Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Reality and Iraq

Today's front page of my local newspaper features a photo showing a GI crouching in front of an Iraqi house. He's equipped with an automatic weapon and hi-tech gadgetry unlike anything I ever knew when I was a soldier during World War II. Just a foot or two away from the GI, a small boy squats on the ground, seemingly oblivious to the soldier's presence. The wheel of a bicycle or baby carriage can be seen in the courtyard.

I assume that the soldier's mission is to find terrorists--Sunni insurgents or Shiite militia members. But how will he know whether those he encounters are friends or foes unless he's fired upon? And if he is attacked, how he is supposed to react with the child innocently sitting so close to him?

There is a sense of absolute unreality about the photo. I study the photo and feel that it reflects the Bush Administration's own basic lack of reality as it escalates military operations after four years of fighting an unnecessary war in Iraq.

The President warns that if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq right now, the country could become a staging ground for terrorists to plan attacks like 9/11. But Iraq was not a terrorist training ground before we invaded the country. The country's leader, Saddam Hussein, was an evil dictator responsible for horrific treatment of his own people. But he posed no imminent threat to the U.S.

By getting rid of Saddam, however, we have served the interests of Iran, which now does pose a serious security threat. Iran was Saddam's biggest enemy. Moreover, we have helped install a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad. And by invading Iraq, we have allowed the Taliban, a regime that sheltered anti-American terrorists in Afghanistan, to recover after it had been soundly defeated.

Our failure in Iraq is reflected in recent authoritative polls showing that 78% of Iraqis now consider the U.S. "occupiers" of their country and that 51% consider it acceptable for local militias to attack American forces there. With that kind of psychological climate, I shudder at the challenges faced by the GI in my local newspaper's photo and his comrades. It is time to bring them home!


Anonymous Chancy said...

It is way past time to bring them ALL home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 3:53:00 PM  
Blogger Ivan said...

Yes !! And it is time to repatriate our Canadian troops and civilians out of that black hole called Afghanistan.

Friday, March 23, 2007 7:24:00 PM  
Blogger joared said...

I think it nothing short of a criminal act to subject our troups to the situation you describe that was prompted by that photo.

I had occasion last fall to hear an Afgan man speak of his former countries history and cultural beliefs. I concluded then, that our governments actions bore witness to the fact they must not have listened to knowledgeable Afgan leaders, or were ignoring what common sense and logic should have told them -- that the Taliban would repeatedly re-emerge unless they changed the course of action they were taking, or worse, not taking.

This local businessman, a U.S. citizen here for some years, had served in the Afgan AirForce, training first with the Russians, later with the Americans. He descended from generations of leaders in that country including a grandfather who was a highly respected warlord.

We have to do more for the people in Afganistan than just militarily defeat the Taliban, as that will be only temporary and they will continue to re-emerge; waiting in the wings for any opening. Of course, we have the mess we've made in Iraq to address now, as you've described so well.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 4:58:00 AM  

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