Goodbye and Good Luck

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If I were an American soldier in Iraq, I’d be tempted mightily to say, "Good luck and goodbye," and then start for home. I can’t see losing even one more soldier in a war over a country in which 99.9 percent of the American people have no interest.

Iraq had no effect on the American people before President Bush’s illegal invasion of it. It has no effect on us now, unless you have loved ones being fed into the meat grinder that is making futility sausage. What possible difference does it make to us who rules Iraq?

As a matter of fact, we should not only pull all of our troops out of Iraq, but also withdraw them from Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and anywhere else they happen to be in the Middle East. If our leaders had the brains to do this, they would discover that the people in that part of the world are quite capable of running their own affairs.

Some of them might kill each other, but eventually things would settle down. It is, after all, one of the oldest civilizations in the world. In the meantime, no one in that part of the world could use us as an excuse for doing anything, and it wouldn’t be our guys who are getting killed.

I would also pull out of Afghanistan and say to the government, the Taliban and al-Qaida, you fellows work this out among yourselves, because frankly we don’t give a damn. Your hardscrabble country isn’t worth 10 bucks, much less the billions we’ve spent on it. If you need water, dig a well; if you need food, grow it. Goodbye and good luck.

The American people have been conned into accepting the idea of an empire, when there is no need for one. Wherever there is oil, it will be available for sale because it is otherwise worthless, and why should we care from whom we buy it? Some of the worst people in the world are sitting on big oil reserves, and you know what? Their oil burns just as well as anybody else’s.

The imperialists have created the illusion that we are in control of the world and if we weren’t, everything would fall apart. That’s not true. First of all, we are not in control of the world. Secondly, we are not the world’s only remaining superpower. We could not whip China or Russia in an all-out war — probably not even Iran.

It’s true that we have a lot of fancy weapons, but we bought them all on credit, and it won’t be long before our credit will be maxed out. The Chinese have already demonstrated that they can take out satellites, and I’m sure the Russians have that capability, too. The problem with relying on high-tech solutions comes when your high-tech crashes. Knock out those satellites, and the U.S. will not only be blind, but impotent.

Furthermore, we’re trying to be an empire on the cheap. To run an empire, you need lots and lots of cannon fodder. Since we stupidly decided to have an all-volunteer Army, we can’t afford too much cannon fodder. If push came to shove, the Chinese could afford to lose 100 million soldiers and still have a problem with overpopulation. How many of our soldiers could we lose before everyone started screaming "stop the war"? We’ve lost only a little over 3,500 in Iraq so far, and pressure is already starting to build.

What the knuckleheads in Washington have created is an empire of delusions and illusions. It’s time for the nation to wake up and adopt a realistic foreign policy, which is trade and friendly relations with anybody who wants it. As for those who don’t, we simply ignore them. We don’t need to be anybody’s enemy.

As for defense, defending our space is easy and cheap. As another mark of imperial stupidity, the rulers of the empire can’t even do that while they fail overseas.

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.

© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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