I believe that, if you’re going to go to war, you go to win. You have an attainable goal like “We’re going to conquer this land” or “We’re going to drive those folks out of this country” or “We’re going to commandeer all the natural resources in this place.” and you pour money and manpower into making it happen.
You don’t go to war to fight an idea–like terrorism or Islamic fundamentalism–because wars aren’t effective ways to fight ideas and it’s impossible to understand when we’ve won. Will we have won the war on terror after four years without a terrorist attack? Ten? Will we have vanquished Islamic functionalism if women can take off their burqas? Or when men can talk to women in public? How do we recognize our enemy when today a person might be on our side, but one Britney Spears video or one stray bullet, and suddenly that person is determined to help wipe us off the planet?
And so here we are in Iraq. We’re fighting a war there, but for what? We’ve gotten rid of Saddam. What’s our goal? To bring peace? Or to establish a democratic government? Or what?
Because, really, I think leaving now would be a mistake, even though I think this is the stupidest war we’ve ever fought. But when you start thinking about two soldiers mutilated and boobytrapped with bombs, you just start to think that vague “We’re fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here” bullshit just isn’t cutting it any more.
I don’t even know any more who “them” is. Who is our enemy? How do we recognize them in order to fight them? How will we know when we’ve beaten them? Do our troops have enough protection? Do they have the equipment and supplies they need? What will constitute victory?
Seriously, America, help me understand what our objectives are and the criteria we’re using to decide if those objectives are being met. Because right now?
I don’t think we have any. No objectives and no criteria.
And what’s worse is that we seem to be fighting an opponent who is willing to do batshit crazy things. I mean, seriously. Rigging corpses to explode? I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for the soldiers who found that.
Yes, I know it’s war and that people are going to die. But this war just seems like it’s full of the most pointless deaths ever, kids who might have been better used here at home or rebuilding Afghanistan or whatever. Why are we even fighting in Iraq, again?
I mean, I hate to make absurd suggestions, but the fundamentalist Muslims hate the same things about us that our own fundamentalist Christians do–our decadent culture and the freedoms our women have. Why aren’t we fighting this war primarily as a war of propaganda?
Why aren’t we flooding Iraq with pornography and women’s t-shirts and Hollywood blockbusters and Mapplethorpe photos and A Room of One’s Own and condoms and liquor? Turn them into the very thing they hate and fear? Us.