Sunday, April 22


On This Week just now, Newt Gingrich compared the U.S. military involvement in Iraq to that in South Korea. He stated that our work in South Korea, starting with the Korean War, was a two-generation effort as that nation evolved from a dictatorship to a prosperous democracy, and that Iraq was an even more serious and difficult situation. His argument was reminiscent of those right-wingers I often hear talking about how many years after WWII our military spent completing the pacification of Europe and Japan.

Spare me. The equations are specious. The American military after both the Korean War and WWII ended were not, by definition, engaging in armed warfare as they are in Iraq. Nor is there in Iraq, as there was in WWII, a clear enemy that can surrender, ending the conflict, or as in the case of the Korean conflict, agree to a cessation of hostilities, so the U.S. troops can be transitioned to simply a peacekeeping presence in the region.

The bogus "when [Iraqis, South Koreans, Italians, etc.] stand up, we will stand down" strategy has no logical application in Iraq. Iraqis are Sunni, Shiite, Al Qaeda, loyal to this and that sectarian leader. At present there is no recognized Iraqi identity and no central government with any significant power to enforce its will. And there is little prospect that either will emerge in the foreseeable future. The more likely scenario, if you accept the position of the chickenhawks and the 101st fighting keyboarders, is two generations of American men and women fighting and dying in a futile effort to "crush" the insurgents/terrorists in Iraq while creating exponentially more of them throughout the region and the world.

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