current wars--are a waste of soldiers' lives. Democracy and the individual rights evolve from the community, not at the point of our bayonets. Sending our soldiers to fight in other nations on behalf of people who either: (a) don't want us there or (b) will use us to their own advantage is a waste.

Looking back on the past eight years of war, my generous assessment is that all but part of the first year have been a waste. A tragic waste. For Americans, Afghanis and Iraqis alike. America's war has done little to disrupt or diminish terrorist violence. What counter-terrorism success that has been achieved has come through good intelligence and police work, not from American military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I ask again, why are our soldiers dying?



Post a Comment

<< Home