Sunday, October 29, 2006

Midnight Epiphany

Never Ignore a Barking Dog at Night.

I begin with a couple of definitions: Unabridged (v 1.0.1) - Cite This Source
war Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[wawr]
noun, verb, warred, war-ring, adjective
  1. a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air.
  2. a state or period of armed hostility or active military operations: The two nations were at war with each other.
  3. a contest carried on by force of arms, as in a series of battles or campaigns: the War of 1812.
  4. armed fighting, as a science, profession, activity, or art; methods or principles of waging armed conflict: War is the soldier's business.
  5. Archaic. a battle.
–verb (used without object)
  1. to make or carry on war; fight: to war with a neighboring nation.
American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source
oc·cu·pa·tion (ky-pshn) Pronunciation Key Audio pronunciation of "Occupation" [P]
  1. The act or process of holding or possessing a place.
  2. The state of being held or possessed.
  3. Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.
  4. The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.
In Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI), there was very little "war". As a matter of fact, when Bush claimed victory, he characterized it as a mere "battle":
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.
Whether the invasion was a battle or war, it only lasted 42 days, out of the 1,314 total days (to date) we've been there. In other words, we've been engaged in occupation 97% of the duration of Iraquagmire.

Now some people object to the characterization of occupation. Most of the warmongering clique want to elevate Iraquagmire to the "central front in the global war against terror." In fact, it is an occupation.

Even a close blogging friend of mine, whom I hold in high esteem, and with whom I agree 95% of the time, said this:
It is still a war Vigilante. While I agree in a sense, calling it an occupation dishonors the soldiers fighting there . . . . I am nit-picking, but for some reason it is a sore point. An occupation means the occupiers are the government and although we wield a great deal of influence we are not the government.
To which I responded,
Calling it for what it is . . . is not what dishonors our soldiers. Asking our soldiers to maintain an occupation is what is dishonoring and demeaning - of us as a nation.
I hope my friend will not think I am exploiting his words as a foil in a trivial distinction. In fact. this war vs. occupation is not a trivial distinction: it is the central front in the psycholinguistic battle of our time, fought out daily and nightly in our American the media, using language, memes, archetypes, psy-ops, etc.

Take but one example. Two nights ago, Redoct warred with a racoon in my back yard, and I felt compelled to maintain a vigil with (for) him during which I distracted myself by watching CSPAN on my kitchen T.V.

During my first vigil, Karl Rove was speaking at a campaign fund raising party for embattled Tom Reynolds (R-NY). I was immediately struck by what a robust and articulate speaker Rove is - not at all resembling a shadowy, pasty-doughboy image that is often inferred from his treatment in the liberal press. But that impression paled in comparison with the substance of his speech (at least the segment which I watched): it was all WAR. "global war"; "central front in the global war"; "new kind of war", "post 9-11 war"; and most prominently, 'war in Iraq is the most critical issue of this election'. Everything I heard from him was an attempt to elevate the UULUIUOI to the status to WW II's Battle of the Bulge and anoint Bush's global war against "Islamofascism" with some trappings of Churchillian or Rooseveltian gravitas which rightly belongs to The Greatest Generation.

During my second vigil, CSPAN offered up a dialogue with author Mark Steyn, spotlighting his "America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It” on why European and Islamic anti-Americanism threatens to leave America alone. He also writes a column called “Happy Warrior” for the National Review. Steyn also turned out to be big on "Islamofascism" but not at all happy with the new moderate 'strategizing on Iraq' emanating from the White House. It turned out that he was his biggest on the infamous 'flypaper role' for the UULUIUOI. This role is most authoritatively stated by General Ricardo Sanchez,
This is what I would call a terrorist magnet, where America, being present here in Iraq, creates a target of opportunity... But this is exactly where we want to fight them. ...This will prevent the American people from having to go through their attacks back in the United States.
Steyn did not use the term (at least while I was tuned in), but he did boast that during the duration of Iraquagmire,'there had not been a single terrorist attack on American military installations anywhere in the world'.

The main reason why my friend and I find Bush's mission of occupation of Iraq assigned to our military to be ignoble, demeaning, and 'dishonorable' is that our men and women in uniform are not flypaper, but flesh and blood. Secondly, it's counterproductive, producing jihadists at a faster rate than we can kill them. Thirdly, it promises to be endless. Finally, it is criminal and immoral: as the Ramblings of a Lexington Parrothead pointed out months ago, Iraqis never volunteered to serve as hosts to our flypaper picnic.

My point is that in the central psycholinguistic battle of our time, Bush has established and intends to maintain an uninvited, unwanted and interminable occupation in Iraq, not a war. Occupations are not 'won' or 'lost'; they are ended.
Originally published 24-Oct-06