Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thoughts on the Futility of Intentions

I was reflecting on the death of HM2 Cesar Baez who died on June 15th from small arms fire in al-Anbar Province in Iraq. Doc Baez was already 37, but just starting his life.My last little stint with the Marines was in 1981 at the tender age of 34, and they damn near wore me out. Almost all of my time in the Navy was with the Navy, and we didn't typically do 25 milers. I left the Navy to go finish college at 38.
There is an odd mix of feelings. I miss it. I miss the life. I miss the sense of purpose. I miss the brotherhood.
I do not believe in Bush's wars. When a guy plots to fly planes into buildings you hunt him to the ends of the earth and you take him out... and if he has any friends then you take them out, too. He's a mass-murdering criminal. I guess that would define me as a liberal by Karl Rove's standards.
In past years the U.S. invested a lot in support of equipping and training Afghans in resistance to a puppet regime supported by the Soviets. Apparently Dubya missed all that because his first (mis)step in the "Global War on Terror" was to commit our forces to support of a puppet regime in Afghanistan. Somehow Osama bin Laden survived that, but the President said that didn't matter because bin Laden was pretty much out of action.
After that we allegedly needed to take out Saddam Hussein. He did or did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction (it turns out that it didn't matter if he did or not), and he did or did not support bin Laden and al Qaeda (it turns out that it didn't matter if he did or not), but he absolutely did some fairly terrible stuff to his own people during the time he was enjoying substantial U.S. support during our stand-off with the Ayatollahs in Iran. It wasn't that we cannot abide a dictator because obviously we can, but he wasn't our kind of dictator... not anymore anyway.
Guys talk about the good that's coming from our presence. I'll give them that. It doesn't justify the war, but the troops are giving it their all. Who wouldn't try to scrounge up some candy or a stuffed toy for a scruffy little street kid? Who wouldn't pitch in to help dig out a well or rebuild a school? It is practically a given that every man and woman over there is committed to the success of their mission. The problem isn't that the troops aren't doing their best. The problem is that we can't succeed.
It'll be a pretty good day for the Afghans and the Iraqis if they can get back to a peaceful night's sleep in their own beds without fear, but if that happens... and I pray that it does... it won't be because we were there. It will be because they overcame it. They are waiting for us to leave... in a year or ten years or a hundred years... and then everyone we installed into power will be in for a fight for their lives as the Kurds try to establish their Kurdish state and Afghans and Iraqis do whatever it is they will wind up doing with their countries after we're gone.
So how sick is it that I'd pick up and go tomorrow if they identified a billet for a 58-year old HMC with a gimpy leg and prostate cancer?

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