Thursday, December 15th, 2011

The "War" Is "Over"

And now we get to prematurely place behind us another quite troubling incident in our recent history. Secret prisons? Eh, let's forget about those. Torture? Let's just move on. A incredible transformation of huge chunks of the military into a privately contracted mercenary army? La la la la la! Years and years of National Guard reservists being unexpectedly called up for active duty in Iraq? Oh well! Thousands of soldiers having had their service contracts forcibly extended, creating a stop-lossed conscription army, under a policy that somehow no judge would find illegal? Sorry guys and gals! (And sorry families of dead guys and gals.) Operation New Dawn: the war we had after the war? Deadly. A decade of a wildly, wildly, crushingly expensive invasion, that involved more than a million Americans in combat, and the occupation of a country under false pretenses? Let's just agree to not talk about it anymore. The CNN crawl says "Ceremony Ends Nine Years of Conflict," which isn't actually what happened either: we actually didn't have a "conflict." America's great at putting things behind us, so guess we'll just file this under "things that are already over," though we still have billions of dollars to spend in ongoing operations. But at least we should let the Iraq War have an asterisk for "things that should never have happened."

Photo: "The 297th Medical Company returns home as the last California National Guard unit to leave Iraq."

23 Comments / Post A Comment

Trilby (#3,897)

Yay! We won! We won, right?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Trilby Well, let's see. I know how the soldiers who died count, but I'm not sure about the rest. Some were left permanently disabled, some mentally and emotionally damaged, some have paid cost in the rest of their lives being ruined in other ways due to simply being away from them for so long. Then, there is the effect all of the above had on people close to those soldiers (and on those close to them, etc.). Then, there is the financial cost. Then, there is the bad publicity it got us among our friends, not to mention among those who can be used as recruits by our enemies.

As for Iraq… well, we did our part: we demolished a dictatorship and helped establish a civil society, but we also caused massive deaths, injuries, and traumas, plus we murdered, raped, and pillaged. So, what counts more? I think that the fact that we decided to take our marbles and leave once that the civil society threatened to interfere with our freedom of killing should be telling.

roboloki (#1,724)

what you're saying is "mission accomplished. u-s-a! u-s-a!"?

Astigmatism (#1,950)

@Niko Bellic Well, to be fair to the current administration, this isn't exactly a "F#ck you guys, we're out of here" as a "Well, okay, if you're demanding that we leave, then we'll leave." Because I don't think that the Iraqis are exactly cool with us staying.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Astigmatism To be fair to those of us who cheered when they won the elections, the current administration promised to end our military involvement in Iraq on its own volition. Instead they pushed to extend it and only backed out when faced with the prospect of having to answer for it to anyone.

Vulpes (#946)

@Niko Bellic Yeah, but they did it. I don't really care why. And if it had been some other administrations, we'd have just orchestrated a coup to stay.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Vulpes Having lived under a dictatorship, I'm very much familiar with the "an imaginary alternative would be much worse" defense all the while under this one things are getting bad in previously unimaginable ways (such as: )

Vulpes (#946)

@Niko Bellic Touche, Mr. Bellic. He said we'd be out of Iraq and we're out of Iraq. And somehow that's cause to condemn him, because he didn't do it "pure of heart" or whatever? Whatever.

Also, Obama is a dictator now? Really?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Vulpes I did not say that to prove that Obama is a dictator (duh!), I said it to prove that that particular excuse for him is so meaningless, that it can be (and was) used to defend even the worst dictatorships, and that therefore, we should not be using it.

Now the fact that I had to explain that bums me out about continuing this discussion.

Vulpes (#946)

@Niko Bellic Touche again, Mr. Bellic. I apologize for disappointing you. I find my impatience gets the best of me when it comes to arguments about Obama. I just find most of them so maddening.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Vulpes Well, Mr. Vulpes, that's exactly the problem: our main reason for defending Obama seems to be that some of the people attacking him are really horrible and stupid. Meanwhile, we have a president who is just not cutting it up to our standards. So, I'm just saying… let's think in terms of what we want, not in terms of what the assorted dummies out there hate, because those are different things. And please don't ask me who do I propose we should vote for in the next election, because we should really think in terms of a much broader political action than simply walking over to the poll booth and circling a name.

Vulpes (#946)

@Niko Bellic Well, part of MY problem is that by my standards Obama is doing an okay job. Yes, disappointing in some ways, but doing the best, in general, with what he's got. That makes me an Enemy of the Revolution, however, or something, or a deluded Obamabot (and there are some out there).

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Vulpes Revolution? Being against indefinite detention is probably revolutionary in Saudi Arabia. It's supposed to be mainstream here. And I guess I better explain right now: I am not saying that to compare Obama to Prince Abdullah, but to defend myself from being compared to Bakunin.

Vulpes (#946)

@Niko Bellic I was being glib, but also talking more broadly about things like the Occupy movement and such, which some see as a revolution and Obama as an impediment to it.

I just feel like to the "hippies" on here and other sites I'm some sort of bourgeois running dog (which I am, really, but that's not the point) for still supporting Obama and not thinking everything he's done is a betraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayal. And, of course, what *I* feel is what's important.

For the record, and to be controversial: I'm against indefinite detention. I'm against unfettered executive power. I think the Plan B decision was immoral.

NFK (#8,747)

Never Mind the Baghdad, Here's the Waziristan.

Matthew Lawrence (#4,252)

My favorite part is how "Little Girl Likes Squeezing Her Father's Balls" is the first related story.

So it's okay to go to Times Square and assault a nurse?

deepomega (#1,720)

@NotAndersonCooper As long as it's sexual assault, yes. No punching.

hman (#53)

Those photos from Abu Ghraib are never ever going to get out of my brain.

Amasa Amos (#9,654)

"Secret prisons? Eh, let's forget about those. Torture? Let's just move on."

And let's not forget all the dead people, including:

- 4,484 American military personnel (see
- Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians (see

Of course, now that the "war" is "over," I'm sure the killing will "end" now too.

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