The real tragedy of the quagmire in Iraq is the effect it's had on the United States' ability to engage its financial, military and political resources elsewhere. Since March 2003, we've squandered $300 billion and 2600 U.S. soldiers' lives on this unjust, poorly planned and ill-fated Bush vanity project. But now with the violence and bloodshed raging out of control in Israel, Lebanon and Gaza, the U.S. appears neutered; unable to effectively inject itself into a dire situation where American diplomacy and perhaps military involvement would normally be a bedrock in the process. In short, we're stuck where we don't belong, and cannot be where we do.
As the need for a multi-nation peacekeeping force in Southern Lebanon becomes paramount towards finding an end to the violence there, the Pentagon has made it clear that U.S. forces are stretched so thin primarily from Iraq that we cannot, unlike in the past, send out troops to participate in this mission.
"As far as boots on the ground, that doesn't seem to be in the cards," said John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. This position was echoed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "I do not think that it is anticipated that U.S. ground forces . . . are expected for that force."
That we need to rely on France, Turkey and other nations to go it alone without U.S. participation is a sad day for America in its role as the great super-power and defender of freedom. That we now also have to send even more troops to safeguard Baghdad, as announced earlier this week, is mind-numbing. As the Middle East is imploding, with terror organizations and the countries that sponsor them--Syria and Iran--tipping the balance of power, it's criminal that we are so handcuffed by Iraq, so drained by this debacle, that we cannot play a meaningful role in securing the region. I don't care what color your state is, every American should be outraged at the Bush administration for taking this nation down such as self-destructive and wasteful path.
That we're now subjected to the constant cable news images of an impotent United States, with a tired, frustrated Rice with her head in her hands trying to blow smoke up the world's ass while it contributes nothing diplomatically or militarily, is an utter disgrace and an embarrassment. We're the United States of America, for crap's sake, and we're coming off dazed and confused and powerless. It's especially infuriating as we compare America's stature and influence in the world today to that of the FDR, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy days. In the eyes of the world, and on the political, diplomatic and military stage, America's become a sad joke. And we can thank our court jester Bush for that.
That our nation's military resources and assets are so depleted that we cannot afford to send a few thousand troops into Lebanon is shameful. That this troop shortage precludes us from defending an ally and our own interests in the region is both maddening and frightening.