The Elecktronick Tyger Roares
09 January 2006
  Anarapoia, v1.1
In a column entitled "A Life, Wasted" in the Washington Post (Page A17, 3 January o6), Paul E. Schroder talks about his son's death in Iraq, about the ways in which people seem almost afraid to discuss it, retreating behind catch phrases like "He died a hero" or "He was a true patriot."

Mr. Schroder says
The words "hero" and "patriot" focus on the death, not the life. They are a flag-draped mask covering the truth that few want to acknowledge openly: Death in battle is tragic no matter what the reasons for the war. The tragedy is the life that was lost, not the manner of death. Families of dead soldiers on both sides of the battle line know this. Those without family in the war don't appreciate the difference.
One who doesn't, of course, is our own heroic war President:
Two painful questions remain for all of us. Are the lives of Americans being killed in Iraq wasted? Are they dying in vain? President Bush says those who criticize staying the course are not honoring the dead. That is twisted logic: honor the fallen by killing another 2,000 troops in a broken policy?
The very first entry in this blog is entitled "They are Killing my Brothers Again".

As a serving member of the Navy, during the Viet Nam era, and a non-combat veteran of that very same little fiasco, i watched the same empty, stupid rhetoric being trotted out by those (on both sides, to be fair) who had only a political stake in the conflict -- stay the course. Don't dishonour our brave dead by pulling out.

There is a phrase -- "Throwing good money after bad." At some point you simply have to step back, take a deep breath or two and ask yourself if the cost to continue whatever you are doing (in whatever form it is paid), added to the costs you have aready incurred, is worth the possible gain.

I cannot see that, in Iraq, that it was, is or ever could be.

I don't believe that what we will leave behind us will be a viable democracy (or even republic, like us). That is, of course, if we ever manage to leave.

Let's forget Viet Nam for a moment -- look at Northern Ireland.

British troops went into Ulster to protect the rights of the Catholic minority. Within a very short time, they were under fire from both Protestants and Catholic groups, and their very presence was escalating the violence which, in turn, their presence seemed to be necessary to try to suppress.

At least the British have a heck of a lot less distance between them and Ireland than we do us and Iraq.

You cannot impose "freedom" on a man whose definition of "freedom" doesn't match yours. You cannot create democracy with a magic wand and a military force in a region where the very concept of "democracy" is almost unknown.

(Those who point to voter turnout and voting patterns in Iraq as evidence that Iraqis want democracy might do well to consider voter turnout and voting patterns in the old USSR.)

You cannot free a slave who does not wish to be free.

With luck, we'll wind up with a relatively benign theocratic republic in Iraq.

Maybe, in five or ten years after the war ends (if ever), Iraqis will begin to obtain the material standard of living they had before we arrived and broke it. (Like, maybe, electricity and safe running water 24 hours a day?) Of course, the museums and cultural institutions will never be the same -- you know -- the ones that were looted while US troops with orders to secure the Oil Ministry and oil facilities stood by watching?

We didn't have enough troops. We don't have enough troops. I sincerely doubt if we ever could have enough troops -- and i question whether it would be worth the cost and the loss, anyway.

A psychologist acquaintance of mine once referred to a condition she called "anarapoia" -- following someone around with the fixed delusion that you intend to do them good.

Assuming that anything that Bush & Co have told us about this war and their reasons for getting us into it is true, i fear me that our country is suffering at its highest levels from anarapoia.

And no matter how fixed and fervent a delusion may be, it is still a delusion, and attempting to make it reality by enforcing your world vision on others is folly.

And sooner or later, you have to recognise that folly for what it is, and stop trying to accomplish it. Stop throwing good money after bad.

Stop killing more troops in a vain desire to "Not dishonor the sacrifices of those who have already died."

No one wants to believe that their son or daughter died in vain.

But it looks more and more as if they have been and still are doing just that.

Mr Schroder's son died in a town that the Marines were "securing" for the fifth time.

Mr Shroder finishes his commentary:
Though it hurts, I believe that his death -- and that of the other Americans who have died in Iraq -- was a waste. They were wasted in a belief that democracy would grow simply by removing a dictator -- a careless misunderstanding of what democracy requires. They were wasted by not sending enough troops to do the job needed in the resulting occupation -- a careless disregard for professional military counsel.

But their deaths will not be in vain if Americans stop hiding behind flag-draped hero masks and stop whispering their opposition to this war. Until then, the lives of other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers may be wasted as well.

This is very painful to acknowledge, and I have to live with it. So does President Bush.
Yes, well it isn't as if any of the troops dying in Iraq are Real People so far as the President is concerned...
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My interests are broadranging -- comics, music, movies and good ol' science fiction mostly dominate. My Five Most Favouritest Films are (this week) Once Upon A Time in the West, Dark Star, O Lucky Man, Day for Night and Whatever I Watched Recently That Was Good. Currently that's Day for Night.

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Name: mike weber
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