The War Is Over….Sort Of

THE WAR IS OVER….SORT OF….The war with Iraq started on Wednesday, March 19, and today, exactly six weeks later, George Bush will announce that the fighting is officially over. Not bad!

Of course, precision on this matter is an elusive thing since it turns out that in this postmodern world “fighting is over” is not the same thing as “victory”:

Bush will avoid using the word “victory,” aides said.

….”If we say the war is over, it makes it more difficult to pursue [former members of Saddam’s regime],” said Anthony Clark Arend, professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University. He has written a book on international law and the use of force.

The Geneva Conventions also call for the release and repatriation “without delay” of prisoners of war at the close of hostilities.

Via Dan Drezner, it looks like the war in Afghanistan is over too, although here again “victory” is an elusive concept. As Dan notes, the situation in Afghanistan is pretty far from peaceful and the country itself is pretty far from stabilized:

If the end of major combat operations means that the U.S. is about to make a major push towards building some semblance of an infrastructure for Afghanistan, that’s great. If it’s a signal that America’s work is done in that part of the world, that’s disastrous.

Yep. Maybe it’s just me, but I sure don’t get a real sense of commitment from Bush toward either of these countries, which is incomprehensible since the whole point of these wars has been to build stable, more tolerant countries that are less likely to breed terrorists.

At least that’s what I thought the point was. I wonder if President Bush agrees?

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