Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dear John: The only way to "win" in Iraq is to leave

(Photos are from the Green Zone -- a monument to Saddam, the press room at CPIC, reporters at a press conference before they all packed up and ran off to Afghanistan and the Iraqi parliament meeting at the convention center next door to CPIC)

I figure that with Afghanistan getting all the top news focused on it these days, all those crowds of TV crews and MSM journalists that follow the action will be hanging around Bagram and Kabul right now, and so if I go over to Baghdad instead, I will have the entire Combined Press Information Center in the Green Zone all to myself. Plus if I went over to Iraq right now, I could send some more accurate dispatches back to poor sweet be-nighted John McCain, who needs all the help he can get.

"Dear John," I would write, "you've got it all wrong. That's happening over here in Iraq right now isn't just an old-school type of 'war' that American troops can win or lose. We already 'won' that kind of war here, back in 2003. But in case you haven't noticed, things have changed a lot in Iraq since 2003 and we can no longer call it a 'war' any more because there are just too many other factors involved.

"Aside from your run-of-the-mill opposition to the American occupation here, there's also a surrogate war going on between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel now. Then there's the various turf wars happening here -- something like the 'wars' between the Blood and the Crips back home. Plus there's criminal activity, violence of opportunity and a religious civil war happening too. Heck, the US military is hardly even the target over here any more."

So. How does one define 'victory' in a situation like that?

"I figure that the only way to find out if America has been victorious over here or not is to have our US troops leave Iraq. Then if the place still stays in one piece after we've gone, then America has won. Thus we will never be able to truly claim a victory in Iraq until after we have gotten out!" Sorry, John.

Or, just maybe, there might be another way for us to claim victory in Iraq while the US military is still there. Here's a valid benchmark we could use: If it's possible for someone, anyone -- like me, for instance -- to walk down the streets of Baghdad without getting kidnapped, blown up or sold into prostitution, then America just might have already won this "war".

Hey, if it will help McCain to finally get an actual clear picture of what is going on over in Iraq and hopefully put an end to all his misinformed talk of "winning" this "war", I'd be willing to take that chance and go do it myself.

But going to Iraq costs money -- and I'm totally broke.

I just sent in a request to get re-embedded in Iraq starting August 1, 2008. But if you want me to serve as the canary in the coal mine over there and test out whether or not the "war" in Iraq is actually over, don't bother to send money to McCain -- or even Obama. Send money to ME!

PS: You think that I'm kidding about this? I'm serious as a heart attack. This is my own personal fund-raiser I'm conducting here, the "Send Jane Stillwater back to Iraq" summer pledge drive. I've just about reached my limit regarding the places that I can afford to go to that can be paid for by my monthly Social Security check. So pleeeze help out. Each of you could make a small donation to my PayPal account at, typing in "" where it says "send money".

Or else a million of you could just go to and buy my book.