Waiting for the Surge

The Bush Administration and its allies keep saying we must wait to see the success of the surge strategy announced by President Bush this spring. For years now we have been hearing “just wait” or “give it a chance” or “stick to your guns,” but the shtick is getting old. We are in trouble in Iraq, and the sooner we admit this fact, the better off we will be.

Many Americans are insulated from the war, seeing it only on the tv screen and perhaps reading the occasional story in the paper. But we are actively destroying many citizens of our country, whether through physical maiming or psychological damage. I do not pretend to know what it is like in war, in the battlefield, but it must be hell. Our soldiers do not know who is an enemy and who is a friend, and increasingly they do not know what our mission is. In Iraq, there is no “bad guy” to kill – the enemy creeps in the dark, and attacks through IEDs. The inhumane acts of torture that have already come to light, and that are endorsed by many service members, reveal the moral corrosiveness of the battlefield. I am not arguing that our soldiers are bad, or wrong, or do not deserve our support; I am saying that man was not meant to be put into such situations, and when he is, we should expect terrible consequences.

And where are we now? Waiting. Waiting for Mr. Bush’s war to turn around. Waiting for Mission Accomplished to become more than a hollow phrase. Waiting for our troops to come home. But there is a point where waiting is foolish. There is the saying that ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results.’ And yet isn’t that what Mr. Bush and his supporters are asking of us? When can we say, “we need to do something different?” When can we have a serious debate about the mess we have gotten ourselves into, instead of trading bumper sticker slogans based around ‘you are either with us or against us?’

The wait should be over.

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