Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Losing the War

Good News!  Iran is still a threat!  Despite the recent National Intelligence Report on Iran which stated Iran had no nuclear program and would be years away from anything even if they started today, President Bush still asserts they are trying to cause World War III.  What the report really confirmed was what many already knew.  President Bush is seeking a confrontation with that country regardless of the evidence.  

That's how he works.  He decides what he wants and then bends the evidence in that direction.  When he first became president, he went straight for a tax cut that would positively affect only the richest.  The economy was strong, he said, therefore the tax cut is merited.  When the economy started heading south, he argued that we needed the same tax cut to spark the economy.  

Same thing happened with Iraq.  Bush had decided long ago that he wanted war with Iraq.  Regardless of the evidence, regardless of the information gathered by allies, he plowed ahead with relentless arguments that we needed to invade.  WMD was the word of the day -- yet there were none, just as the UN had stated in its intelligence reports.  We don't hear about WMD anymore because we have the war he wanted.

And we will stay there until well after President Bush is gone because he wanted it that way.  He tells us we cannot bow to those who want us to "surrender" and who "bow to defeat."  We're going to win, he says.

We have already lost.

We lost this war the minute we invaded a country that had no plans to do us harm.  We lost the moment we threw out our moral compass and decided torture was okay.  We lost when we decided that killing thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians was worth whatever amorphous goal we were seeking in Iraq.  We lost when we decided that sinking a country into more than five years of chaos and misery was all right because we weren't going to be affected. We were going to be patriotic and go shopping.

There is nothing we can do to win this war because the war itself is a tremendous defeat for us.  It's something we did to ourselves -- Saddam Hussein could not have hurt us more, even if he'd had WMD.  

As Christians, we have to approach the world with the understanding that ALL people are our brothers and sisters.  God made them all, and when we look out only for our interests -- or worse yet, only for our economic interests -- we lose.  My belief that this war is a mixture of personal vendetta and economic interest for a lot of corporations owned by family friends only intensifies the depth of this loss.  Fought for the wrong reasons, it has permanently harmed millions of Iraqis who thought we were friends, and it has permanently harmed us.

Even if we can salvage the country of Iraq (as is now our moral obligation, at least to the degree that the Iraqi people ask it of us), even if we can salvage our own reputation and standing in the world (after a new president arrives, because no one will listen to Bush), it is impossible to call what we did a victory.  It's only surviving a disaster of our own making.

Now, President Bush wants to incite another conflict even after his own intelligence says it is not warranted.  Maybe he's like a gambler who keeps losing at the slots but keeps plunking his coins in because he just knows he's going to win big the next time.  He'll keep going at it until he's lost everything he's got.  Only, when you're President of the United States, there's a hell of a lot to lose.