Before I get into an impressive op-ed piece on Iraq, allow me to remind you of my buddy Jeff Wilfahrt, someone who you should get to know:
We've been on the radio together and we continue to email back and forth. He is never at a loss for providing unique insight and commentary on the frustrating events of the day. That's him above, holding a photo of his son. You can read about the remarkable Wilfahrts, and watch them on The Rachel Maddow Show, by following the links above.
That image came to mind when I read an op-ed by Joseph J. Ellis in today's Los Angeles Times. Ellis is a professor of history at Williams College and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation," among other books. He starts of his piece with his explanation of how the U.S. goes to war:
The triggering event is often a sudden crisis that galvanizes popular opinion and becomes the immediate occasion for military intervention but subsequently is exposed as a misguided perception or outright fabrication.
He then goes on to chronicle war after war that prove his point, including the Iraq War:
[T]he dark shadow of 9/11 hung ominously over all deliberations in that moment, so the CIA bent the arc of the evidence to fit the fabrication, a cowed Congress went along and the bulk of the American media endorsed the deception. Dissent became unfashionable.
Ellis points out how we erroneously decided to pursue "the creation of a democratic government in the middle of the Middle East." That move, along with all that deception by BushCo and a very accommodating press, caused many of us non-believers to do this:
And all those political and journalistic pundits who got it dead wrong the first time around, and who now blame President Obama for failing to maintain a residual U.S. military presence in Iraq, need to be called on their credibility. For they fundamentally underestimated the tribal, ethnic and religious loyalties that dominate the Middle East and that make any Jeffersonian version of a secular state in Iraq impossible for the foreseeable future... In truth, there is no such thing as the Iraqi people.
He then comments on the commentators, a pastime we apparently we have in common. Their focus, he says, is on damage control. And that is a "hubristic assumption" that got us into this hot mess in the first place. We created a catastrophe a BushCo ago, and there was no way, and is no way, to regain what we never had: control.
Ellis drives home the point that "permanent U.S. military presence will only further empower the Islamic extremists in the ensuing conflict."
That has already happened. To quote Jeff from the image at the top, "...Let us try using books, pens, and paper instead of just guns. Bring the living home, the dead are already here."