John (worldxeater) wrote in extremism,

The War in Iraq is already over.

Today I was on a nationally syndicated radio talk show, the Dennis Prager show. He was talking about what it means to be winning a war, the two examples he was using were the War In Iraq and the War on Drugs, both of which he supports. When I came on I said that the problem is that when you're talking about a war on an abstraction (Terrorism, Poverty, Drugs, etc...) it's harder to define whether you're winning or not than when you're at war with another nation. At that point he apologized for having to cut me off, said he agreed with what I had just said, along with something else I wouldn't agree with, and went to commercial.

Here's what I would have said if I could have gone on. When a nation goes to war we are all expected to make sacrifices for the war effort (the draft, Japanese internment camps, decreased rights to privacy, "emergency powers", martial law, etc...). This is one of the reasons most people don't think of war as a good thing. It's something to be avoided until it's absolutely necessary. We just don't all agree on when that is. "Wars" on abstractions take the demands of a real war and make them for the sake of a fake one. Those who oppose the War on Drugs will claim we're losing it and produce convenient statistics and studies to back up their claim. The same goes for supporters. This goes on until "victory" is declared (and of course disputed) or, more likely, it just goes on until it isn't really being fought anymore. In, for example, WWII, we could tell if we had gained or lost territory. When the Allies had taken all of Germany the war was over. This brings me to how I see the War in Iraq.

We declared war on the government of Saddam Hussein, toppled it, and set up a new one. At that point the War in Iraq was over. We had defeated our enemy and replaced him. The issue at that point was how long we were going to stay to rebuild the country, train their military, and kill insurgents. We could pull out at any time and still claim victory. It's the same thing we dealt with in Korea, Japan, and Germany. We still have troops in all of those places.

I wouldn't say we are in a war with the insurgents. Is there a real war in Israel/Palestine? Not really. There are bombings and people are dying, but the situation isn't really changing that much. Hamas isn't going to topple Israel and Al Qaeda in Iraq won't topple the Iraqi government.

Peace protesters keep talking about the War in Iraq because our soldiers are in a foreign land fighting and they remember Vietnam. This doesn't feel like peace and they want the troops to come home. "War" on Terrorism hawks like it because it gives them the chance to talk about how we're winning and we need to keep fighting. In reality, it's over already, and we just need to decide when we want to get out.

cross posted
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