...I have ever engaged in. I thought it was stupid before, but now....
The saying by some, that we just "sit around waiting to get attacked" is the best way to describe our current situation. Our big projects tend to be the morale server and a wireless gaming network we're trying to set up. Then, once in a while, we get rockets fired at us. We recover from that, do whatever needs to be done, and go back to our daily affairs.
It is unclear to me what we're fighting for. There was a time I could see that we were fighting to establish a permanent military presence in the region so as to assert military dominance over a resource (oil) that will be key to China's developing economy, but given the on-going and perhaps semi-permanent sectarian violence in the region, I don't see how permanent bases are going to be sustainable without a continued loss of life. Perhaps Bush is simply willing to pay any price in other people's blood to assert dominance over the oil which will eventually be sold to the Chinese at inflated values. Perhaps he is trying to save face. Whatever the case may be, it has become increasingly clear that the price of this occupation is higher than it's worth, never mind the moral reasons for not invading in the first place. That's almost beside the point, now.
The point is that this was our last ditch effort to maintain the dream of the Holy American Empire. Control the oil and you keep a leash on the biggest potential rival in the world. It made sense in an amoral, greed and glory-driven sort of way. We have, however, failed. Our bases in Iraq are under constant attack, even with the ridiculous amount of manpower and resources dedicated to securing them. No one is safe here, and what good is the centralized launching point for operations in the region if we're spending all of our time and money defending our position?
We don't want Iraq to fall into the hands of Islamist extremists. I get that. But there are other ways to ensure that such a government never becomes a threat to us or to its neighbors. Besides, we still have enough carrots left in the garden to entice Syria and Iran to come around and help provide some sense of stability to their ailing neighbor. It certainly couldn't cost us any more money than we've already spent, and we certainly couldn't lose any more face than we already have.
The American Empire has peaked and must now recede in order to survive. Let the Arab states control their own oil. Use whatever economic strength we still have to leverage favorable deals. Work with Chavez to secure a better source to feed our petroleum addiction than this part of the world. GET OFF OF OIL. Let the Chinese fall into the trap that we have (they will need that oil just as badly as we do now) and institute some of the clean tech we've developed. No, it's not enough yet. But we're getting there, and the sooner we become self-sustaining, the sooner we can stop having to bully the entire world.
Here's a thought: the U.S. is capable of producing enough food to feed the entire world. Why don't we? We spend so much money on the military to secure oil to produce... what again? We're importing friggin' food from China, for fuck's sake. Why? Instead of being the world's leading destroyer of nations, why don't we try becoming their grocer? Will people bomb their source of food? I highly doubt it.
Agriculture needs to be big on our next President's priority list. It should be so big that the Secretary of Agriculture will be as important an appointment as the Secretaries of State and Defense.
I got off point, but the absolute stupidity of our current policies has really hit home when I start seeing the costs up close and personal. I also understand why so many troops buy into the propaganda: it's the only way that any of this makes any sense. Who wants to sacrifice themselves for nothing? We're fighting just to fight at this point.
Let the Iraqis sort their shit out themselves. That's how it's going to go down in the end, anyway. Get off the oil addiction; it's the only reason any of this matters to us.