The Lie of the Winnable War

Recently I was looking around in iTunes and rediscovered an old song by Sting that was one of my favorites in elementary school. It’s a good Cold War song called “Russians.”

One particular line in this song from 20 years ago really jumped out at me: “There’s no such thing as a winnable war/ It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore.”

The second part of that line used to be true. When this song was released, bodies and hearts and minds were still healing from the Vietnam War, and we lived daily in the tension of the nuclear threat. We didn’t believe in a winnable war. It was a lie we had given up on. We didn’t believe it anymore.  What happened?

If only we’d listened to Sting two decades ago. Now we find ourselves stuck in a situation where we’re having to relearn the slippery illusion of a winnable war. Even most of those who still believe that we did the right thing by invading Iraq would now admit that there doesn’t seem to be a way for this war to be “won.”

We should give real thought to the question: Is there such a thing as a winnable war? Is it a lie we’ve fallen for? If so, why? How can we make sure that it doesn’t happen again–that our memory lasts longer next time?

Published in: on October 2, 2007 at 7:19 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Weird. I just downloaded that song four or five days ago.

  2. Cool.

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