The General’s war a work of art

Major General William Caldwell, a senior commander of U.S. forces in occupied Iraq, compared the war in that country to a work of art in progress. At a weekly briefing in Baghdad, Caldwell addressed the violence now spiraling out of control, which includes the rising U.S. casualties (2,828 dead at the time of this writing), by saying, “Every great work of art goes through messy phases while it is in transition. A lump of clay can become a sculpture, blobs of paint become paintings which inspire.”

Major General Caldwell is certainly correct in noting that an artwork in progress differs considerably from the finished product, but I would add that sometimes an artist understands that a work in progress will not be the hoped for masterpiece – no matter how much effort is put into the work. Artists often recognize their failures early on, dropping projects to start more hopeful endeavors – that in part is what makes for a good artist. Caldwell should face the facts, the Neocon dreams for Iraq are never going to congeal into a masterwork, but will instead forever remain “blobs of paint.”

The Major General may be excited over the recent sale of a Jackson Pollock painting for $140 million dollars, no doubt hoping his own work will fetch such a hefty price – but so far the Iraq “work in progress” war has cost U.S. taxpayers $2 trillion dollars, which might be just a little bit out of touch in terms of pricing for a relatively unknown artist.

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