July 02, 2004
Does Dick Winters feel bad about taking Nazi silverware or Lewis Nixon for drinking Hitler's booze? Does Ronald Speirs regret making a souvenir of the Nazi flag? I hope not. Did David Webster feel guilty about taking his anger out on a raving shopkeeper after liberating a concentration camp? He shouldn't have to. Should Easy Company have forced regular German citizens to clean up the concentration camp and bury the emaciated bodies? Perhaps. That's what a war of attrition requires.
Some have written lately that this war won't be won with our accommodating nature. The only way to win a war, they argue, is to kill. Or crush the enemy's spirit. We don't do that today. We drop food rations with bombs, and we apologize for Abu Ghraib while one by one our contractor's heads are being ripped off. We're too damn nice.
The fact is, we Americans do not like staring into the face of evil. It is in our progressive and optimistic nature to believe that human beings are basically good, or at least rational. When we stare into a cave of horrors, whether it is in Somalia, Beirut or Tikrit, we see a tangled morass we don't understand. Our instinct is to get out as quickly as possible.
Amritas has a wonderful post up asking many questions that don't have clean answers: Will we get our investment back? Is it worth it? If the US isn't going to take advantage of their forces in Iraq soon, why bother? Is it really 'noble' for American Soldiers to sacrifice themselves to rebuild and police another nation when they could be doing their real job: defeating the enemy? How do we win the War of Ideas?
I add another: Can the war be won while being nice?
The Germans were done. They surrendered, turned over their weapons, marched dutifully to POW camps, and accepted defeat. The war was over. Iraq is not the same game. There will be no surrender, no dutiful march, no end short of death. I don't think our society (or our media) will let us do what we need to do in order to win. We've won several battles -- al Sadr is done, sovereignty is transfered -- but we have a long way to go to win the War of Ideas, to defeat the fantasy ideology.
I have no more answers than Amritas does. I hope history shows that our blood was worth it, that Iraq, despite her many flaws, can develop into an ally and friend. I don't want to find that we should have just taken the silverware and left.
Posted by: Beth at July 02, 2004 08:31 AM (j1526)
Posted by: Jack Grey at July 02, 2004 09:37 AM (3nn57)
48 queries taking 0.0706 seconds, 166 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.