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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why Staying In Iraq Is Wrong

Is Iraq worth what we are paying? No.

Does leaving cheapen the sacrifices of those who have served and those who gave the final full measure? Maybe...

But it's a vulgar gambler's fallacy of irrational escalation used by Chickenhawk Warmongers to tap into the raw emotions of those who have lost loved ones or those who have served and want to, need to believe their government didn't send them into a war for profit.

I think that is in fact what is my greatest issue with the way a lot of people argue in favor of the war. "We have to stay there, because people have died there, and we have to honor their service." Well, if we stay because people have died there, then we're going to be staying forever, because more people will continue to die to ensure that those who have died will in some way not be mistreated.

We've all seen the smaller version of this. The guy who keeps buying lottery ticket after lottery ticket, because he's already thrown so much money away that it would be wasteful if he didn't keep it up until he won. Or the guy who goes to Vegas or Atlantic City and winds up losing everything, because he didn't want to quit the table while he was behind. He had to have a win to save face, and now when he comes home, he'll be sleeping on the couch for months.

That's essentially where we're at. In a manner reminiscent of "I won't be the first president to lose a war", nobody wants to be the guy who rains on the parade, admits that primary sources show we were lied and misled into war, and says it's time to cut our losses and move out. That our 'goals' are unrealistic, and there is in fact no winning condition for Iraq.

I challenge everyone reading this-and yes, I even include the radical right-wingers who drop by. Can you provide me a criteria for winning that includes specifics in two sentences or less? A criteria, after which it is met, US troops will be able to leave because the job is done? "Don't quit until the job is done" only applies if there is a valid and reachable job to do. It does not apply if your only motivating factor is "not to look weak".

Because it's not just money being thrown away by some guy in a casino that's happening now. Oh, money is certainly being thrown away-thrown away on contractors, thrown away on mistaken goals, thrown away on projects that fail, pointless new uniforms even the Army acknowledges have issues, buying more bad weapons that produce cringe-worthy dust tests.

Now it's soldier's lives being tossed away on this never-ending bad wager, in the hope that somehow, someday, a big win will come out of it. It is a sobering reflection of how much death has been occurring that the Army has authorized Gold Star lapel pins on the uniform. We don't even know the real cost of the Iraq War in people, because the figures that would be most important aren't being released. What about the figures of the wounded? What about the figures of the people who come back psychologically damaged and no longer able to function effectively as a normal person, upping our already awful divorce statistics? What about the suicide rate?

Soldiers aren't chips on a gambling table, and they shouldn't be treated that way by uncaring politicians who have no personal investment in ending the war.