To those who insist on calling this a "war"...
In my previous diaries It's Not Defeat, Dammit and How Can You Surrender If There Was Never a War? I made the basic exposition of my case for ending the use of the word "war" to describe the Iraq Debacle. The basic gist was that Iraq fit the description of an occupation, rather than a war; that wars can be won or lost, but that occupations can only end in annexation or withdrawal; and that American pride would not tolerate a "loss" in war, but would tolerate withdrawal from an occupation. And that the distinction was real, not just rhetorical, because there is no literal way to "win" this conflict, even if you do want to call it a war.
And now we have yet another reason to stop calling this Iraq Occupation a "war." A critically important reason, because our very victory in this election may depend on how we respond to the new GOP rhetoric concerning the situation in Iraq.
This new rhetoric can be found most prominently in a speech made by Donald Rumsfeld yesterday:
U.S. military too strong to lose Iraq War: Rumsfeld
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday the U.S. military is too strong to lose the war in Iraq, but ultimately political solutions will be needed to win.
"You've got a situation where it's not possible to lose militarily," Rumsfeld said. "It's also going to require more than military power to prevail.
Read that again. "It's not possible to lose militarily..." For once, Donald, you hit the nail on the head. That's because it's not possible to "win" militarily, either. Donald goes on to say that a political solution is necessary. My response? "Wait, Donald--I thought this was a war!"
But there's more to this than even that. This rehtoric is a major change of course for this administration. The old GOP meme was:
Liberals don't have the courage to stay the course, and don't support our troops.
Well, that hasn't worked. The American people have seen the Fighting Dems; the American people have seen that the current course is unsustainable; and the American people have seen that the GOP denies body armor and veterans' benefits, while the Dems fight to provide those things.
So, the GOP tactics have changed. Now it's:
Liberals don't think our military is STRONG enough to win this war. That is, it's not that liberals don't support our troops. Rather, liberals just think our troops SUCK.
You see the subtle difference? Do you see the corner that the GOP is trying to paint us into? Their new rhetoric says that we who want to see an end to this occupation don't have confidence in the strength, courage, and ability of our heroes on the ground in the Sandbox. That we refuse to give the courageous Iraqis time to find their way to a political solution.
And that's BULLSHIT. Because I and every other intelligent liberal know that that our troops are teh bravest and best-trained in the world--and that our military is the strongest the world has ever seen. But we also know that's not the point.
It's not the point because it IS NOT A WAR. The bravery or talent of our troops is irrelevant here. Rather, the peacekeeping prowess, political skills, and occupational competence of this Administration is what is relevant. The troops are merely a pawn in the game. And why? Because TROOPS win WARS. But GOVERNMENTS make or break OCCUPATIONS.
My response to Donald Rumsfeld and the GOP?
No, you idiot. I don't think the troops suck. I think YOU suck.
Because that's what this election is and should be about. It's a referendum on Bush. On Rumsfeld. On Rice. On Cheney. On the whole cabal. It's NOT a referendum on the troops or the Iraqi people.
And the only way to keep that focus is by stopping calling the Iraq Mess a war--and by starting to call it the Occupation that it is.