Feb 15, 2007

On Winning, Losing, and the Iraq War

US troops in Iraq; photo courtesy of BBC US troops in Iraq; photo courtesy of BBC

One of the last remaining arguments that pro-war supporters still offer goes something like this: "Those who want us to leave Iraq are really saying they want the United States to lose the war."

There are a number of problems with this argument. The most obvious, of course, is the fact that the US military won the actual conventional war, which occurred during March and April of 2003. The Iraqi military was quickly destroyed, and Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled.

American troops are currently stuck in the middle of a low-grade civil war, one that is no longer being fought like a conventional war. The US military is "losing" this war in one sense, but it is unreasonable to expect a military designed to fight large scale conventional wars to "win" against unconventional opponents carrying out terrorist attacks in an urban setting.

Supposing, though, that I agree with the warhawk claim that a peacenik like me is really calling for a "defeat" in Iraq by calling for a withdrawal of troops. What, precisely, is the danger in "losing" in Iraq, and why are people so worked up about "losing" this war?

I have "lost" a few times in my life, and - despite the initial setback - I have always grown and learned from my losses. Using a sports analogy, teams rarely win every game, and use losses as opportunities to improve the team. Sometimes many seasons go by before a given team returns to winning form.

There may indeed be legitimate reasons for keeping troops in Iraq (such as regional stability, or supporting the nascent Iraqi government), but the idea that the United States will somehow be forever damaged by ending its occupation of Iraq is absurd.

In a similar fashion we "lost" in Vietnam, and life went on. Unfortunately, lessons learned after the Vietnam debacle were ignored by the current administration. If bringing home the troops means we somehow "lose" the war, then this might indeed be an opportune time to rethink and retool the American agenda.


MP said...

I'm just tired of hearing about the death.

I'm also tired of wondering every day if one of my high school buddies, a soldier in Baghdad, is still alive.

I'm also tired of people going hungry, jobless, and cold in our own country while the situation in Iraq spirals terribly out of control.

And now, Bush wants Iran, with no resources to fight them.

And part of America blindly follows him, with seemingly no feeling whatsoever for the dead.

And I'm just tired of it all.

microdot said...

mp, we are all tired of it all...but, we can do something about it!
Just by blogging and talking and exchanging ideas and information, the techniques that the administration used to sell us a war we didn't know we needed the last time, aren't working this time.
I have been thinking a lot about the Spanish American War and how it was created by Wiilliam Randoph Hearst to sell nespapers. He hired the artist Frederick Remington to go to Cuba to provide pictures of the atrocities that were supposedly being committed daily by the Spaniards. After a few weeks, he wired Hearst that there was no trouble and there was nothing for him to draw. Hearst shot back, "You draw the pictures, we'll provide the war!"
He was able to whip the American Public into a war frenzy and the neo cons of that era, yes, you might consider Teddy Roosevelt one of them, saw this as an opportunity for America get on the Empire frenzy that had seized the nations of Europe.
The media forced America into a war that was against its very principles.
Sort of like FOX?

Hooda Thunkit said...


You can't seriously compare Vietnam with Iraq, actually with the Islamo-fascists in the Middle East.

They swear that they will not rest until we either convert to Islam or all non-Islamic people are dead.

I believe them.

That said, we haven't exactly been doing a good job prosecuting this war...