Writers pay attention to words -- they are the tools of our trade. While watching this week's Republican National Convention, the use of one word in particular struck me as nothing short of nonsensical. John McCain and his supporters insisted time and again that "victory" is in sight in Iraq.
Victory? Just what would a "victory" in Iraq look like? Does anyone seriously think we can impose a democratic form of government on a mideastern nation divided by bitter ethnic rivalries? Anyone suggesting that "victory" in Iraq is possible has long since abandoned any contact with reality. I know that many leading Republicans have a solid financial interest in prolonigng America's presence in Iraq, but that is their problem. There is no justification for the hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives America is pouring into a war where "victory" is not on the list of viable options.
The best that McCain and his fellow Republicans can hope for is for our troops to stay in Iraq indefinitely, propping up a disposable pro-American regime -- much as we have done for the past half century in Korea. Without the supportive presence of US troops, South Korea would long since have disappeared from the map, just as South Vietnam has. The military inductrial establishment in the US may crave yet another endless stationing of US troops, but our natiuon cannot afford it. I am appalled to hear politicians claim that we cannot pay for better schools or the proper care of the sick in the US, while at the same time our nation hurls itself into unthinkable debt to keep Iraq occupied.
I have tremendous respect for McCain's heroism, and understand an old soldier's desire for "victory," but as one refreshingly sane protester pointed out, you cannot win an occupation.