September 6th, 2007

Until We’ve Won

photo credit: geoftheref

Far too often do I hear the argument that our military must remain in Iraq “until we’ve won”. The most recent example occurred last night, with presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee claiming that we “broke Iraq” and have to “fix it”. Those who hold this belief feel that we must “stay the course” and “see it through until the end”.

Such persons fail to ask several basic questions regarding the war, and foreign policy in general, that merit serious discussion (and especially by those in Congress, not just the historians, as Huckabee argued).

Some examples of such questions are:

  • Why are we in Iraq?
  • Is the current reason we’re in Iraq the same as the initial reason offered?
  • Who formulated the plan we’re now following in Iraq? And when?
  • What benchmarks, if any, have there been to track our progress?
  • Have we been told the truth in regards to what is currently taking place in Iraq? If not, who is hiding what?
  • When do we plan on leaving?
  • Why are we building 14 permanent bases in Iraq, one of them bigger than the Vatican?
  • What authority was given for our military intervention? Is it valid? Has the rule of law been respected?
  • Can we afford this war?
  • Is it worth it?
  • Would I be willing to go fight in Iraq myself, or send one of my children? Is it a just war?

This list can no doubt continue. Many of these questions, if not all of them, are ignored by those who push us forward to an invisible end. These people, clamoring for “honor” and “democracy”, seemingly dismiss such important questions, claiming that they no longer matter since we are already there.

Since we are already there, they say, we must “finish the job”. The only problem is, what is the job? We have been given at least nine reasons for the invasion of Iraq. The goals we are now allegedly pursuing are not the same as when we went in. Who is to say that they won’t continue to change, allowing our administration to keep us mired in the middle eastern bog for decades to come?

For all the reasons offered in the past several years, as Representative Ron Paul notes, the argument has been reduced to this: “If we leave now, Iraq will be left in a mess”. We must stay until we’ve won, says the latest soundbyte used by the warmongers.

Allow me to offer an example as to why this “stay until we’ve won” business is so fallacious.

Imagine that you’ve arrived at a distant neighborhood where you see the children playing a game together. You’ve never seen this type of game being played, but you desire to participate. So you jump into the thick of it, not sure what you’re doing. You want to win, but you don’t know what the rules are. You don’t even know what the objective of the game is.

Not only that, but the objective of the game changes on a random basis. You look around, confused, at the other players who understand what is going on and are playing the game, while you proceed to mess things up by getting in the way.

Do you persist, hoping that by some miracle you will indeed win? Do you hope that the rules will remain the same for once and you’ll be able to pursue a solid objective?

No. You cut your losses and leave. You move on to more important things. You get out of the way and observe from a distance. Once you’ve learned the rules of the game, one of the players might invite you to participate. But until that time, you’re to mind your own business.

Such is the case with the current events in the middle east. The neighbors there have been playing a game for centuries, and in comes the arrogant traveler thinking he knows best and understands how to play. Indeed, Dick Cheney had it right in 1994 when he opined that our entry into this real life game of Risk would be a “quagmire”. Truer words were never spoken.

You see, the people who worry about staying until we’ve won—simply because we’re already there—are those who keep plugging holes in the old pipe instead of replacing it. All that leads to is continued problems requiring immediate intervention and patching, thus never solving the larger problem at all.

When a doctor makes an errant diagnosis and prescribes an incorrect treatment, it is quite foolish to claim that the course must be continued simply because it’s already been started. Immediate action must be taken to correct the wrong instead of persisting in error.

We must not stay in Iraq “until we’ve won”, for there are no concrete objectives, there are no solid benchmarks, there are no just reasons for our being there, and there are far too many questions left unanswered by those who propelled us into a preemptive, aggressive invasion of another country.

10 Responses to “Until We’ve Won”

  1. Connor
    September 6, 2007 at 4:19 pm #


    I’ll be leaving shortly for 10 days, and will not have internet access during that time. So, I won’t be commenting (or posting).

    Enjoy the discussion amongst yourselves. 🙂

  2. Bishop Rick
    September 6, 2007 at 4:34 pm #

    Enjoy your wedding trip Connor. Ten days with the love of your life will soon seem like it was ten minutes. You will be very happy and you will also create happiness with your lovely wife. Man was not put on this earth to be alone and I am very happy for both of you. You will be good for one another and I wish you all the best. I forgot what your post was about. I will re-read it.

