This piece in Common Dreams has got me to thinking. "Anti-war Activists Split over Obama's Troop Plans" say the headlines. Well, count me as one of those split anti-war dudes. It should be apparent to anyone who actually checks in here on occasion that I'm a dangerous radical on lots of matters, but probably no more so than on the matter of peace and war. My position is easy to understand. I'm against war in any form. There's no rational justification for any war. Period. I'm especially against war being waged by my own country. And when the war is something that's been perpetrated by that vile little nitwit pretender in the White House, my opposition knows no bounds.
My plan for ending the war is also simple: start landing big ole airliners in Baghdad right now, fill them up with troops, and fly off. Continue night and day until there's not a single American solider, airman, or marine in Iraq. Do the same thing in Afganistan. (I told you I was a radical nut.)
Why are all those troops there? Well, it's the war on terror, right, class? Everybody, and I cannot think of any exceptions--let me know if you can--talks about the "war on terror" as if such a thing were a) actually possible and b) extant. But Wikipedia also has a fine piece on why such a thing as a war on terror cannot exist because terror is an abstract noun. "Terror cannot be destroyed by weapons or signing a peace treaty. A war on terror has no end." But this war without end is why we've got thousands of troops in Afganistan and Iraq. Got that?
Like the "war on drugs" and the "war on poverty," "war on terror" has that testosterone ring about it that disquises the fact that these phrases have no practical meaning. They're Madison Avenue slogans. They sound useful in the mouths of politicians with agendas. That's all. But they fool a lot of people into thinking they actually mean something that you can wrap a meaning around. Take a look at the tortured graphics on the Wikipedia site cited above with its lists of belligerents, casualties, commanders, and campaigns--just like this was World War II or the Civil War with all those set battles you can lay down on maps.
So to answer my original question: the troops are in Iraq because it suited George Bush to start this accursed war. We can speculate what his little pea-brain conjured up as reasons, but it's safe to assume he agreed with Mr. Cheney and his cronies in the oil business that Iraq's oil would be a good thing for them to have. That's why those troops are there.
And so now I'm reading that Obama is talking about leaving a "residual force" of 50,000 troops in Iraq. That's 50,000 of our young men and women in Iraq and beefing up our people in Afganistan by another 10,000 or so.
HELL, NO! I say. A thousand hell noes. The more that our favorite African-American running for president settles into the role of "being presidential," the further he drifts from the ideals that seemed so conspicuous when he didn't yet have the nomination locked up. This guy cannot be all things to all people despite what his high-priced handlers are coaching him to say and do. Hell, a three-legged goat with blue eyes could beat McCain in this political season. So why in the name of hell don't the Democrats run on an all-out progressive platform? Why this damn trimming of ideas that actually promised to bring about some change? How does the Obama slogan go? "Change You Can Believe In"? Well, count me out on anything that prolongs this war, even if Obama's paws are all over the plan. . . this is change I can't believe in.