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Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Errorism


"We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail." George W. Bush, 2001

At this point, is it safe to say we have both tired and faltered? Not to a man perhaps, but is anyone not weary of this war? Put it this way: if you remove the ambivalent and apathetic from the equation (the former term best describes the writer of this piece and the latter probably best describes anyone outside his circle of family and friends who might happen along this blog) and ask only people who have strong opinions on the Iraq War, you're likely to get three types of respondents. One is opposed to the war and has been from the beginning; a second was in favor of the war at its outset but has since turned against it; a third has supported the war effort throughout. But a fourth category is either missing or miniscule. Who opposed it at first but has converted to a pro-war stance? Where are these people?

In fairness, human nature is partly to blame for this. Nothing so costly in lives, time and money is likely to gain momentum over three years; it would take a miracle just to hold support steady
and expecting an increase borders on an optimism at which even Horatio Alger might chuckle dismissively, especially considering the nature of guerilla warfare, which confounds observers and combatants as to who the enemy even is, let alone which side is winning or losing. Thus, predictions as to how much longer the fighting will last and who will prevail become almost impossible.

No matter which category you fall into, it's difficult to deny the War on Terror has been a vast and profoundly expensive undertaking. Perhaps we should be fighting a concurrent War on Error, since any misstep is bound to be costly. Yet, almost paradoxically, this also seems like a point in time where we can't be afraid to make a mistake, because we have to find a strategy that works! Well, I have some suggestions. They're risky, but nothing we try from this point won't be.

1. Mend Fences in the Middle East
The chief country we want back in the fold is Turkey, but no opportunity to ease tensions should be squandered and no nation should be overlooked due to lack of size or power (Jordan, Lebanon) or past hostilities (Iran, Syria). Even our staunchest allies in the region, Israel and Kuwait, should be consulted.
As an addendum, the Iran question must be solved to the extent it can be. Iran says it doesn't want a nuclear weapon, but the world seems incredulous. Iran, after all, wants to be the toughest kid on the block and it's a rough neighborhood. With Saddam Hussein ousted, it could be Iran's chance. The best we can hope to achieve from Iran is neutrality and if this isn't possible, we should be content with benign resentment; what we don't want is active obstructionism.

2. Pull Troops from Iraq
If the first objective is achieved, then phase two can begin. Every soldier in the whole country can make for Kuwait or Turkey or whatever nearby country will put us up. Their status will effectivly be "on call" and whenever the new Iraqi government encounters a situation beyond its control, our forces can step in and tidy up. Doing this will not prevent terrorist attacks in Iraq, but it might turn the blame squarely on the terrorists rather than dividing it between the two hostile parties. As it stands now, few Iraqis are happy with the situation, but terrorist propoganda shifts the blame from themselves to our own soldiers. Our absence would not eliminate this excuse, but it would probably seem like a less credible one to Iraqi citizens getting their houses blown up when there are no American or British troops in sight.

Of course, with this plan there is a risk of outright Civil War on a scale even larger than whatever one chooses to call the current state of affairs, but the sad fact is this: we can address a Civil War far easier than we can tackle the current problem. If a sectarian conflict explodes in Iraq, it will be bloody and tragic, but enemies and friends will be far easier to identify. We would side with the Shiites, assuming it's only a two-pronged conflict between them and the Sunnis and the Kurds remained stable. Why side with the Shiites? We would have to. They're the majority and were oppressed for years under Saddam Hussein. It doesn't mean all Shiites are magnanimous and all Sunnis are sinister, but the choice is clear. Without Shiite cooperation, coalition forces would have made even less progress than they've managed so far.

3. Admit to Specific Mistakes
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice confessed during a trip to Britain that many tactical errors had been made during the War on Terror, but she didn't identify a particular mistake. It's a start, but let's hear more. Let's hear our leaders say what they screwed up and when without being put on trial or placed under duress by continued media scrutiny. More transparency would set a good example for the budding democracies of the world in, say, Iraq, and perhaps warm some currently chilly relationships with some of our alleged allies.

One lesson being driven home that should have been obvious all along is this: military power can't fix the world. No single force or idea can. Not love nor money, not religion nor generosity, not capitalism nor music nor even Oprah Winfrey. This is why we can't tire ourselves out pursuing the same faltering approach or we will fail. Catastrophically.

Just doing my part to fight the War on Error. Feel free to offer your own ideas in the comments section. But one favor, please: let's save the sloganeering for someone else's webpage. This means no references to the "Bush War Machine" from war critics and no "God Bless Americas" from the pro-administration folks. Please have your own ideas and not something you heard on Fox News or Air America. Thanks in advance.

3 Comments:

Anonymous BUSH WAR MACHINE said...

GOD BLESS AMERICA.

06 April, 2006 09:39  
Anonymous Tony H. said...

Although I do not agree with some of what you posted I have to say that I am refreshed by the fact that you refused to slam a particular party or person. Based on some of your previous postings one might have expected political mud-slinging. For steering clear of that (all too familiar) trap I thank you.

06 April, 2006 09:50  
Anonymous BUSH WAR MACHINE said...

Sorry about the whole GOD BLESS AMERICA thing.

06 April, 2006 09:51  

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