"This isn’t to suggest that the invasion of Iraq might have “worked” had the State Department been fully funded. In a sense, the invasion itself was a militarized response to a problem requiring statesmanship. And this, in turn, leads to another pernicious aspect of the Pentagon’s cannibalism of government resources: the military is often deployed as a response to problems that it created in the first place. This ouroboros loop indeed was what lay behind the listlessness of The Suck that I and my Iraq comrades experienced. For example, during my second deployment—when I was mostly detailed to the lightly inhabited plain of the northern Diyala Province, near the Iranian border—our task was to patrol the mostly unused roads. Why? Because insurgents were placing I.E.D.s on them. And why was that? Well, because we were patrolling them. And so on."