Getting On With The War
By Roy D. Follendore III
Copyright (c) 2003 by RDFollendoreIII
I have not written in a while and there is a reason for that. The delay it has not just been that the events of this war occurred so quickly. The fact is that it took time to consider and come to grips with the true implications of our unilateral invasion. Understanding the repercussions of that may mean for the strategies and the people of Iraq and America is what this essay is all about. This essay, "Getting On With The War" is about the next step, the issues of we Americans finding their individual way to make peace.
May 13, 2003
Maybe it is now beginning to dawn on our voting Americans that it does not matter if we won the war in Iraq. War does not create democracy. Right now, in Iraq the vast majority class of people that count, are the poor and disenfranchised. In the face of internal religious violence, democracy is a luxury to these people. This then is the essential reason why their leadership has been a dictator for so long. Dictators are thugs and murderers because that is the way that they survive. But in an age of rabid religious fundamentalism, Saddam was also seen by many people in Iraq as a means to suppress that religious violence of what middle class exists. A "democratic" vote in Iraq can not create a democratic government because there is no stable middle class to sustain such an ideal. The people will vote for a religious government and vote out our American democracy. When we leave Iraq, as we surely must, Americans will soon no longer be able to see what we envisioned Iraq to be, but what the Iraqi people choose to be for themselves.
With this in mind, it is particularly interesting that our American Iraqi invasion began with an international argument with several of the countries that we liberated in the previous world wars. France, who owes America a debt, found it necessary to warn us about the unilateral implications of our invasion. Germany, whom America once helped defeat for invading France, united with it's former enemy, to reinforce their concerns about our invasion of Iraq. These countries were not just communicating to us that there are dangers in war, but also dangers in the aftermath of peace. The powers of war may set the stage, but it is the release of aggression and embracement of peaceful self determination after war that affects the future.
Americans and their leaders actually believed the Pentagon line that technology is all that counts, that this would be quick and relatively bloodless war and that the Iraqi people would overthrow their oppressors and work with us. But our shock and awe was apparently not so shocking to a country that lost millions of people in ruthless pitted battles not so many years ago. Iraq still has combat hardened veterans who can at any moment pick up guns to fight we American invaders. The point is not that they will, but that they still can. There is no way to eliminate all of the automatic weapons and explosives in Iraq. Our troops are outnumbered and our lines of supply are over extended. The American presence of hundreds of thousands is only a forceful minority. In a close fight as an occupier force, the technology that won this war is not be the same force multiplier that destroyed the command and control of the previous regime.
This ultimate folly of George W. Bush's administration is in the decision to make American troops responsible for the future potential of the Iraqi people. The ultimate fact is that this war can not be declared a success until our troops are gone. We still must find a way to get our troops out of the region or the region will turn against us in a war lasting for decades that we can not win. The issue is not if we get out of Iraq. The issue is what kind of chaos we have left behind when we do.
The American home front can and will change the nature of the strategies for this war. Confidence in our American leadership's ability to manage the needs and wishes of the Iraqi people can and will eventually fade overnight. The existing plan has already substantially weakened the fiscal opportunities and priorities of every American. Anyone familiar with Government finances knows that the administrations estimated cost of 75 billion dollars is a calculated misdirection on the American people. We can be sure that just our invasion of Iraq will cost Americans trillions of dollars before it is all over. Will the United States be allowed to pump Iraqi oil to pay for their "liberation?" We can be sure that the announcement to turn over Iraqi oil profits to a UN trust fund will get a second look. That whole question will be bound up in the words "profit and loss."
The only dominate law that rules a wartime battlefield is Murphy's law and this "war on Terrorism" is a relentless and bottomless test of that fact. That the Pentagon stated that this was to be a "different war" though their glorious technological rhetoric will not have helped as things continue to go wrong with our non technological plans. The fact is that the kind of ground war we saw in Iraq was originally designed in the much the same way we expected to fight the Soviet Union in the 80's. If the original strategies of this war got lost in a quagmire of taking over a ruined isolated desert civilization of millions of desperately religious, poor and ignorant people. There are fundamental reasons why their faith exists so strongly in such a difficult environment and this fact has been ignored by our military commanders. We can expect that it is Islam that the majority will eventually turn to for the future of their social self protection, not the foreign ideals of democracy or even the opportunities of capitalism. Turning on the Iraqi oil, and money simply does not instantly solve the kinds of internal social problems that Iraqi people face.
The tide of American public opinion could have dramatically changed because of the issue of rising numbers of body bags coming home, and it can now just as easily change over our continued drain of involvement. Sharp combat casualties changes fundamental human values and removes the rose color from our darkened desert sunglasses but so does the reporting of individual American deaths with faces. Those who have been against this war will eventually be in vogue at some point and American citizens will at some point begin to see Congressmen stepping up to the microphone and saying "the American people were betrayed." The historical facts will be however that they were not. Legitimate military and political experts from within our own country, as well as most of America's friend around the World have done a good job telling America that this war was full of these risks. Americans and our media, simply choose not to listen.
There are many reasons why public opinion swayed in favor of this invasion. Just because many Americans did not believe in the incredible message for this war at the beginning does not mean that they did not want to believe that it should be won once the war began. No one including those who have been against the idea of this war from the beginning were publicly elated that this war did not go exactly as announced and planned. What most people were saying privately to themselves was simply that they were not surprised. We are saying that even now as our soldiers who killed so many in battles in the streets now attempt to take on the role of police. We truly should not be surprised that our military leaders have not been prepared for the aftermath of war. Soldiers simply do not train for winning peace. Citizens who live there do that.
If all of this seems like doom and gloom there is good reason. This is not the time for blind optimism, it is a time for consideration of options and alternatives to our blind faith nationalistic philosophies. It is time to be critical of our leaders and their intentions. Our leaders need our opinions to guide their consensus. Our expectations of their good intentions are simply not enough. The presumption that good intentions on the part of our leadership was the inappropriate attitude that brought us to this invasion of Iraq and it was ultimately what allowed the destruction of the World Trade towers. War can never truly completely involve good and ethical intentions because it is a philosophy that prefers the tyranny of death over reason.
War is about itself. It is the last recourse. If there is a different way, then we are always wrong in pursuing a path of war. Planning for war is about the calculation of a grand scheme of murder, not the building of lives. The horror is that within our compliancy, we can only look to the future as our sons and daughters become an increasing part of that. They will be returning coming home to their families after having been put into situations where many have individually killed hundreds of human beings. America will soon enough see the repercussions of those experiences. All life on this earth is on a journey together. We Americans have chosen this particular path, and we will follow it to what it makes of us, unless and until we are wise and brave enough to choose to go a different way.
Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved