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It doesn't mean what you think it does...

I've held my tongue long enough, but every time I listen to this administration talk about this war, I feel myself becoming stupider.

Asked yesterday whether the new US casualties are leading to a reassessment of the US strategy, White House spokesman Tony Snow responded: ``No, the strategy is to win.''

"To win" is not a strategy. To win is a goal. A strategy is a plan, a set of actions you embark on to obtain that goal. "Stay the course" is not a strategy, but a informationless tautology. My strategy is to continue with my strategy.

Why does no one with a press pass care that questions aren't being answered? I actually heard a news anchor speak of a "Stay the Course Strategy" as if it actually described something.

Thinking some more, "to win" is only a goal if there is some idea what "to win" means. Since this war is now in some overtime no-plan land (thanks, Rumsfeld), and definitions of success or winning is offered on an ad-hoc basis, will someone please ask if there is in fact a goal, much less a strategy to reach that goal!


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Oct. 19th, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
These days I'm thinking about Kanan Makiya, the Iraq expatriate who's famous for his 2002 remarks that, even if there was only a 5-10% chance of turning Iraq into a democratic state, it would be worth taking that chance because life under Saddam was so bad.

The problem was, there was also a 10% chance of what we're looking at now - Iraq degenerating past Shi'a v. Sunni v. Kurd to a Hobbesian war of all against all. Maybe, as Makiya said back then, most Iraqis were ready to run the risks involved in a U.S. occupation. But they seem to have assumed we were much more powerful than we actually are; that we could stop things from going wrong in Iraq in ways that we couldn't.

I think the Bushies bought into an equally naive view of American power, but unlike the prewar Iraqis, they had a duty to know what we could and couldn't do, and to consider all the ways that this adventure could go wrong. They didn't, and for that they deserve a place in a special hell, the one reserved for mass murderers and torturers like the ones they've set loose in Iraq.

At this point, there's no meaningful definition of 'win' that is achievable. If there were a Saddam-style strongman who had a prayer of controlling the violence, we'd hand the country over to him in a heartbeat, because rewinding the tape of history back to 2002 would be a tremendous improvement for almost all non-Kurd Iraqis. But there is no strongman, not even that thug Sadr, capable of ruling even a large piece of the country.

We have taken the Iraqis and dumped them directly into a hell on earth. And the scary thing is, it'll probably get considerably worse.
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