Saturday, November 25, 2006

Milestones - numbers - piss poor performance

It's been 1349 days since the United States invaded Iraq. Today, the war in Iraq rages on, killing Iraqis and Americans on a daily basis, some in unbelievable numbers, despite what George W. Bush said on May 1st, 2003. (He never said, "Mission Accomplished". That was the wording of the massive sign behind him.)

The 2nd World War lasted 1348 days for the United States, starting with the bombing of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor December 7th, 1941 and ending with the Japanese surrender on August 15th, 1945. One day less than the current fiasco in Iraq which has no end in sight.

The War On Terror™, which self-defines as a war on a dictionary word, has now lasted for 1902 days. Unfortunately it includes the entanglement in Afghanistan, which involves well over 30 countries in one form or another, and for which no solution is visible on the chronological horizon.

Canada's period of hostilities in the 2nd World War lasted 2167 days. In 265 days, Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan will exceed that of WWII.

The US involvement in Vietnam is difficult to peg. American advisors were present in South Viet Nam from 1950. In 1956 the US took over responsibility for training the South Vietnamese army. It was on July 27th, 1964, however that the first mass deployment of troops took place, followed shortly afterwards by the Gulf of Tonkin incident. From that date until the last US military personnel departed Vietnam on April 30th, 1975, American involvement in Vietnam spanned 3930 days.

And what have we accomplished?

I ask that because I cannot produce a definitive answer. The only thing I do know is that we, the partners in this military adventure in southwest Asia, can see no end in sight.

This world is at great risk of becoming permanently involved in a continuing war for which the original purpose is lost in the annals of fading memory. It's probably already happened and we have not yet figured it out.

When war lasts for too long it develops a life of its own. When the original purpose is lost, the perpetuation of the war requires fuel: people and weapons and, above all, reasons.

This Global War on Terror is one hungry sonofabitch. Too bad the reasons are like feeding it unbuttered popcorn.

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