A friend of mine, a gun-toting Utah liberal, read “How to Win in Iraq” by William S. Lind.Â He responded (facetiously),
That is an excellent idea! I had not looked at the prospect of letting Iran have it as a victory. However I have always thought that if we would let Iran have it’s nukes we would be better off. It is not like Isreal is without a missle defence system. Can you say SCUDS? I knew you could.
Which suggests another line of resistance to Lind’s proposal: it just sounds like defeat.
I’m reminded of the movie “Matrix: Revolutions,” in which the crew of the ship Hammer, at great risk to themselves, approaches home with the ability to destroy hundreds of thousands of invading machines with an electromagnetic pulse.Â The dock is littered with destroyed defense units, and only 13 are still working.Â Commander Lock and his staff have the following exchange:
Lock’s Lieutenant: Sir, their EMP could take out every sentinel up there.
Lock: It’d take out more than that. It’d wipe out our entire defense system. We blow an EMP in there, we will lose the dock!
Lock’s Lieutenant: Sir, we’ve already lost the dock.
Like the single-minded Commander Lock, our nation’s dialogue is stuck in the trap that anything less than military victory is defeat.
The goal of empire has always been to subdue others, to force them to do our will. But the experience of empire is that “A man connvinced against is will is of the same opinion still.” Given the least bit of encouragement, the conquered people will rebel. You may recall the India Rebellion of 1857, the Boxer Rebellion, Pontiac’s War, the First and Second Boer Wars– and that’s just a handful from the British experience.
Real security comes not from subduing an enemy through force, but by making that enemy a friend through diplomacy. Many of our former enemies are now non-hostile as a result of diplomacy rather than force of arms: England, Vietnam, China, and Russia spring to mind. I’m not a pacifist who would suggest a strong military has nothing to do with this process, only that military victory was not the cause in these instances.
Lind suggests that we have already lost Iraq on the battlefield, but if through this debacle we transform Iran from enemy to friend, and if we allow the formation of a state inside Iraq, we will have done more for our own security than anything the troops could do, no matter how many we send or how well armed they are.Â The war was bungled, the damage is done.Â Yet we could still come away with more than what we started with.