13 September 2007

The Pullout

More or Less Effective Militarily Than Contraceptively?

[Immediate digression: Is it just me or does everything concerning the troops in Iraq sound sexual? The Build-up, The Push, The Surge, The Pullout. It is amazing that 100% of healthy, red-blooded American women don’t subliminally support this war.]

Unless you’ve been engaged in sensory deprivation therapy all week you’ve undoubtedly heard/seen/read about the Petraeus Report: Redeploy, don't redeploy, how many, when, etc.

The thing is, if you are truly, madly, deeply passionate – on either side – about troop withdrawal, you probably haven't noticed that one perspective doesn’t get much play by the mainstream media, but it's the scenario that loops through my head every time redeployment is discussed: What about the Iraqis? Not the insurgents, not the militias, not the vacationing government officials, but the citizens. The “you and me” people. What happens to them when we leave?

Let’s all place firm hands on our jerky knees, suspend disbelief and consider this for a moment:

Imagine you are married to an abusive man (gents, the female perspective is the only one I have, so bear with me). You live in fear of this unstable, violent person until one day your friends come over and perform an intervention. And the abusive man leaves – gone for good. You’re happy, right? Thrilled! You love these friends!

The only problem is that during the course of the intervention things got out of hand and your friends tore out all the plumbing and wiring in your house. They also broke down the doors, smashed the windows, and then left. So now you’re sitting there, safe from the vanquished abuser, but in the dark and defenseless against neighborhood thugs.
What do you do?

After a while your friends come back and help you sweep up, but their families (understandably) want them to come home so they leave you to handle the rest of the mess on your own - without an insurance check, FEMA trailer or hot coffee from the Red Cross.
So what do you do?

Sure, you can clean up the place but you aren’t a carpenter and you can’t afford to hire one. And how are you protecting yourself from the looters?
Well? What do you do?

Pretty soon some nice church folks come along and offer assistance. All they ask is that you join their congregation. They’ll help you rebuild, give you a little money, protect you and befriend you – and right about now you feel like you need some new friends. After a while your new BFFs tell you that the congregation is going on a mission trip to recruit new jihadis…er… members, and they ask you to help them. What can you do? Refuse them after all they’ve done for you? They rebuilt your life, after all. So you do as they ask….

Here’s the real rub. Aside from the scenario above, isn’t it very simply the right thing to do to help the mothers, fathers and children whose homes and lives we inadvertently destroyed by our intervention*? Wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Didn’t we all – as a friend says – learn in Sunday school to help others? The Golden Rule doesn’t read, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – except in the Middle East. Screw them.”

I don’t pretend to have answers to this massively complicated situation. Hell, I can barely formulate a coherent opinion. But every once I a while - when my knee begins to jerk – it does me some good to put on someone else’s shoes and walk around for a while.

*And by intervention, of course, I mean Invasion.

Image from America's Heros calendar at: http://www.freedomisnotfree.com/

1 comment:

Country Girl said...

I could have gone a looonnng time without you making me look at this. Age thing. Vietnam. The problem is...and it's the same problem we had 35 years ago...there's no way out. We stay, we lose. We leave, we lose. But hey! The Bush family coffers have been enriched. War does that.