On Iraq and the No-Win Scenario

There’s not really an argument here, more of a statment—Is Iraq our own Kobayashi Maru?

Iraq is fast becoming the Kobayashi Maru for the United States. If we stay, suicide terrorism will continue to rise. If we go, the civil war is practically inevitable.

On the surface this Kobayashi Maru framework for Iraq seems to have some validity. But on second thought it doesn’t.

First, the current administration denies that either option–an increase in suicide bombers or a descent into civil war–will happen. “We’ve turned the corner” has been said so many times as to lose all meaning, especially when another car bomb kills another American or three.

Second, the civil war the author called “inevitable” will happen regardless of a United States presence in Iraq. The Kurds, Shi’ites, and Sunnis all want different things from the constitutional process, and the suicide bombings aren’t entirely directed at the American presence.

Third, suicide terrorism will happen regardless of our presence. It pains me to write this, but the American invasion of Iraq encouraged terrorism, encouraged people to take up radical violence. The invasion of Iraq made the problem of terrorism worse. Whether we leave or stay, Iraq will be a cauldron or cradle of terrorism for decades, if not generations.

The problem with the Kobayashi Maru comparison is that the two situations–Iraq and the Starfleet Academy simulation–aren’t at all equivalent. The Kobayashi Maru is a “can’t-win” scenario–the Starfleet cadet can’t save the ship: either he leaves it be and everyone aboard dies, or he crosses the Klingon Neutral Zone and his crew dies. The Iraq situation is more of a “won’t-win” scenario–the reasons the administration set out for “winning” in the run-up to war have been shown to be false negating our whole reason for being there, and rather than fix the problem the solution is to change the semantics and rhetoric to match the situation on the ground to find something that looks like victory but has nothing to do with why we were there in the first place.

One thought on “On Iraq and the No-Win Scenario

  1. “Third, suicide terrorism will happen regardless of our presence. It pains me to write this, but the American invasion of Iraq encouraged terrorism, encouraged people to take up radical violence. The invasion of Iraq made the problem of terrorism worse. Whether we leave or stay, Iraq will be a cauldron or cradle of terrorism for decades, if not generations.”

    How true. BTW, you present a very well-thought argument.

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