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As the wise old adage has it: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." As this applies to America's current military debacle in Iraq (if not Afghanstan, too): "You never get a second, third, and/or fourth chance to squander thousands of your own casualites, hundreds of billions of your own dollars (borrowed at that) all to cause tens of thousands of deaths and raging chaos among the target population of your alleged benevolence." Something like that. How many chances to demonstrate abject ignornance and rank incompetence does America think the world -- or even its own cowed and bullied electorate -- will grant?
Short answer: no more.
President George W. Bush has shot America's wad. That became evident shortly after the American military jumped headfirst into the Iraqi sand trap, leaving General Tommy Franks and his entourage barely enough time to "declare victory and get out" while they personally still had retirements to enjoy, careers to pursue, or books to sell about something worth reading -- all before the chickens came home to loot (which they did almost immediately.)
Everyone else who came afterwards got to sit in the shit storm.
As a victim/veteran of the Nixon-Kissinger Fig Leaf Contingent (Vietnam 1970-1972) I can say on the basis of much bitter experience that our marooned and abused military in Iraq now fights and dies for only one transparent thing: namely, to buy time for George W. Bush and the Republican Party to somehow find a way to spin "retreat" into "victory" in time to save their own sorry asses and cushy, corrupt sinecures. All this talk about what "we" want for the Iraqi people and their "army" will evaporate instantly the minute we get the last of our guys and girls out of that sand trap. We never cared a single additional tax dollar for the Iraqi people before this shameful attack on them and we won't care a thing about them after we've come to our senses and left. George W. Bush has shot our wad. We've already done more than we should have and far more than we can afford.
When I came "home" from Vietnam in January of 1972 I wanted so much to tell everyone about what I had seen and done. No one wanted to hear about it. No one wanted me and my friends around. Some puss-gut chickenhawk "conservative" would always come to the airport to call us "losers" as we tried to sneak back into our own country as unobtrusively as possible. Everyone thought the war had ended in 1968 when Richard Nixon said he had a plan to end it. Only those who knew it hadn't really ended cared enough to keep on protesting till first Nixon and then the war finally went away -- seven years later. The American people as a whole, though, just wanted the unpleasantness, inflation, and wage-and-price controls to go away quietly without requiring that they get involved. They just wanted to forget. So they did. They want to do that same forgetting now. They will.
Iraq will have an "army" if (1) any "Iraq" remains as an actual national entity, and/or (2) if any "Iraqi" people want or can afford one. These issues, though, involve the people who live in that sad place. They don't involve us. We've already proven conclusively that we don't know our asses from a hole in the desert. Who on earth any longer thinks that "we" have anything worthwhile to contribute in Iraq? We've done enough harm. We need to stop.
The surviving members of the New Fig Leaf Contingent will start coming home next year -- as Pat says. They will have purchased with their lives and limbs a few more months for America's "leadership" to dither, "Vietnamize," or "Iraqify" a few thousand more dead and maimed Iraqis. Our traumatized soldiers will want so much to tell us what they have seen and done. We won't want to hear it, though. We will not want any visible and wounded reminders of "losing." We will not want them.
I know all this because it happened to me. It happened to many of my friends. I know what our New Fig Leaf Contingent will suffer and remember all the remaining days of their lives. I hold George W. Bush and his crony cabal of clueless cretins responsible. Damn their eyes.
Posted by: Michael Murry | 31 October 2005 at 03:26 AM
Posted at 07:43 AM in Poetry | Permalink