Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Not winning. Not losing.

Make no mistake about it. Not winning and not losing – the current administration meme/spin on Iraq – means losing. And repeating and perpetuating the “not winning, not losing” theme only delays the inevitable coming-to-terms with what the fools who launched this unnecessary war have done to the people of this country, the people of Iraq, and the United States military.

For the people of this country, there is the under-reported fact that this war hasn’t simply cost almost 3000 lives, It has cost – and continues to cost – real money. Every man, woman and child is paying for Iraq – and will continue to pay for decades to come.

The people of Iraq pay even more. Upwards of 600,000 have been killed, according to a recent survey published in the British Medical Journal Lancet.

And for the American military, not winning and not losing means they can not advance or retreat. They are bogged down, plain and simple – the same way the Soviet Union was bogged down in Afghanistan, and the same way the United States was bogged down in Vietnam.

For the troops, not winning and not losing must mean days and weeks of mind-numbing monotony, punctuated by moments of action, adrenal surge, shock and frustration – all of it colored by a sense of alienation from everyone and everything that is not military back here in the States.

Not winning and not losing must fog the mission up plenty good. It has to reduce daily life to a spirit sapping, Groundhog Day tedium. The objective becomes getting home in one piece.

And not winning, not losing offers the even more ominous prospect of extended tours of duty in Iraq, followed by second and third tours – even for National Guard and Army Reserve units.

For example, the Pentagon and the Administration are now talking about a “surge” in troop levels – committing more men and women to the war. Those new troops will have to be old troops – a combination of units that have been to Iraq before and extended tours of duty for troops already in country.

Not winning and not losing is Catch 22 revisited. Selfless people who have done more than their share are being asked to sustain their spirits and fight as passionately as ever while the ground shifts beneath them. Absurdity reigns. We’re not winning. We’re not losing. But our men and women are dying.

Nothing says not winning and not losing quite like a video floating around the Internet these days.

In the video, a handful of GI’s lead a group of street corner Iraqi kids in a chant:

“Fuck Iraq! Fuck Iraq! Fuck Iraq!”

Not winning and not losing? Or not facing the facts?

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