Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I asked a question in the comments of a Vodkapundit post and failed to get a satisfactory answer, so I will ask here and spice it up with a little reward.

For a billion dollars, heck let's make it ten: how did invading Iraq and toppling its secular dictator help us in our war against the "Islamofascists"? Think about it for a minute before answering and remember that Saddam Hussein was an enemy of Iran and no friend of Osama bin Laden. Now look at the guy in charge in Iraq playing kissyface with that nut from Iran. It seems to me that we might have been better off leaving Saddam alone.MalikiAhmadenijad.jpg


Anonymous said...

As much as I'm in sympathy with your view here, I don't think I can entirely agree that there is no help in the wider war in the Iraq conflict.

The United States has a tendency to get into stupid little pointless wars, and the war against Terror or Islamofascism or Eurasia or whichever will be no exception -- a series of pointless little conflicts in which vast US military force is thrown at matters of little or no discernable US interest. Any actually useful wars will be so hidden amongst these silly little conflicts as to be visible only in retrospect and probably not even then.

If you are in a silly war -- one in which you have less stake in the outcome than the locals -- you can reasonably expect it to turn into a long drawn-out guerilla nightmare. The locals will quite reasonably conclude that the amount of blood necessary to shift your national-interest calculation back toward peace is relatively small, and will set about extracting that much blood. The more silly the war, the more troops you will lose as more of the locals conclude that they can kick you out cheaply.

(Just as for a neocon every moment is 1938, for me every war is 1898.)

The only possible solution to this (apart from refraining from silly wars, which I don't think anyone really believes is realistic) is to treat even the most absurd, pointless, counter-to-the-national-interest podunk conflict as if it were World War Infinity-plus-one -- to appear, in short, utterly and undeterrably insane. We must have Resolve. We must Refuse to Settle for Second Best. We must Never Cut and Run. We must, in short, render ourselves stonily unmoved by the constraints of interest, logic, or calculation, lest our powers of reason become tools for our enemies.

The War on Whatever (for all values of Whatever) is really only winnable if the US fights to the bloody end even -- especially! -- those conflicts in which the national interest and good sense dictate withdrawal, in which foreign relations are damaged and the global situation worsens, in which blood is spilt in gallons. This is, of course, monstrous, but that is what war is and there's no point in wishing otherwise. It is only monstrous insanity that can keep a pattern of foolish wars seeming sane.

Maximos said...

If a given conflict is contrary to the national interest, wherein lies the imperative of Victory at Any Cost, of Refusing to Settle? A nation should press to the most snaguinary conclusions conflicts bearing no relation to its actual, objective interests? Is this not merely to advocate slaughter for the sake of slaughter? And is this not what some neoconservatives are edging ever-closer to advocating?