Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Quicksand and Thermodynamics

A couple weeks back, I did a post on cosmology in which I quoted Ben Bova's abbreviated Laws of Thermodynamics. After watching General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker give testimony to senate sub-committees yesterday, I am moved to repost those laws and observe that they certainly seem to apply to the war in Iraq:

1) You can't win.
2) You can't break even.
3) You can't get out of the game.

Or, as one of the guys over on the acoustic guitar board posts over his sig: "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam ..."


Heather said...

Being a former Arabic Linguist with the Army, I can honestly agree that Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam.

This whole situation is so messed up. The administration has dug us in so much that getting out will be messey and staying will be messy. I hate no win situations like this.

Steve Perry said...

The thing that boggles my mind is, how come nobody could see that this was always gonna be a no-win situation no matter what? It's like everybody in the U.S. government either a) just fell off the turnip truck on their first visit to town or b) knew exactly what they were doing and didn't give a rat's ass anyhow.

Cheney's comment during that infamous interview when it was pointed out that there was almost no support for this war: "So?" His utter disdain for any course but his own.

There is well-intentioned, but stupid. Then there is amoral. And then there is outright evil.

I know how I would vote here.

Heather said...

I think they went in knowing that this would be ugly, but the administration must have thought that the benefits to them individually outweighed the human cost involved. No Arabic linguist I knew would have suggested going in there the way we did, ever. Arabs are not pleased by that sort of approach. We went in asking for trouble.

mdpii said...

I would like to comment that this second engagement does seem to follow Ben Bova's Laws.

It didn't quite seem that way to me during the first engagement in 1990 and 1991. Can't say I knew or spoke with many Arabic Linguists then. The people I did speak with seemed happy with the job done and that we were leaving.

Steve Perry said...

That's because there was a *reason* to go in 1990.

Heather said...

There definitely was a reason back then. However, now...

I have friends who are over there and they say the people are wonderful but you never know when or if something is going to explode. The stress levels are stupid high and that makes soldiers make mistakes. I would rather my friends do a great job and get out alive than otherwise.

Dan Gambiera said...

Someone said...

"Every philosophy that attempts to make sense of existence is based on denying at least one of these principles.

1) Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win.

2) Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break even.

3) Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game."

A scientist would say that you can break even. But only at Absolute Zero.

Dan Gambiera said...

But Iraq?

It's not Arabic for "Vietnam". It's Arabic for "Hey, Ivan! Let's go invade Afghanistan!" It has the potential to damage us as badly as the Afghan invasion damaged the Soviet Union.

Magilla said...

It amazes me that people still try to justify this illegal war. This war is simple friends...$$$$...plain and doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure it out. Some still say " didn't anybody see this coming"..hell yeah they saw it coming, why do you think they said okie is a cash cow. Our US Govt. is as crooked as they come..always has been , always will be..don't believe me? Go do some searching on our history, it may surprise you.

Why else does our schools teach selective history?

Mike said...

Just because our leaders were ignorant, arrogant and foolish enough to lie and bumble their way into a tribal/religious urban guerrilla war, there's certainly no reason not to continue pouring blood and money into the mix, is there? After all, any true American should be willing to die, and pleased to sacrifice his or her earnings, for the egos of Bush, Cheney et al and the profits of their corporate cronies.