It’s time to stop fighting like Republicans

Published 12:11 am Sunday, November 2, 2008

On the playgrounds of elementary school, one of the worst taunts imaginable is to be told, “you fight like a girl.” Now, in fact, girls don’t necessarily fight “like girls,” while some boys do. But, regardless of gender, why is this style of brawling the object of scorn?

Because it means to turn your face from your foe, close your eyes, and flail about wildly with your fists. Even with a good reason to fight, it means to fight blindly. Even if courageously, it means to fight stupidly. You may, sometimes, actually hit your opponent. But in your violent frenzy, you are sure to hit others you had no need to hit, thereby inspiring new enemies unnecessarily while exhausting yourself to scant purpose. Scant, because all too few of those punches will land on the face you meant to, and maybe had good reason to smack.

Which brings to mind George Bush’s feckless “Global War on Terror.” After 9/11 we had good reason to smack al-Qaida and the Taliban, the radical Sunni Muslim groups responsible for the murder of 3,000 Americans on American soil. A few well-landed jabs guided by a clear-eyed strategy might have finished them off. Instead, our Commander-in-mis-chief turned his head, closed his eyes, and starting swinging hysterically, “fighting like a girl.” As a result, though empowered by the finest military in human history, he grossly misused and abused it, wielding that “fist” with the incompetence of the proverbial schoolgirl, crashing it into brick walls, innocent bystanders, stray livestock and occasionally, yes, the nose of an honest-to-gosh jihadi.

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And so, after seven years of flailing, we still haven’t knocked out either al-Qaida or the Taliban, or come to terms with the double-dealing of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, our “allies” who, directly or indirectly, support them. However, we have invaded and occupied Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11), and installed a Shia Muslim dominated government there that is, predictably, pro Shia Iran. Of course, we are now told that increasingly assertive Iran is our new greatest enemy, though that assertiveness is largely a result of our own befuddled, self-defeating policies in Iraq. Hmmm….

All the while, with few exceptions, John McCain and the Congressional Republicans mindlessly cheered every ill-aimed slap in this mockery of a war strategy like a schoolyard mob. This is the “experienced” McCain who told us in 2002 we could just “muddle through” to victory in Afghanistan while we shifted resources to Iraq. Told us that we had to do so because Iraq had WMDs. That Iraq was actively collaborating against us with al-Qaida. That Iraq was behind the anthrax attacks. That occupying Iraq would be easy. That Iraq’s oil wealth would pay for it all. That the Sunni and Shia in Iraq had no history of violent conflict. Of course, since he repeatedly gets his Sunnis mixed up with his Shias, his confusion on this last point is understandable.

But, call ‘em lies, or call ‘em misjudgments, either way, these claims were wrong. All wrong. For thousands of American soldiers and marines, fatally wrong. For a U.S. economy sliding into recession, a trillion dollars worth of wrong. Now, with the limited success of the surge, we’re supposed to hail him as the second coming of Solomon?

Give me a break.

Republican politicians always maintain they are tough on national security. Well, they certainly do talk tough (or “sing tough,” as McCain chortles about plans to “bomb, bomb, bomb,… bomb, bomb Iran”). They publicly flex their verbal muscles at every opportunity like preening, oily body builders. But when push comes to shove comes to oily fracas, they close their eyes, switch off their brains, and “fight like girls.” Which would be fine if we didn’t have real enemies in this world who need a good upper cut to the jaw. But we do. John McCain’s courage is beyond question, but we can no longer afford the spastic floundering of the McBush Way of War. It’s time to open our eyes and face our foes. Come Election Day, it’s time for all us girls and boys to learn how to box.

Jim Wiggins is a Natchez resident.