Thursday, January 04, 2007

Amen, Brother Herbert

From Bob Herbert's Thursday column in the NYTimes, Another Thousand Lives (fully available behind the Times Select firewall):
The war has been an exercise in futility and mind-boggling incompetence, and yet our involvement continues — with no end in sight, no plans for withdrawal, no idea of where we might be headed — as if the U.S. had fallen into some kind of bizarrely destructive trance from which it is unable to awaken.

And who is paying the price for this insanity — apart from ordinary Iraqis, who are paying the most grievous price of all? The burden of the war in the U.S. is being shouldered overwhelmingly by a contingent of Americans whom no one would categorize as economically privileged.

As Lizette Alvarez and Andrew Lehren wrote in Monday’s Times:

“The service members who died during this latest period fit an unchanging profile. They were mostly white men from rural areas, soldiers so young they still held fresh memories of high school football heroics and teenage escapades. Many men and women were in Iraq for the second or third time. Some were going on their fourth, fifth or sixth deployment.”

There is no way that this can be justified. It is just wrong.

I’ve said many times that if a war is worth fighting the way to do it is to mobilize the entire country, drawing the warriors from as wide a swath of the population as possible and raising taxes on everyone as part of an all-out effort to defeat a common enemy.

This war is not worth fighting. And if there were ever serious talk about enacting a draft or raising taxes to fight it, you’d see quickly enough that the vast majority of Americans would not find it worth fighting.


All of the tortured, twisted rationales for this war — all of the fatuous intellectual pyrotechnics dreamed up to justify it — have vaporized, and we’re left with just the mad, mindless, meaningless and apparently endless slaughter.

Shakespeare, in “Henry VI,” said: “Now thou art come unto a feast of death.”

We should end our participation in the feast of death in Iraq. It is criminal to continue feeding our troops into the slaughter.

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