Gettysburg and Iraq (October 30, 2006)

Imagine if the French had marched onto the battlefield at Gettysburg to impose order.  “Mon dieu, mon ami, how dare you fight.”  The Blue and the Gray would have united and turned on the invaders in a New York minute.  The leaders of both sides went to the same school (West Point) and were versed in the tactics and strategy of Jomini (and perhaps Clausewitz).  The boys would have coordinated a campaign to drive the French all the way back to a strip mall south of Marseille.  Then the brothers would have gotten back to the business of engaging in an unnecessary but somehow inevitable civil war.  [See the e-ssay dated April 17, 2006 entitled “The Virtues of an Iraqi Civil War.”].

The United States cannot stop the sectarian violence/civil war in Iraq even with a million troops.  The United States is training troops and police who will disperse and join their respective sects in the great Iraqi civil war.  All of them are attending “East Point” in Baghdad and later will be fighting against each other.  They will be reading from the same page, our page.   

Bush told us that we needed to take the war to them; they took it to us and are taking it to us.  Sports metaphors are a Republican favorite.  Fighting in a distant country sounds plausible, but why fight an away game?  The game in Iraq has slowly sapped America’s resources and will to fight.  The military card has been played and played out.  Now a million man march is underway bringing a million broken men and women back to the home front.  The retreat will have tremendous negative consequences for the military and thus the country for another generation.

The argument against immediate withdrawal is that the Terrorists are a united group of individuals conducting weekly board meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order.  If “we” tell “them” when “we” are going to leave, “they” will pass a resolution to wait until “we” leave to start causing trouble.  The Terrorists are not at all concerned about American timetables.  They continue to attack the Crusader without delay or discouragement.  Someone in the region observed that the West has all the clocks and they (Terrorists/Insurgents/Separatists/Jihadists/Provincial War Lords/Freedom Fighters) have all the time.  That reality is unacceptable to Americans, so they don’t accept it.

Bush cannot figure out if “they” hate freedom or if “they” love freedom.  They seek order.  They endured a form of totalitarian order for decades.  The consequences of the American Crusade were predicted and remain predictable.  America created disorder and can do nothing to create order.  A continued American presence will only perpetuate and inflame the disorder. 

Some say that Europe never recovered completely after World War I.  America will never recover completely after Bush’s World War III, regardless of its outcome.  The only road to partial recovery is to redeploy American troops from Iraq. 

Bumper sticker of the week:

If you’re not appalled, you’re not paying attention  

[See the Essay entitled “The Way Out Of War” by George S. McGovern and William R. Polk in the October, 2006 issue of Harper’s Magazine.] 

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