Home > Losing in Iraq
The Bush Administration wanted a short conventional war with a glorious victory; they have a drawn-out guerrilla war and an approaching humiliating defeat.
Travis Anderson of Hooper, Colorado had a bad week. He was killed in Iraq.
We’re not doing well in the Islamic world, and I don’t mean only recently. In 1979 the Carter Administration managed to make a huge fire ball in the Iranian desert in a failed attempt to rescue American hostages, incinerating a number of Americans. In 1983 President Reagan charged U.S. Marines into Beirut and 264 Marines were quickly shipped home in body bags; the other Marines soon followed with their heads down. Reagan then attacked Libya, missing Mohammar Qaddafi but not his family. Bush Sr. sent our soldiers into Somalia — enough, you get the point. We have a long history of failure in that part of the world.
But Iraq has become our humdinger of failure, with approximately 2,000 Americans dead, U.S. soldiers and private contractors alike — throwing into utter horror 4,000 parents, 5,000 brothers and sisters, 8,000 aunts and uncles, on and on. The number of Iraqi dead is too ghastly to even guess. But we do know that in the last two weeks 400 have been slaughtered. In the last two weeks, thrown into utter horror has been 800 Iraqi parents, 1,000 Iraqi brother and sisters ....
And what do our media call all this carnage? “Growing unrest.” That is a gang with a serious problem in understanding reality. But they’re not the only ones.
All indications of civilization including any thread of serious thinking appear to stop at the Maryland/DC line. In the District the most ludicrous, screwy ideas are hatched daily, then PR-wrapped by some slick dudes who push the crap upon a populace that is half frozen in mental stupor or blinded by irrational craze. Upon a public that long ago forgot the Iranian fire ball, the Marine Beirut massacre, the Libyan shame, and the Somalia fiasco. A public that cannot even remember why we supposedly went into Iraq: something about a mushroom cloud over Middle America.
And now we have our humdinger in Iraq, where Middle America’s kids are dying in Iraq for reasons no one understands. I’m wondering, does anyone remember something called Vietnam?
The Mistake of Iraq
Memory is valuable, which is why the Bush Administration works overtime to destroy it. An erased memory is fuel for public stupidity. An erased memory allows arrogant leaders to do what they want, which more often than not costs the rest of us money and blood. Memory is our insurance policy, it is our security. But we know what the Bush Administration thinks about Social Security.
So everyone in Washington and out in America forgot that the Big Dog should restrict its stomping to the little Grenades of our world. It was during that glorious invasion that a few construction workers equipped with the latest gravel shovels were whipped into submission by our 500-pound gravel-piercing bombs. Now that was a U.S. military success.
But Grenada — I think it was during the Reagan Administration — was too small of a victory for our huge national ego, especially after the world screamed and laughed at Big Dog for chewing up a dot of a palm-tree island. But more important to Washington, napalming a few trees and workers couldn’t justify a $400 billion “defense” budget.
As the most powerful nation on the planet, we need something larger to make mincemeat out of than pathetic dot in this world — but not too large, which could disrupt the cash flow to our corporations. We have to keep our heads about war.
The perfect opponent has, in fact, already been established in the warped mind of Washington. That is an undisciplined and barely trained third-rate army, but one that is quite large so our dumbed-down media can hail our stomping as a great victory. A third-rate army shot through with cowardliness, so it hightails it home with the first flash of the Pentagon’s “shock and awe” press release. In short, a war that is a non-war, a victory in the media without a fight on the battlefield. That’s what George Bush thought he had in Iraq.
But the world is seldom as Washington’s wise men insist at their political drawing boards. High on arrogance and low on experience, they are clueless that the most advanced military technology goes belly-up when bitterness has been brewed in the locals for decades, if not centuries. They are clueless that the best trained troops are useless when anger pushes an endless number of the enemy beyond reason. There is another reality out there that Washington cannot grasp, until Americans come home in body bags. And then Washington tries to hid that.
Sure the third-rate Iraqi Army crumbled, running faster than a jackrabbit, but gangs of tough rag-tag Iraqis and welcomed foreigners refused to succumb and are growing stronger in blasting away both Iraqis and Americans. Not unusual when the occupier of the country is the symbol of a region’s collective humiliation, the target of their outrage. Whether justified or not, we’re the devil for many people on this planet, certainly in the Middle East. And everyone wants revenge on the devil.
Ready to Fight the Wrong War, Again
It is now obvious what led America into this latest quagmire, besides the old standby Superpower traits of super stupidity and boundless hubris. Our leaders misjudged Iraq. They confused Iraq’s palm trees and rather dark people with palm trees on that Caribbean island that also has rather dark people. But our public confused nothing as it remained brain-dead with erased memory of all people and all wars.
Given the order, the U.S. military marched into the Middle East quicksand super-confident — our generals are always super-confident — that our mammoth, totally intimidating $400 billion military budget would bag this job in no time. That’s the way they think in Washington, the biggest budget always wins.
Although our Pentagon seems to remember the happy days of Grenada, does it remember the horrible mistake of Vietnam? Doubtful. It’s nearly impossible to remember Vietnam and be super-confident.
So the third-rate Iraqi Army ran and the war began and our military was quickly in over its head. Our Super military is ill equipped — un-equipped, actually — to stop daily suicide-bombers striking red “gold” on downtown streets, drive-by killers, and small group attackers who quickly melt into urban alleys and remote deserts, as Vietnamese melted into the jungle. Slowly reality has begun to seep back, not that anyone wants to actually talk about it. A reality that the U.S. will lose in Iraq as it lost in Vietnam. But of course this has no effect on U.S. policy.
The simple truth is our military’s strengths are neutralized when facing a ruthless, smart unconventional opponent, inflamed with grievances and burning for revenge, fighting on their soil against a foreigner on their soil. Our $400 billion military becomes worse than irrelevant, it becomes a handicap. The enemy fights a war that our military is not capable of fighting; asymmetrical warfare throws unsophisticated clogs into the sophisticated spokes of our Superpower military. Washington doesn’t graph these things well since they have nothing to do with getting reelected or making money.
If Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice and the other fearless Republican hawks had tours in Vietnam instead of tours for draft deferments, they would have not been giddy for this war with Iraq. They would have run just like they personally ran from wars in Korea and Vietnam. If they had not slipped out the back door of their generations’ wars, they would have known that Iraq was a trap.
So the palm trees confused the arrogant minds of Washington who see no use in history and have ultimate faith in physical intimidation. But there would be no rolling over of Iraqis and the foreigners fighting in Iraq; they are not construction workers on an island called Grenada. These palm trees came from Vietnam.
Yes, Travis Anderson had a bad week. He was killed in Iraq. And now his parents have a destroyed life. Is anyone listening? Can anyone remember? Can anyone say the words, "Travis Anderson?" Can anyone remember, "Vietnam?"