In front of TV cameras, Pentagon officials do their best to make war sound wise and noble. Most of all, they lie.
Sometimes they do it with bold assertions, other times with intentionally tangled syntax. But those who give the orders that consign young soldiers to participation in horror must assure the folks back home that all the carnage is under control. The officials strive to project an aura of calm about the unspeakable; they mumble cliches about grief that cannot touch it.
For the most powerful war-makers in Washington, the most dangerous potential enemies are the citizens of the United States who might insist on an end to taxpayer subsidies for mass slaughter. To forestall such a calamity, officials proclaim endlessly that the war's worst days have passed and the future looks increasingly bright for the ravaged land and for the freedom-loving invaders whose invasion has ravaged it.
These kinds of statements may seem like mere pep talks or, in retrospect, miscalculations. But they're integral to the war-making process - continually speaking of light that's just over the horizon, while corpses pile up in grisly shadows alongside the lies that keep a war going on top of the lies that got it started.
Washington's warriors insist that Iraq is not Vietnam. Any geographer would certainly agree. But imperial wars share similar characteristics - including the profound fact that the people who live in a country are more committed to it than the invaders are. This war can't be won for reasons that have everything to do with why it's wrong. The occupiers are on the lowest moral ground. No amount of fake optimism in Washington can change such realities in Iraq.
The last paragraph applies here at home as well, I think. This time, however, the "occupiers" are the Bush administration, the Republican Congress, Big Corpora, and the christo-fascist whackjobs. Their "moral ground" is the lowest ever.
I am proud, but saddened, that this time WE get to be the Viet Cong.