June 1, 2004

Keep digging, boys!

Ricardo Sanchez, the soon-to-be-replaced lieutenant general in charge of the U.S. military escapade in Iraq, addressed his troops on Memorial Day, telling them they must keep at whatever they are told to do, however futile, counterproductive, or criminal, so that those who have already been killed doing so will not have died in vain.

It's a bit late for qualms of vanity when the whole enterprise was "in vain" from the start. Remember the looting in Baghdad a year ago? Hospitals, schools, power plants, museums, libraries, government buildings were decimated because the mission of the invading troops was to secure only the oil and interior ministries. Now the dimwits who planned it all are starting to realize there's more to occupying a country than securing Halliburton contracts.

But it's too late. A giant hole has been dug where once was an organized modern society. It was headed by a despicable tyrant, but below him was a fully functioning government. Saddam is gone. Now we too need to leave -- not to keep digging. Rather than keep paying $200 billion a year to continue occupying (sorry -- "providing security for") the country, we should pay for what we've broken and leave Iraq to the Iraqis. That might start to redeem the dead.

The only justice, however, for the dead and maimed on both sides would be to put the man who would be king and his Richelieu -- George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney -- into prison for the rest of their lives.