Dave Thul, an occasional commenter here at the Stool and persistent letter writer to the Strib, had another one in the paper today:
Iran is the enemy. Can someone please explain the ISG's recommendation to include Iran in fostering stability in Iraq? Some of the IEDs my soldiers and I are dodging on Iraqi roads are coming from Iran. Iran is publicly calling on all Arabs to kick the United States out of Iraq. The Iranians are helping people who are trying to kill American soldiers, and we should ask them for help? SGT. DAVE THUL, AL ASAD, IRAQ
That's a good question, Dave, and Spot imagines that you ask it with some emotion. Spot would.
Wars end in one of two way: the total surrender of one side or the other, or by a negotiated peace. Spot read somewhere that the war against the Sunni insurgents in Anbar Province--where Dave is--was already lost. And the trend line in the rest of the country is not good either. Unless we re-instutute the draft, which we now know that Congressman John Kline is unalterably opposed to, and remake a lot of attitudes about the war around here, the reality is that we cannot or will not mount an effort necessary to achieve the total surrender of the insurgents in Iraq. The current war effort could ultimately cost a trillion dollars and it is driving us into bankruptcy according to the Comptroller of the Currency. [no link, sorry]
So, that leaves negotiation. When you negotiate with anybody over just about anything, you have to talk to people that you probably don't like, and who don't like you. The alternative to talking to them is to continue on a path that isn't getting anywhere. We have seen where not talking to the Palestinians, the Iranians, and the North Koreans has gotten us; it certainly isn't to a safer place.
Spot walks on touchy ground now. There is a natural human tendency--especially strong in a soldier who has experienced it first hand--to say that we must continue and win to honor the sacrifices already made. By as Richard Clarke said recently [again no link], what has happened before, including the loss of life to-date, is in bloodless economic terms "sunk cost." In other words, you make decisions about future expenditure of blood and treasure by looking foward, not backward.