The Problem with War

Via the WaPo, it looks like the 83% of us Americans that think Bush isn't being honest when he talks about Iraq were right.
A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred. ... It is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December. ... Of the total 655,000 estimated "excess deaths," 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study. This is about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country.
In a normal war, deaths are a strategic advantage. They serve to dishearten the population and decrease the infrastructure available to support the enemy army. Look at our behavior in World War II for a panoply of examples. In the setting of that Great War, the bombing of Dresden or Hiroshima and the hundreds of thousands of civilians deaths that were the consequence was an easy strategic decision. By killing so many, we shortened the war and saved the lives of many of our fighting men. The men that decided to inflict those heinous civilian deaths get nothing but cheers from me.

Iraq, though, isn't a normal war. We were never fighting to stop the march of Saddam's armies across the region. We aren't even fighting to disarm Saddam of bona fide threats to America. Iraq is a war built on a bed of sand. It is a war without a cause, so we have fallen back on the only cause available to us: improving the life of Iraqi citizens and thereby replacing a caged adversary with a fledgling friend. The rationale behind the war flips the strategic advantage of high death tolls into a complete negative.

Even if we didn't give a rats-ass about the Iraqi people, we are still fighting a War on Terror - which, if the concept is to make any sense at all, has to have as its goal the decrease of terrorism directed against Americans. These high death tolls are exactly the problem with using "War" to fight the War on Terror. Think of the families of those 655,000 people, and imagine what they think of us. It isn't difficult. As I've said before, they feel exactly as we did on the morning of 9/11.

To decrease the amount of terrorism via "War" is impossible, unless you harbor genocidal aspirations. It is this kind of leadership which guarantees further attacks on Americans, and guarantees our utter failure in the Global War on Terror.

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