On our overseas troops… and adopting puppies

Someone was interviewing McCain on the TV as I did my treadmill time yesterday and I was finding him very interesting.  He was maintaining, somehow, that our status in Iraq was “military success” and maintained the “complete success” would follow.

I sort of thought that military success means your troops are no longer dying in hostile engagements, but there you are…

But I got to thinking about how none of the candidates seem to give any credit to the complexity that is Iraq – and Afghanistan, for that matter. It’s not just a matter of saying “we don’t seem to be able to succeed, so let’s leave”.  We went in there (wrongly, in my opinion) and we trashed their infrastructure.  If we just leave, they’ll be left without roads, schools, sanitation, power… And in their desperation, imagine their gratitude when those nice wealthy Taliban folk come in and build jihad schools and community centers…

So it occurred to me that invading a country is like adopting a puppy.  You think it’s gonna be a great idea but once you get the little guy home, you discover he chews up your favorite shoes, pees on the rug, and barks maniacally at your mother-in-law.  At that point, though, you’re stuck.  You committed to care for this little guy for the length of his life – so you resign yourself to ruined shoes and smelly house for years to come while you patiently try to teach him some manners.  You watch him like a hawk.  You shut him in the bathroom while you’re at work so he won’t ruin anything, then take him for long walks every evening so he will get the exercise the bathroom denied him.  (And with a secret smile you regretfully inform your mother-in-law that she just upsets the dog so much; maybe she should stay in a hotel when she’s in town?).

I’m not sure what the puppy-equivalent behaviors in Iraq are – I’m about as politically unsophisticated as they come – but I wish I heard our presidential candidates acknowledging the issue and discussing options.

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