Thursday, December 15, 2011

An unnecessary war ends

The government is today marking the official end of the Iraqi war. The unnecessary war. The war built on a lie and the swaggering hubris of a small group of small men who had never been to war and had no appreciation or understanding of its costs. In this case, the costs were thousands, perhaps more than a million, dead and many thousands more maimed. Lives ruined that can never be recalled or repaired. A country torn down to build up the egos of those small, swaggering men.

And through it all, the men who fomented that war could never even give the country they were destroying the respect of calling it by its correct name. To them the country would always be "eye-rack." They taught a generation of young Americans to call the country - the correct name of which is "ear-rock" - by this spurious, insulting name. It's only one example but it bespeaks the attitude of these despicable chickenhawks, and gives an indication of why many people in that part of the world hate the United States. Language matters, and, whatever else his faults and weaknesses may be, I'm happy that we have a president who understands that and gives peoples and cultures the respect to which they are entitled.

It's easy enough to start a war if you are determined to do so. It is not so easy to stop it. This one dragged on for more than eight years before a different kind of president - a non-swaggerer, non-boaster - was able to stop it, not with a tall, gaudy banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished!" but with quiet ceremonies thanking and honoring the lives of those who have served.

There's still that other war that drags on. Afghanistan. It was a necessary war in the beginning, but now it has dragged on beyond all reason. The longest war this country has ever fought. There is a plan in place for ending it as well, but even if that timetable is sped up, it can't be soon enough. The time to end it was yesterday. Last year. Five years ago.

Nevertheless, today one war ended and American troops are being pulled from the field and sent home or to other posts. One unnecessary war has ended. That is cause for rejoicing.

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