Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tried It. Didn't Work.



So it’s to be another twenty-one thousand troops then. That’s what the First Bush said last night.

Gosh, he said, mistakes have been made and the responsibility rests with me. But we need to prop up this paper doll we’ve made, this Humpty and Dumpty of Sunni and Shia parts, maybe parts ordered from Sears, too, or Amazon.com.

Is it truly noble to stay the course when the course clearly leads to hell?

That this is the First Bush’s response to the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations – all of which pointed in a far different direction – is not surprising. Alcoholics have broken so many promises that, once reformed, they can rarely deviate from a chosen course.

No, my own curiosity now has to do with the American people. With over three-thousand soldiers dead the cities and towns are legion that have welcomed home the corpse of some poor son or daughter.

It may be that our ability to welcome home the dead is exhausted.

It may be that our willingness to trade three-thousand lives to avenge the loss of twenty-eight hundred in the World Trade Center attack has awakened in us the sense of a bad deal looming.

We worry about saddling our armed forces with the stigma of “defeat.” Yet, there is a contradiction in that thinking. Were we to leave the field now – defeated, bested, the Super Bowl contenders blown away – a victor must emerge. Who, however, would that be? Since we have yet to identify a true adversary, how could a true victor come forth? Without a victor, finally, there cannot be a vanquished (though there will always be Super Bowl contenders blown away).

Anyway, it is simply time to fall back on our supreme American virtue, our ineluctable pragmatism, and announce to the world: Tried it. Didn’t work.
(from, Cherub: An Iraqi War Diary, by G. K. Wuori, C.2007)

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