Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Unwinnable Solution

If you've read anything on this blog, my columns on Grays Harbor Online or my quotes in The Daily World, it should be quite evident that I believe this bloody war in Iraq is immoral and ethical. However, for this brief moment, let's set my personal sentiments aside.

Let's say we accept the notion that this war is neither immoral nor unethical. Heck, let's even say that the best way to achieve "victory" is to send enough soldiers to get our troop numbers up to 250,000 and we arm them with as much munitions and supplies as they could ever desire, including nuclear weapons!

Will all this guarantee a resounding US victory bathed in the flag, mom and apple pie?
In a word, no. We will still lose.

The only surefire way to root out a faceless enemy is to shoot everything and everyone in sight. You never know when that one innocent face in the crowd might later turn out to be the next suicide bomber. So, we would need to lay waste to the entirety of Iraq and, while we're at it, we might as well decimate Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Palestine too.

The chief problem with this kind of strategy is that, no matter how many people you kill, more enemies will keep cropping up. So, you'll have to kill them too, only to find there are now more and more of them.

You see, whenever a nation or people start indiscriminately slaughtering both the guilty and the innocent, it causes others to react with revulsion. The allies of the group being slaughtered both will seek revenge AND, since they may well figure they're next in line, they'll take the offensive.

In time though, the problem will hit much closer to home -- it won't be the allies of the vanquished that we'll be most worried about, it will be our OWN allies. They will begin to worry that we are becoming too powerful and ruthless. They will worry that we are getting too big for our britches and may well become a threat to their economic survival.

You see, this is the chief problem with war. It begets itself over and over again. Today's victory leads to tomorrow's defeat and, sooner or later, ALL empires fall under their own blood lust and weight.

So, from a rational standpoint, this drive by some to utterly defeat Iraq and/or global terrorism is really the first step in annihilating America. Yes, we might claim victory now, but down the road we will receive our comeuppance for it.

Don't take my word for it. Grab any world history book and read it for yourself.


  1. It strikes me that whenever a nation becomes great it only serves to sow the seeds of its downfall. It inevitably finds itself drawn into doing things simply because it can, then it increasingly finds that it is stuck on a treadmill that they cannot escape. But being weak is also a death sentence too---.

    I suppose the only solace that an outsider can offer is that the only reason why America is stuck in the Iraq meat-grinder instead of some other country is simply because it is the biggest power. If Canada were as powerful, we would be there (or somewhere else just as bad.)

    Shakespeare said it well when he had King Lear observe that the Gods treat human beings the same way young children treat flies---they kill us for sport. Just like Laozi's observation about straw dogs.

    I think the best thing to do is accept that this is the way the world operates. Some of us are doomed to kill. Some of us are doomed to be killed. And some of us are doomed to try to stop the killing.

  2. i don't think anyone's 'doomed' to kill, be killed, or try to stop the killing.

    rather, we choose, or react, or respond, based on causes and/or conditions that to some considerable extent we've helped create by past choices, reactions, responses.

    so it's imperative that we strive to wake up--wake up and find a heart common to all others, human and nonhuman.

    when we begin to wake up we see that truly all beings are our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, children, grandchildren . . . in fact our very selves; 'that art thou.'

    when we begin to wake up--become calmer, clearer--we make choices based not on a false sense of self-and-other, not on a more-or-less mindless desire to grab for this particular self, but choose instead what will benefit the whole of existence, or at least do the least harm.

    and when we begin to do this, we see more clearly that war is not the answer.

    and so we naturally work for peace.


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