How Will We Know When We Have Lost, America?
Who knows in this day and age what defeat means or how it is measured? Is defeat measured in the number of our soldiers that are killed and wounded or is it the number of innocent civilians killed?
Is preemption a sign of defeat? Is defeat marked by a nation's moral compass becoming erratic or fixed on empire building and the theft of other's lands and resources?
What is it that tells us we have lost a battle or a war? Is victory marked by a nation's leader dressing the part of a warrior and declaring, "Mission Accomplished". Is "loss" defined by politicians officially reporting victory at least three times? Is a "loss" the "beautiful people" hanging onto the "last helicopter out"? Is it a "loss" when the most powerful army the world has ever seen can't travel its own six-mile road from its Baghdad airport to its administrative headquarters? Is defeat an Army's friendly fire killing its own military hero and then lying for months on end about the circumstances of the event? Does the need to manufacture a heroine like Jessica Lynch mark the end of a blatantly unjust cause and therefore defeat? How does a commander-in-chief wage a war when one of his senior generals says, "I don't know if I have the moral authority to send troops into combat anymore. I'm no longer sure I can look (a soldier or a Marine) in the eye and say: 'This is something worth dying for.'" (1)
Who knows in this day and age what defeat means or how it is measured? Is defeat measured in the number of our soldiers that are killed and wounded or is it the number of innocent civilians killed? Is defeat measured by the birth defects our soldiers' children experience from their parents' exposure to depleted uranium or is defeat measured by the increase in cancer among the enemy civilian population?(2) Is the degree of corruption involving the destruction/reconstruction of a defeated nation a measure of defeat? (For those with an extremely strong stomach for corruption, try reading "Sticky Fingers", The Making of Halliburton by Jeffry St. Clair in the July 15/17 2005 issue of Counterpunch.com). Is defeat measured by the loss of world oil production and the inevitable rise of worldwide petroleum prices? Do forcing the conquered country to pay for its own reconstruction and then stealing and squandering its "income stream" and national assets measure a conqueror's victory? How does one measure the success or failure of a war waged by a moral midget and a totally incompetent Minister of Offense?
Is preemption a sign of defeat? Is defeat marked by a nation's moral compass becoming erratic or fixed on empire building and the theft of other's lands and resources? Is defeat marked by a nation choosing the wrong nation for retaliation after being attacked? Is ignoring international law a mark of defeat? Does living outside the treaties and agreements between nations mean that a nation has lost its sense of moral values or is that nation to be considered the only nation on earth to be righteous?
When does a nation quit saying, "In God we trust" and start saying "In our government I trust". I seem to remember something in the Bible about justice, punishment and right and wrong. If we trust in God, it would appear that our actions have already doomed this War on Terror. If we truly believe in biblical truths, how does one justify laying waste to a country (without provocation) that you have befriended, supported and supplied with money and weapons? Is there really 30 percent of we Americans who can look his son or daughter in the eye as he or she leaves for Iraq and say, "this is worth dying for"?
Does rejecting civilized treatment of prisoners and choosing torture for known innocents as well as the suspected guilty mark the end of a nation's humanity and mark it as a pariah and predator in the world community? Does defeat mean having to depend upon hypocrisy to overcome an enemy that your army can't defeat? What are you really saying when you have to rely on extraordinary rendition in order to satisfy "liberals" and "America haters" that you really do not believe in torture?
How are we going to know when we have lost the battles and the wars? Are we going to use history to define defeat or victory, or are we going to make the rules for everyone else to live by as we go along? We made the rules in Nuremberg, but now we know that only the "America haters" would want us to put Bush, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Feith, Luty and Libby on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
George Bush's last bastion of deceit in justifying the invasion of Iraq has gotten down to saying that "if we don't fight them over there, we will have to fight them over here". That theory took a beating recently in London. The British "have been fighting them over there", and now it looks as though they are going to be fighting them in their own country precisely BECAUSE they are "fighting them over there".
I am afraid of another (many other) 9/11 - London type disasters in our country and for the same reasons as the previous London and New York tragedies. And, "no, whether or not we treat prisoners with hoods and electrodes in Abu Ghraib will make no difference to the suffering we will feel when the time for us comes again". They have gone too far; we have gone too far. There will be no humanitarianism on their part or on ours. Our government's policies - unconditional support for Israel, support of despots and tyrants around the world, the export of tyranny, terrorism and "regime changes" through the CIA and the School of the Americas, the purchase of our Congress by Israel and any other cash wielding PAC or war industry lobby, the corruption of destruction and reconstruction in our "war" for the freedom and democracy of Iraqis, insisting that we have enough troops in Iraq to "win" but having to hire mercenaries at exorbitant rates to cover the gaps in our troop strength - have put us in a position from which we cannot win. They (the world wide Muslim community) have limited ordnance and limited military capabilities, but they have tied down the most powerful army the world has ever seen - and they have a potential 1.3 BILLION - man/woman fighting reserve. Even the Chinese would envy that kind of army. One can safely say that not every Muslim is a jihadist. But then ask yourself WHY NOT if we are going to act in the same manner as the despotic rulers whom they know so well. Ask yourself how only nine, low ranking "bad apples" could completely destroy the worldwide perception of America's integrity and fairness - even in war!
We will know we have lost when we do what we have done in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Diego Garcia, Bagram and the other entirely secret and not so secret CIA and military detention centers round the world. We will know we have lost when the first target in the massacre of a village or city is its hospital. We will know we have lost when we don't bother to learn about war and about the realities of war. We will know we have lost when we avoid impeaching a president who allows "his" Pentagon to defy a federal court order to release photos from Abu Ghraib showing, among other things, the rape of children and murder of prisoners.(3) We will know we have lost when our elite military units use the torture and suffering of their prisoners for sport and entertainment(4) . We will know we have lost when we don't care how similar our methods in Falluja are to those of the Nazis in Warsaw or the Russians in Chechnya. (No, I am not a bleeding heart liberal who thinks wars should be fought with powder puffs and cream puffs, but I am a very disillusioned American veteran who sees the horrors of Stalingrad, Warsaw, Falluja or Waco coming soon to a location very near to each of us).
We will know we have lost when we don't know where Jose Padilla is or how long he has been detained. We will know we have lost when we allow one million illegal aliens to cross our borders each year - any of which could be a suicide bomber, a "pilot-in-training" - or just a voter taking a job from an American non-voter. We will know we have lost when we have a Patriot Act I and are crafting a Patriot Act II behind closed doors in our Congress.
(1) US 'lacks moral authority' in Iraq - By Pamela Hess
(2) Depleted uranium: Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets. A death sentence here and abroad: By Leuren Moret
(3) Pentagon Blocks Release of Abu Ghraib Images: Here's Why: By Greg Mitchell
link to www.editorandpublisher.com
(4) Officer's Road Led Him Outside Army: By Richard A. Serrano
Nolan K. Anderson is a retired engineer and a veteran of Korea who was once a "conservative" until he found there was nothing left to conserve. (He may be reached at email@example.com ).
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