Vail Daily column: Why is it so hard to learn? |

Vail Daily column: Why is it so hard to learn?

Richard Carnes

Name one American that is completely surprised, and I mean actually caught off guard, by the latest events in Iraq and I’ll show you someone who has lived in a virtual closet since 9/11.

And no, that is not a Lindsey Graham pun.

Those feigning surprise at this very moment, meaning anyone who is attempting to use this latest humanitarian tragedy as political leverage for personal or party-related business, defines one of the top 10 things wrong with America. It’s up to you to decide which numerical value it deserves.

And if you’re one of those who defines yourself exclusively with one silly political party or another, congratulations, you also made the top 10 list.

But again, I’ll allow you to decide the relevance.

You witness a country in the Middle East once again falling into a civil war — this time it’s Iraq — and you immediately reach only two possible conclusions: It’s Obama’s fault or it’s Bush’s fault. Straight down political lines — how flippin’ sad.

And if you don’t realize the same thing will happen in Afghanistan after U.S. troops leave in 2015, then you clearly haven’t been paying attention.

There are now an unbelievable number of talking heads claiming the answer is to have never left Iraq in the first place, treating it like we have South Korea for the past 60 years. (For the record, if we would just stop pretending North Korea is an actual threat then China would stop pretending to support North Korea and we could both go on our merry way and let North Korea implode, but I digress.)

Many of those are also claiming the “war was won” before sissy Obama pulled out our troops, thus allowing open season on the region for whoever had the most weapons or the strongest religious convictions. (Please be aware that last part is highly facetious.)


Why, oh why, are deadly lessons never learned by those in power?

Based on the average number of American soldier deaths over the first decade in that impenetrable sand pit, we would now have around 1,000 more flag-draped coffins to “celebrate” our pretend victory.


Once again, would the point be good ol’ revenge, cheap oil (which will never actually occur) or basic political posturing for the next election cycle?

I vote all of the above.

Either way, here’s the catch: The region known as the Middle East has been wrapped in internal turmoil over land, basic power struggles and whose make-believe sky daddy is the biggest and baddest of them all for literally thousands of years and will continue to do so unabated until, one, an asteroid strikes smack dab in the middle, wiping out our entire species for a few millions years or, two, one side decides the other is correct and they all join hands and live happily ever after.

Of course the odds of one over the other are staggering, but hey, you never know about those damned asteroids.

Which means that it never has, does not and never will matter what the United States does or attempts to do in the Middle East, as the perpetual war will never stop on our account.

So why must we keep trying?

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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