Time to leave with the lights on

             The war is over; the war is over. The sky is falling; the sky is falling. On the surface these are two perfectly incongruous statements, unless of course you are talking about America’s war in Iraq. Much to the final satisfaction of the caring public, the war is over at long last. Ah, yes, let us start thinking about Christmas shopping. Okay, not so fast. If you define, “over,” as the end to one side taking over the other, well maybe in that way the war is over. If you define it as an endless conflict, highlighted by troop surges and unbudgeable spending limits, well then sorry, it is still on!

            At least we left a stable government based on Democratic principles to run the country in place as we disappeared off in the distance in our well-heeled Hum Vees. We should have also left instructions on how to exactly make that government work. America’s model of what a government elected by the people and acting for the people is unfortunately a very hard model to copy.  We should have suspected there would be trouble despite our best attempts to dip everyone’s finger in purple ink!

            Sure we helped them get a President and ran out of town the Dictator who had no qualms about gassing his own people. However, given the history of such a varied people, don’t look for everyone to sit down at the table and get friendly too quickly. Add to that there is an enormous pot of money on the table, given Iraq’s current yield of sixty five-billon dollars worth of oil sold last year. By they way, when were we supposed to get our cut?

            As for the mess we leave behind structurally, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We destroyed the infrastructure of the country with massive bombings, and then wondered why no one had electricity! No wonder we went from being heroes to villains in a matter of months. There were no chocolate bar crowds waiting in the one hundred degree sun. There were no sudden forgive and forgets between religious groups either that had been fighting for at least eight hundred years over formality of beliefs regarding the same religion. All that was there were a handful of baseball cards with the former regime on them, so that our soldiers of mass destruction would know who they were looking for.

             There are no winners in wars anymore. Although the rumors that this war was all about oil have long ago faded, one might be surprised to learn who is rushing back into the country of Iraq now that the combat troops have gone. You guessed it. The oil companies and their sub-contractors, and lo and behold, China is there to help rebuild too.  Might I add not one Chinese soldier lost his life getting Iraq to this point!

             So let it be said America. We came. We tore it up. We waited around a while for the dust to settle and we left with all the lights on, so we can come back anytime we want. As long as we fight wars against ideas, politically motivated groups and without solid goals of gaining or winning something tangible, war is going to be with us forever.    In this case, hostilities could arise in six days or six years and we would be right back at it again.


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