///So, I figured, what could possibly be more interesting than my super-awesome take on the war in Iraq?
///I’ve come to the conclusion that the U.S. took the single most painful route possible when dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of taking any of the satisfactory paths (Ignore, Rebuild, Destroy), we took a middle route. Half our actions have been undercut by the other half. For instance, we have destroyed their means of war production; this has reduced the well being of the populace, increasing the chance of a future war. We have set our sights on destroying terrorists; our ruthless approach has only produced bastard sons who swear to avenge their fathers. We killed the most critical terrorist figure; he wasn’t important anymore, and the dishonorable way in which he was killed has severely reduced U.S. image. We overthrew a dictator for the good of the people; only by killing tens of thousands. In short, we have wasted billions of dollars and thousands of lives to shift terrorism a generation. Or, more specifically, we’ve allowed them to cause more damage than otherwise, and produced a threat that possibly outstrips the former threat.
///The first option would have been to ignore the situation. Increased security post 911, coupled with tough sanctions towards select nations, and possibly a limited bombing campaign (mostly to damage national prestige). This implies that the U.S. did not see an opportunity to step in, and would have waited for domestic turbulence to intervene. At the most extreme end of this path lay an eventual coup-de-tat to remove Saddam Hussein from power. This option is actually rather appealing, and would have been the likely option if anyone but Cheney was president at the time.
///The second option was to invade the respective nations, carefully planning each step with particular care given to the sociopolitical situation. Stricter rules of engagement, temporarily avoiding populated areas, and better propaganda would have set the tone for a just occupation. Also, deploying all-men units (understandably, it’s considered weak and uncouth to have women fight your battles), economic aid, and punishing soldiers for crimes (they don’t necessarily have to have been guilty. The movement of an entire nation is worth more than a life.), and face to face relations (neat trick from capitalist society. Amorphous corporations will steal the face of their workers to appear more… good.) would have improved our reputation as the good guys. Later on, this would morph into a late-German colonialism which would entail extreme costs to the United States, but good long-term prospects, even political leverage over the entire region. This, however, would entail a foreign commitment lasting the better part of a generation and extreme cost.
///The last option would be to destroy, beyond any hope of future danger, the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. I presume I don’t have to explain this. This is the classical approach, occasionally works, and would have been entirely impossible.
///It’s also important to note that the war has had positive effects worth considering. European kings would sometimes start wars without aiming for any physical gain. They would send their men to battle, simply to keep them prepared for battle. Now, this was very foolish, mostly because they brought the soldiers brought home with them a lot of headaches and beheadings. So, one must remember that America currently has the world’s most elite army- though not necessarily the strongest. Experienced officers, improved tactics, the need for a standing army, all these will help in any wars in the next decades.
/// Another positive side effect- numerous breakthroughs in treating our soldiers. Advanced prosthetics, developed organizations, and even early breakthroughs in treating PTSD. As from any war, technology has grown by leaps.
///There’s also a possibility that we might learn from this war, and take more appropriate action, at least for a while.
///I’d like to say, in closing, that we’ve caused such damage because we viewed terrorism as just another nail. We believe that we can simply beat it down. In truth, violence like this results from misfortune and misunderstanding, and our methods have not addressed this. We should devote ourselves to ridding ourselves of these, and not merely the men who embody them. Each of my solutions takes this concept, and applies it. Reconstruction is the process of ridding dissatisfaction. Destruction is the process of ridding the possibility of dissatisfaction. Isolation is the process of waiting for an opportunity to do either of the above.