It's over. It's all over. Checkmate, game over, sayonara sanity.
From Bush's recent address on the Iraq War:
"Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens." So now even Bush is comparing Iraq to Vietnam. He's right, of course, and when Bush starts speaking the truth I get scared. When things are so flipping obvious that the White House bubble is burst, then things are very bad indeed. When the president states that the current situation is turning into Vietnam then things are over.
Most worrisome, though, is the fact that he says 'whatever your position in the debate'. What is this debate? That Vietnam was a bad idea? That we actually could've won if we'd stuck around? There's no debate at all, only, perhaps, in the mind of a lunatic war-time president. Vietnam was a bad idea. Robert Macnamara, the Secretary of Defense who started it, and LBJ who inflamed it, have both said it was a bad idea. And we'd never have won. They would have kept fighting until they were all dead. That is not victory, that's a prolonged massacre, and we didn't have the abilities to do so, not without unleashing some weapons that shouldn't exist. Speaking of which, from the same speech:
"The ideals and interests that led America to help the Japanese turn defeat into democracy are the same that lead us to remain engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Should I be emigrating? We've successfully transplanted democracy twice: Germany and Japan. Both times we did it quickly and only created a basic Constitution and temporary government before handing the power over, keeping some reserves in place to ensure that things went smoothly. Why did they? Because both countries had suffered total defeat. And in the case of Japan it came at far too high a cost. People say the war would've dragged on for years and years if we'd not dropped the bomb. Sure. I'll grant that, even though there is disagreement. I also do think the Japanese would've fought to the death, to the last man. Probably true. So without the bomb America may have been bogged down in war so costly to our soldiers, we could never win. So what?
Victory is not the purpose of war. Victory at any cost is a price too high to pay. It was too high in Japan, and it was too high in Vietnam. In Vietnam we made the right decision, in Japan we did not. Millions of innocent civilians are going to die in the Middle East from this conflict. There is no doubt about that. Note to that millions will not die from Iraq alone, for this is not, as assumed, going to be a civil war when we withdraw. Sunni Muslims make up most of the Middle East. Shi'ites are found in only two places: Southern Iraq, and most of Iran. When the Sunnis attack the Shi'ites then the Iranians must come in to defend them: they're the only people who will. And when Iran gets involved and throws it's muscle behind them then the Sunnis will call on alliances of religion in other countries, and what you've got there is called a regional war. Our withdrawal, or perhaps our entry, will be noted as the analogous assassination of the archduke Ferdinand, the catalyst that started a wave of alliances and a regional war of untold devastation.
And Vietnam was the same, the region became inflamed in wars and revolution, let's not forget the Khmer Rouge also started up when we left, refugees were everywhere, it was a god-awful mess. If we had pulled out of Japan without the bomb it would have been a mess, Manchuria, Korea, and other areas would have been in serious conflict for a long time. But unless the remnants of sanity are totally annihilated, we will not achieve total victory in Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or ever again. Victory is no longer the purpose of war. It was, for a long time, but it is no longer. There will be no victory in Iraq, the best we can hope for now is Vietnam. The fact that Bush is denying that that route is hopeful is worrisome, but not quite as scary as if he were forced to be telling the truth.