I just had a realization. This isn't terribly flushed out, so I don't mind comments to the contrary. Please be sure to justify them, though. I'm jotting it down here so I don't forget about it, and because it falls nicely under slashdot paranoia.
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Back when the Iraq war started, I was dismayed at how utterly political the event was made. By political, in this context, I mean that the war itself was/is used as a playing piece in the Democrat vs. Republican power struggle game. I thought to myself "this is absurd, these are peoples lives that are being played with".
I'm particularly dismayed by the Democrats. They profit most from having a second Vietnam, so that's how this war is being portrayed. It's easy to say that Sadam had no WMDs (let's forget about all the chemical weapons we found, that were barely reported). The more casualties we have, the better. The more savage and reckless our troops, the better. The more the war is mismanaged, the better. The more innocent people die, the better. The more we push for a Vietnam style withdraw (read defeat), the better. Is it any wonder that these are the things that keep winding up in the news? We tend to hear only about the major US victories, and all the defeats (major and minor).
The Republicans AND the white house have not been above reproach either. This war has cost more and gone longer than it should have. The American people can feel this. Never mind how it might be going right now. Most Americans falsely expected a very short occupation. To those people, this war seems to have gone on forever indeed. I still don't know if the white house lied in order to enter the war. I wouldn't put it past them, but I really don't want to accuse them of it either. That would be extremely low to stoop. Yes, there were people who should have known that they were using bad intel. Yet, the Democrats keep screaming that the White House should have some psychic ability to know things like this. They have yet to show the smoking gun that the white house lied when recommending war. That does not keep them from saying so, though. It's good for them politically if they do. If the white house didn't lie, well then the congress would have to take most of the blame for declaring war (including the democrats/Hilary; that was their job, not the white house).
Further, this keeps getting termed a "conflict" because congress never "declared" war. Any so-called-journalist who says that should be fired. Congress did authorize the use of force.
Blood by any other name runs just as red.
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In that light, I realized some of the future implications that this might have. Americans wont want to go to war unless there has been an attack on American soil... Wait a moment... didn't that just happen? Yep, you guessed it. It will be hard to get America to go to war now even IF there has been an attack on American soil. Whether intentionally or not, we are being conditioned to avoid war at whatever cost. If the cost of avoiding war is a worse war later, we'll gladly pay it.
Presuming world war three rolls around at some point, it seems likely that the US will respond in much the same way it did in WW2. It will shove it's head in the sand for as long as possible. The next hitler will have an easier time getting a foothold and it will be a drawn out and bloody war to remove him. It will be much worse precisely because we wont get involved when we need to.
Israel is pretty well sunk. If worse comes to worst, they're on their own. The US isn't capable of going to war on their side. At best, we'll provide them with equipment. There's not a chance that we'll provide them with an army.
If we don't "win" in Iraq, these problems will only be worse. A loss there will almost entirely neutralize our armed forces. Consciously or not, that's what we're really fighting for here.