  3. Curtis
    September 7, 2007 at 12:10 am #

    1)we are in Iraq to control the region’s oil resources and to squelch any challenge to our hegemony.

    2)No. We lied about the initial reason. It helps to have an obedient media and a population that doesn’t read past the sports page.

    3)Gotta think that the Project for a New American Century had a lot to do with it.

    4)We’re apparently trying to kill more people than we did in Vietnam. We are only halfway there.

    5)The truth has never been told about Iraq… for decades now.

    6)Stop being so darn pesky. When we finish the job man! What job? Killing more than we did in Vietnam!

    7)We are the world’s great imperial power. It wouldn’t do to have a base smaller than the Vatican now would it?

    8)The only laws we need to go by are the gut feelings induced by testosterone in Cheney’s and Bush’s head. War of agression crimes and international law… just gets in the way.

    9)Sure we can afford this war. We just need to stop funding for non-essential things like education, soldier’s salaries and medical care etc. We’re the richest country in the world and this war is helping our military to reach the ominous “full spectrum dominance” envisioned by the authors of the Project for a New American Century.

    10)You darn rights it is. Now every piss-ant democracy should be peeing their pants. We can do as we please when there is no challenge to our military dominance.

    11)I’d send your kids but not mine. Who cares if it is just?

  4. Josh Williams
    September 10, 2007 at 11:07 pm #

    Socrates the philosopher, would often play the character of a senile, ignorant old man, and would pose a series of ridiculously simple (but very perceptive) questions. Nevertheless his opponents would be at a loss to answer him, because his questions cut to the heart of their underlying falulty assumptions and logic.

    It’s no wonder they had him poisoned; asking simple questions can have great power.

    His credo and method of “I know nothing”, can be used not only to expose fallacious and misleading statements, but also to teach.

    Often, the value in any statement or principle, lies not in the questions that it answers, but those questions that it creates.

    Congratulations on the wedding. Have fun on you honeymoon, drive safe, and good luck!

  5. Doug Bayless
    September 11, 2007 at 9:20 am #


    Excellent post as always. After the recent GOP debates I wanted to write about how much it reminded me of a high school pep rally where [almost] all the candidates were so gung-ho about how our team could beat anybody anywhere for whatever reasons we chose.

    It seemed only Ron Paul (who actually loves his alma mater enough to speak the truth) was pointing out that sending our Football team in full Football gear into the opponents swimming pool for a water polo game just wasn’t working. Kicking a field goal just doesn’t score points in water polo. No matter how good our football team is (and how impressive it was to do that from the middle of the pool). We can cheer and we can ‘stay the course’ but it won’t magically produce a “W” until we assess the situation for what it is and do some things different.

    But then I read your post and you put it more eloquently and concisely.

    I wish your questions could be considered and discussed more widely. As the previous poster noted, they are indeed simple yet powerful.

    Thanks for asking them!

  6. Doug Bayless
    September 11, 2007 at 9:21 am #

    Oh yeah and congrats! and best wishes to the both of you! :]

  7. David
    September 25, 2007 at 9:12 pm #

    There’s nothing wrong with the questions you listed, but as with every other problem we face there is ultimately only one question to answer – what’s the best way forward from here?

    The value in all other questions is found only if they help us get the right answer to that preeminent question.

    This is where I diverge from you and other followers of Ron Paul – I don;t think he has the right answer to “what’s the best way forward?” I do think he is providing a crucial service by reminding us of how wilfully blind we were to charge into this mess.

  8. Jay
    September 25, 2007 at 10:06 pm #

    What would a “win” in Iraq look like?


  9. Kelly Winterton
    September 26, 2007 at 10:37 am #

    A “win” in Iraq means that all Iraqis all become serfs/slaves, yielding up to us all their oil. The Iraqi “government” would be totally compliant to U.S. wishes and control. The media portrays all Iraqis as content and satisfied.

  10. Jay
    September 27, 2007 at 5:43 am #

    So they want Iraq to become sorta like us?


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