Monday, April 20, 2009

4/20

A day celebrated by some rebellious folks to smoke marijuana and support legalization or decriminalization of it (For the record: I'm a non-user who supports legalization, was angered at the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal prohibition of medical marijuana, and find that our system's drug laws disproportionately target/punish minorities, etc.)

It's also a day remembered for some ugly moments in history, such as Hitler's birth and the Columbine school massacre. As a liberty minded 2nd Amendment supporter I could rant about the role gun control played with Hitler's regime, or note the laundry list of gun control laws that were broken, but not enforced, that led to the school shooting.

But as the Drudge Report lists today, it's an anniversary of something else too... Harry Reid's shocking and premature announcement:



"This war is lost."

Just wow.

A thought to ponder of course, is that many who agreed with Reid that the war was lost claimed that they did not/could not/etc define what "winning" would be in Iraq and often happily challenged anyone to do so. But somehow those same folks could "know" we were losing with absolute certainty?

In limited war (where the purpose is to achieve a limited number of objectives as opposed to most major wars where the sole strategy is to achieve the total capitulation of a nation/state) the success is measured by the objectives achieved. With Iraq we've been achieving our objectives, regime change, verifying disarmament, aiding Iraqis to establish self-government, etc. The question at hand was never so much about winning or losing as much as "Was/Is this worth it?" As the cost in blood and treasure mounted to achieve our objectives, this was of course the pressing question driving the debate then and now.

Reid's statement was an answer to the wrong question... ironically as part of a plan to pass policy that would have amounted to our own capitulation and a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead we took a different path that our new president had to admit had "succeeded beyond our wildest dreams" while on the campaign trail. And though his rhetoric back then suggested that we still needed a dramatic shift in strategy with Iraq to remove ourselves as quickly as responsibly possible, as president he has adopted a nearly identical policy as his predecessor, with differing descriptions. From an older post:


Now, if you're still reading this I'll assume you've made it through the video without facepalming yourself into a concussion...

So what's this SOFA agreement? It's the Bush "time horizon" that was established in December.

The Daily Show has stumbled on a fact generally ignored by every major news outlet: Obama's Iraq policy continues to be indistinguishable from Bush's Iraq policy beyond parsing words... wait, no even parsing the same words.

With the new administration's actions implying that our remaining objectives are possible (ie the war is winnable) and worth the cost, somehow I doubt we'll be hearing Senator Reid make such shocking statements about the conflict anymore.

Sadly though, there are many who still believe that winning cannot be defined, let alone achieved, in Iraq. They are often the same folks who believe we have already lost or are still in the process of losing in spite of our military successes against the former regime and its military, our persistence of fighting back insurgents, terrorists, and sectarian militants as the Iraqi people establish self-government where a tyrannical dictatorship, hostile to the US and our allies, once stood.

At what point does their denial become impossible to take sincerely? A debate on whether it is/was worth the costs can be had without diminishing the sacrifices made as part of that cost and insisting our military lost what they've labored so hard to achieve. There is nothing to be gained as a nation to falsely insist that we've lost, and certainly no political gain in doing so that outweighs the potential harm.

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