Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Ten Years After

Can it be that it's been almost a decade since the first day of the Third Gulf War, the Cheneyan Mess-o-potamia?


A good place to begin is here: with James Fallows. In it Fallows makes the point which I consider the most essential one that we as We the People should be contemplating:
"For a decade or more after the Vietnam war, the people who had guided the U.S. to disaster decently shrank from the public stage. Robert McNamara did worthy penance at the World Bank. Rusk, Rostow, Westmoreland were not declaiming on what the U.S. should and should not do.

After Iraq, there has been a weird amnesty and amnesia about people's misjudgment on the most consequential decision of our times. Hillary Clinton lost the 2008 primary race largely because she had been "wrong" on Iraq and Barack Obama had been "right." But Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Rice, McCain, Abrams, and others including the pro-war press claque are still offering their judgments unfazed. In his post-presidential reticence George W. Bush has been an honorable exception.

I don't say these people should never again weigh in. But there should be an asterisk on their views, like the fine print about side effects in pharmaceutical ads."
I read the article Fallows refers to in the spring of 2003 and remember thinking "Yep. Yep. This is gonna suck." It prompted me to do something I'd promised myself I'd never do; march in a "peace protest". And, yes, it was as fucking worthless as the rest of them. All I got was the fucking T-shirt, and the caissons went rolling along.

But to me, the real damage we have done to ourselves over this has nothing to do with blood or treasure, but the formal codification of the Washington Rule that says you can harm your nation and your nation's People deliberately, intentionally, with greed and self-interest aforethought and pay no price - not a fucking penny or a moment of your liberty or even your social standing - for it.

We'll talk some more here about this when the anniversary arrives.


Leon said...

Sorry to hijack your threat again Chief (we must find other ways to talk). Just stumbled on to some gameplay footage of a group playing ARMA II. It's a hard-realism FPS and these guys took it to the next level.

They regularly run operations and, not having ever been a soldier, they seem damn realisitic. Completely fascinating. Here's one of their gameplay vids:

FDChief said...

Enh. Been there, done that.

Find me a videogame where you spend all afternoon hanging around the motor pool. Or go from the company CP to battalion back to company to brigade then back to company only to find that the orders you were chasing were cancelled.

THAT's "damn realistic". This stuff is just sort of digital war porn...

Leon said...

Wait, you mean Call of Duty lied to me all those years?

I feel... so lied to...

FDChief said...

Yep. Sorry.

The two best visual re-creations of war I can think of seeing are Sam Fuller's "The Big Red One" about WW2 and "Three Kings" about the Second Gulf War. And not so much for any specific visual thing but because they both "get" that war is fundamentally either insanely boring or frantic and about the stupidest fucking thing you'll ever do; random, idiotic, and often CHAotic...

There are probably some people out there that can see war like one of these shooter games; I'm told that some guys get a rush out of actual combat. I don't get it and never have; the tiny amount that I saw seemed completely senseless from a worm's-eye view.