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The latest reason America is in Iraq

12/07/2003

At first it was the irrational fear that Saddam would unleash a "mushroom cloud" over an American city. Once the mushrooms failed to materialize, it became the promotion of democracy in Iraq. Then it became the need to fight terrorists wherever they challenge us. Then it was the promotion of democracy throughout the Middle East. But almost unnoticed amidst his Thanksgiving theatrics at the Baghdad airport, President George W. Bush declared yet another reason to keep Americans slogging in Iraq: sheer stubbornness.

From the official White House transcript at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031127.html:

Those who attack our coalition forces and kill innocent Iraqis are testing our will. They hope we will run. We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost in casualties, defeat a brutal dictator and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins.
A bitter cost indeed, one that grows more bitter by the day. How additional deaths and disfiguring wounds can redeem earlier losses remains unexplained and inexplicable. But this is why 100,000 American troops will be kept in place for at least the next year: because it otherwise would be too apparent that we have suffered and sacrified for no reason. We therefore might be tempted, all too reasonably, to revise our course of action. But we cannot concede error, so we must persist in it.

Some three decades ago, another writer observed about another war:

The... situation seems to have been peculiarly constructed to entice us ever deeper into a morass of error, and essential to that treacherous construction has been the puny quality of the opponent, against whom two Presidents have found it temperamentally beyond their powers to admit failure.
It is one of the tragedies of American history is that relatively little has been left unsaid about sending other people's children to faraway lands to fight and die in the name of pride. Perhaps we have grown so powerful that we must re-learn the lesson every two generations or so.

The words quoted above appear on page 115 of Bernard Brodie's 1973 monograph, War and Politics, an infrequently recalled work that distills several decades' worth of wisdom about international conflict. It would sit well on any would-be President's reading list. Whatever books America's next President does or doesn't read, a great deal hangs on what sort of temperament he brings to the office.

Analyst

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000126.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Analyst @ 09:05 PM CST [Link]

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