I believe there has been a deafening silence on the part of the Democratic strategists when the Republicans make a comment about “winning” the Iraq war. The only way I can understand this silence on the part of the Democratic spokespeople is that perhaps, it is not strategically in the interests of the Democrats to counter this Republican ploy. Anyway, those of us that are against the war and have no vested interest in strategy at any cost do have a counter that we have seen no one making. “Winning the war” is an ideal of the Republicans. A bit ironic since there was a time when they considered themselves “realist” and the Democrats were the “idealists”. What we should have learned in Vietnam was that we certainly can win a battle when the enemy is clearly defined as a military unit. However, winning the war of ideology is a messy business that renders our military machine useless and furthermore, makes “winning” in any conventional sense a hopeless ideal. In this country we have touted Democracy and the war of discussion and persuasion and yet, when it comes to Vietnam or Iraq we thrust a militaristic version of “Democracy” on our victims. This is the ultimate hypocrisy. There is no militaristic “winning” in Iraq as long as many invisible factions are willing to fight and kill – this is a civil problem. If we have bases in Iraq for a hundred years as Senator McCain has suggested we will have a hundred years of getting pulled into their civil skirmishes – is that what we really want? There is only one recourse for Iraq – we need to be big enough to admit it was a horrible and tragic mistake and get over the ideal that it is “winnable” just as we did in Vietnam and try, this time, to finally learn our lesson from history.