Friday, August 19, 2005

Say it Ain't So, Dick!

Don't tell me that this is the best justification you can come up with for continuing this war!

"Every man and woman who fights and sacrifices in this war is serving a just and noble cause. This nation will always be grateful to them and we will honor their sacrifice by completing our mission," Cheney said during a speech in Springfield, Mo., to the 73rd national convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

That's right. I don't care how many people have to die, we're going to honor those who have given our lives by finishing this war. That has to be one of the stupidest justifications for continuing a war I've ever heard.

Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice sums it up as follows:
Our view (and TMV has supported the war): if this is the new argument that'll be used to sell the war, it's doomed to failure. Officials didn't argue in the World War I, World War II, Korea or even Vietnam that the wars needed to be fought to victory to honor sacrifices soldiers already made in those wars. Leaders relentlessly hammered away at the larger missions. Sometimes these arguments failed (as in the case of Vietnam). But arguing that because young Americans have died in Iraq already the U.S. needs to stay there and face increased casualties will not — to be blunt — sell. It could actually backfire. (There are much stronger and more convincing arguments proponents of completing the Iraq mission can make).
I have to agree with this sentiment. This sounds like gambler logic to me:
I know I lost $5000 at the blackjack table, but I'm going to keep on betting until I break even. Not good policy.

*** UPDATE ***

President Bush on vacation in Idaho told a VFW in Idaho on Monday that if we pull out of Iraq now, we will be dishonoring the memory of all Americans who fought and died in the pursuit of freedom.

Think about that for a minute. If we withdraw from a nation we invaded for the express purpose of deposing a leader who had chemical and nuclear weapons that he didn't have despite the fact that he said he didn't have them, then we dishonor ALL AMERICANS who fought and died.

Those who stormed the beaches in Normandy are dishonored. The Marines who battled in Iwo Jima. The 101st at Bastogne. Eddie Rickenbacher. Alvin York. The 54th Massachussetts. Robert E. Lee. Ulysses S. Grant. Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys. The Men at Fort McHenry. Chesty Puller. John Levitow. The list goes on and on. We would dishonor them.

I firmly believe we need to see our way through this. Regardless of how we got to where we are, we are in a position where we must press on to the end of the tunnel. But I think these recent statements by our CINC and Vice President are callous and wrong. I don't believe we should evoke the memory of men who responded to overt agression when we were the aggressors. That is a disservice to our forefathers and the men and women who wear the uniform today.


English Professor said...

In accounting there is a term called "sunk cost." When deciding whether to continue a project or not, it is useless to talk about how much money you've already spent on it--that money is gone, a sunk cost. The only thing that matters is the viability of the project from here forward, whether you've spent $100 or $1M in the past.

Now, war is not a business project (except to the cynical), and lives lost are not money lost. Still, a similar principle applies--the continuation of a war has got to based on your prospects for the future, not on the number of soldiers who have already died.

Steve said...

I had to read this a second time, because I misunderstood what you'd said. I see the correlation now and like yours much better than mine.

Thomas said...

I agree with English Professor. I would be more concerned if the war is being run as effectively as it can. I don't think it is.

Bookworm said...

I think there's a suspicion that our MTV world can't cope with a sustained argument about larger political goals.