I got this newsletter from Alan Grayon, an ex-Congressman from Orlando, Florida who is running for re-election. I thought this was great – all of his missives are good, but this one was one of my favorites. I hope he wins.
A few days ago, Governor Perry said: “I would send troops back into Iraq.” (He pronounced it “Eye-rack.”) And he gave a thought-provoking rationale: that the end of that occupation means that “every young man that [sic] lost his life in that country will have been for nothing.”
Well, I would like to do what Albert Einstein called a “thought experiment,” which is thinking through a hypothetical situation in order to examine its consequences.
Suppose, hypothetically, that there were a country in the Western Hemisphere called “Amurricuh,” and a country in the Middle East called “Irab.” Lots of Irabs live in Irab.
Suppose, hypothetically, that a terrorist group destroys two very large buildings in Amurricuh, and kills a couple of thousand Amurricuns in the process. Suppose, also, that the leaders of that group reside not in Irab, but rather (with apologies to Herman Cain) in “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.” (Yes, this man once led in the polls to become the Republican candidate for President.) Suppose that less than 1000 Special Forces Amurricun troops overthrow the government of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, and then force the leaders of that terrorist group out of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan. But not to Irab; to a totally different country called “Mohenjo-Daro.”
Are you still with me? Now this hypothetical gets really complicated. Suppose that the leader of Amurricuh believes, regarding the leader of Irab, that “he tried to kill my Daddy.” Real revenge stuff, like something out of “The Godfather.” Anyway, let’s suppose that the leader of Amurricuh then tries to stir his people up against the leader of Irab by saying that the leader of Irab supported the terrorists who destroyed those two large buildings. (A little irony here — the leader of the terrorists always refers to the leader of Irab as “the infidel,” and is, in fact, his sworn and lifelong enemy.) Let’s also suppose that the leader of Amurricuh claims that the leader of Irab is planning to attack more large buildings in Amurricuh, with a fleet of giant dirigibles filled with hydrogen. “We can’t let the smoking gun be a smoking balloon,” his national security chief says. (Hypothetically, an oil company named Chev-Ron named an oil tanker after her, but that is neither here nor there.) Suppose that Amurricuh’s Minister of “Defense” says that an invasion of Irab will pay for itself, and that Irabs will greet Amurricun soldiers as liberators.
I know that this is really farfetched. But just suppose.
OK, so Amurricun forces invade Irab, and overthrow the leader of Irab. They capture him, and he is executed. But suppose that the Irabi government collapses in the process, that certain groups use this occupation as an excuse for ethnic cleansing, that approximately 500,000 Irabs die, and two or three million become refugees. Also, no electricity and no clean water for millions of Irabs, for years. Oh, and the Amurricuns tell the Irabs that Irab needs to turn over its oil wealth to foreign oil companies for “development.”
Suppose also that the Amurricun forces find no dirigibles, and no hydrogen. Not even any helium. Like, nothing. And, of course, no evidence that the leader of Irab ever supported the leader of the terrorists, because actually, they despised each other.
Now let’s suppose that for several years, Amurricun soldiers look for dirigibles that aren’t there, which makes them very hard to find, while Irab becomes just as dangerous for Irabs as Somalia is for Somalis. Let’s also suppose that during that time, the war in Irab costs the Amurricun people four trillion frogskins (so called because the currency is green). This is more than 13,000 frogskins per Amurricun, and roughly eight percent of Amurricuh’s net worth as a nation, accumulated over two centuries.
Also, let’s suppose that almost two million Amurricun soldiers eventually get shipped to Irab, and 250,000 return from Irab with permanent brain abnormalities. Hypothetically.
Let’s suppose that the Irabs eventually get their act together, and have an election. And every major party in that Irabi election pledges to get the Amurricun forces out of the country, for the simple reason that Irab has become a shambles since they came. Plus no one likes to have his country occupied by a foreign army, comprising soldiers of foreign races and faiths, who doesn’t speak his language (the language of Irabic). Just suppose.
OK, so the Irabs negotiate an agreement with the Amurricuns, in which the Amurricuns insist on staying for three more years. The Irabs say, “whatever,” but at least they know the Amurricuns are going to leave.
Now let’s suppose that during this three-year waiting period, 100,000 Amurricun soldiers are target practice for IEDs. More deaths, lots and lots of head injuries.
Meanwhile, the leader of a hypothetical country called “France” decides to remove the leader of another hypothetical country called “Libya.” He accomplishes this without landing a single “French” soldier in “Libya.” The total cost of this operation for “France” is 413 million frogskins, WHICH IS LESS THAN THE COST OF THE WAR IN IRAB EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Please excuse the capitalization. I just find hypotheticals incredibly exciting.)
So the Amurricun troops leave, almost nine years after the occupation began. Hypothetically, there is a governor of a rather large Southern state who wants to be President of the Confederacy, but finds out that it is 150 years too late for that. His name is Governor Cretin. (That’s pronounced “Creh-Teen,” with a Southern drawl. And it’s really wrong of you to make fun of his good family name.) Governor Cretin says that God has told him to run for President of Amurricah, but he never says which aspect of God – the Father, the Son, or . . . what’s that third one? Oops.
Now let’s suppose that Governor Cretin is in a Presidential debate, and he says that Amurricuh must re-invade Irab. Governor Cretin ignores all lies about how Irab helped the terrorists attack Amurricuh; the dirigibles that weren’t there; the Irabs who died, were injured, or lost their homes; the enormous expense of the occupation; the terrible effect it had on Amurricuh’s reputation in the world; and the rather unflattering comparison to what “France” was able to accomplish for microscopically less in money and blood. Forgetting all of that, he says that we must throw good lives after bad, because if not, then all of those earlier deaths “will have been for nothing.”
And that is the sad, sad conclusion of this thought experiment. Maybe they were lost for nothing. Maybe they were.