Gagflex: The War Against Hyperbole

A couple of useless words that have been tossed around since this fiasco in Iraq began are “win” and “defeat.” Let me attempt to clear the air here. We are not going to win in Iraq, and we are not going to defeat terrorism.

That may sound a bit cynical, but those words are roadblocks to any sensible action for both situations. The new Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, believes we are losing the war. Sen. John McCain believes we have to send in more troops to win, and President Bush believes we have to stay in Iraq to defeat terrorism.

If you attempt to define what a win in Iraq is, your head might start spinning. Usually, a victory in war is fairly easy to define. In World War II, Germany and Japan surrendered. That’s a clear cut victory. A win in Vietnam would have meant controlling North Vietnam, and since Vietnam is officially called the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, it can be concluded that we didn’t win.

So far, we’ve defeated the Iraqi army and removed Saddam Hussein from power. Yet, we can’t claim victory. Our troops are still getting killed. Iraq is in the midst of a civil war that our president refuses to acknowledge, and money is being sucked out of our country by the billions.

Oh yeah, and there’s also that sectarian violence that Bush always refers to.

There’s no winning in that. Too many people have died and too many people have suffered for either side to be able to be able to say they are winning. And even if the other side could claim that they were winning, I’m not so sure anyone would notice because there’s confusion as to who the other side actually is. When President Bush starts spouting about winning the war in Iraq, I just wish one reporter would ask him what winning would entail. Do we get a toaster if we win?

This isn’t about winning a war; this is about stabilizing chaos that we’ve created. And that also might be out of the question.

The same goes for the war on terrorism. How exactly do you win a war on terrorism? You have to question whether when Bush says that we are going to win the war on terrorism, is he saying that we are going to wipe out all terrorists. Surely he’s not saying that, because that would be something an unhinged lunatic might say. We will continue to fight and foil terrorist plots, but terrorism, like ignorance, apathy and anger, will always exist.

How can an administration set goals when they can’t even talk about situations in realistic terms, when they can’t even admit that there’s a civil war going on in Iraq that we are partially responsible for? It’s obvious that most political lingo is designed for talking points in the media, but it would be nice if those points weren’t derived from that land of Batman, Spiderman and Unicorns.



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