It has become cliché to say that this Iraq war cannot be won militarily. Equally comfortable with this admission are hawks who would turn on a dime if they thought the insurgency was capable of collapsing, and doves whose primary objection to the war is its “mismanagement”.
Trouble is it never really was a war because there was no opposing side. What was there was known to be easy picking – minimally armed and quickly demoralized. Mischaracterizing it as a war appears to give credibility to certain concepts such as self-defense (none was needed), appears to justify curtailment of civil liberties (what are they worth if they can be taken away anyhow?), and appears to give meaning to concepts such as winning and losing (you don’t win something you couldn’t lose).
Extending the train of thought from the mentioned cliché, that the war cannot be won militarily, the war is now said to require a “political solution”. Improperly framing Iraq as a war benefits those responsible for it and obscures the clearest path to a saner future. If instead Iraq was framed as the armed assault that it was (billed as “Shock and Awe”), there is a logical, expedient political solution at our disposal – impeachment.
A political solution will have to envelope a perspective greater than that bounded by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Americans may not be fully convinced of the illegality and immorality of our invasion but the rest of the world, especially the affected, is overwhelmingly so. It is unrealistic to think that the very government that displays such unbridled hostility to Iraq, Iran, and Syria can somehow be accepted as a legitimate interlocutor. In foreign eyes, we cannot be trusted to come up with any solution that will ameliorate the deep-seated animosity toward us that was generated by our use of force, and our continuing menace of more force.
A just solution won’t come without a cleansing and we are fortunate to have one handy. Impeachment will tell a story about how and why we started an aggression. It will contain sub-plots about indefinite detention and torture and the means of repression here at home, including the suppression of dissent.
This story will make us better off for the telling. It is the surest way to win the “hearts and minds” of those our present government treats as if they had no hearts and minds at all. If we are willing to impeach our president and vice president, we are willing to admit that our country has done wrong. Admit this and forget the rest.
James Rothenberg – firstname.lastname@example.org
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