What Is A War?
Posted by bmac on October 13, 2007
Maybe I’m an idiot, but why do we continue to call the Iraq conflict a war? It’s my understanding that basically, this was an enforcement of U.N resolutions, imposed after the cease-fire of the Gulf War, that Saddam thumbed his nose at for 12 years. We are not “at war” with Iraq. We did not declare war on Iraq. Yet even George Bush refers to “The Iraq War,” or “The War In Iraq.” Does every military action automatically qualify as a war? Is this an attempt to incorporate Iraq into the vague “War on Terror?”
Calling this a war when it is not, inherently sets us up to fail. War is all about absolutes. There is no middle ground in war, you win or you lose. That’s about it.
When the President and his cabinet constantly define this as the”War”, the (justified) knee-jerk reaction is “Why can’t we win? Kill people and break stuff, what’s the problem?”
Most people perceive war in absolutes, so constantly referring to this as a war creates expectations that in this situation, can never be met. As far as I can tell, there is no absolute black and white win in this conflict. If I’m wrong, please enlighten me. I want us to win, and I think most Americans want us to win, but like me, most people don’t know what winning actually entails, and Bush has certainly not told me.
I think a lot of heartache could have been avoided if Bush and his cabinet simply did not call this a war. The public can’t get behind nuance, if this is indeed a war, what’s gotta happen to win? More ammo, more troops, what? That’s what Americans want answers to.
Bush gets unfairly mocked for the “Mission Accomplished” banner, when in fact, militarily, the mission was accomplished. End of “war.” We’ve spent the last three or four years providing security and helping rebuild that country, as well as encouraging democracy. That doesn’t fit my or most Americans definition of war. But alas, it’s too late, as this is, and will continue to be, “The War In Iraq,” and defined as such, can lead only to disapointment.
I believe we were 100% justified in removing Saddam Hussein. While there were many valid reasons to go in, I belive Bush hedged his bets that military action alone would scare the shit out of the entire region, kind of a “We awoke the sleeping giant” type of thing. I think that Iran, Syria, and Pakistan were affraid of what we might do, that we were going to firebomb the entire region into oblivian, which we may have, had we gone to war. But we didn’t go to war, we deposed a dictator, and got to the business of rebuilding a country. I believe they saw this as weakness, as they were expecting a fiery revenge for 9/11, and at that point, Al Queda began streaming in, and Iran saw it’s chance to dominate the region. The polar opposite of what Bush intended.