09 November 2006

War is problem-solving

Listening to Laura Ingraham and Brit Hume. Hume says that when he interviewed Nancy Pelosi recently she said that Iraq was not a war to be won, but a problem to be solved. Like any other typical bloviating politician she probably thinks she has said something profound by making war and problem-solving somehow antithetical to each other. She does so, of course, by over-looking the fact that sometimes war is problem-solving. (Reminds me of a great line from the movie, Blackhawk Down: In Mogadishu, killing is negotiation.)

The Romans solved a great deal of problems by utterly defeating the Carthaginians. About 225 years ago a bunch of "farmers with pitch-forks" defeated the British Empire, solving a whole host of problems (listed for posterity on a piece of paper called The Declaration of Independence, perhaps you've heard of it). About 84 years after that the decendants of those pitch-fork bearing farmers concluded a 'civil' war which resulted in freedom for slaves and solved a certain legal-philosophical problem related to the concept of federalism. About 61 years ago one coalition of nations, called the "Allies", defeated another coalition of nations, called the "Axis" and thereby (arguably) saved at least Europe from darkness.

That's just a short list of the sorts of problems that war can and has solved. Much could be written, but this is a blog, not a book.

Besides, even if we wanted to accept the proposition that Iraq is a 'problem' to be 'solved', I think we have also to accept that spewing forth, "Iraq is a problem to be solved" doesn't tell us anything about the problem. It would be more correct to say something like, "Something about Iraq is a problem."

But what is that problem? It used to be that a terrorist supporting dictator ruled there. Now he doesn't. Now a democratic government is struggling for survival with help from a coalition of which the United States are a part. The problem now seems to be that the sort of people against whom a war was declared (i.e., terrorists) have decided that Iraq is the central focus of their terrorist attention. They seem to have decided that getting the coalition to leave Iraq will be just as much a victory (if not, perhaps, greater) as any other victory terrorists have gained against us, you know, like the destruction of the World Trade Center, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole (12 October 2000), the U.S. Embassy bombings (7 August 1998), Khobar Towers (25 June 1996), the World Trade Center bombing (26 February 1993), the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland (21 December 1988), the 5 April 1986 bombing of the La Belle discotheque in Berlin (This was long a personal 'favorite' of mine since it was two days before my 21st birthday, I was stationed in Germany at the time, and planning a trip to Berlin and, given my habits at the time, might have ended up partying there had the place not been bombed.), Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon (23 October 1983), the U.S. Embassy bombing in Beirut, Lebanon (18 April 1983).

Hmmmmm. How best to solve that problem?


About Me

James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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