Oh, when will it ever end? It may end during the next administration if the current President has his way. I have been in favor of granting the troops everything they need (full support) to protect themselves, to perform their assignments and to survive. This I favored, though I adamantly disagree with the supposed reason or reasons, by which the U.S. invaded Iraq in the first place. Our information and reasoning was weak, false and manipulated, and we were totally misled. We, unfortunately, will never know the unadulterated truth, just as we will not in the cases of J.F.K., his brother and the brother's son.
I maintain that our underlying reason (excuse) for entering Iraq was petroleum, regime change, forced democracy or some combination of the three, not terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. This administration wanted to impose democracy on Iraq and Afghanistan, so it would have Iran by the shorthairs. Yes, I oppose the idea that our troops are in Iraq, but I admire these young and older men and women. I want the war to end, so that they may come home, our home, to their friends and families.
We entered into a war, which we had no chance to win. We were not called or invited. Our experts totally underestimated the size and scope of both the battlefield and the enemy itself. In late 1776, General George Washington's total army numbered less than 3,000 men as it retreated across New Jersey, having been trounced by the British in Brooklyn and Manhattan. They were half-clothed, starving, with poor weaponry, with little ammunition, without shelter in winter and without any pay. They were cobblers, blacksmiths, farmers, tanners and coopers. They were not in it for a draw! They knew the consequence of defeat, continued subjection to the English King. A precedent was set by the Congress, as it fled Philadelphia, the capitol at that time, for Virginia from fear of losing the war, so no money was able to be appropriated to alleviate the many pains of George and his men. In the face of the 15,000 man strong British Army, the finest in the world, they fought and endured. Please read the book, "1776" by Mr. David McCullough for a powerful account of the early Revolutionary War for our Independence.
The point is that no one came to the 13 Colonies to suggest that we become or order us to become a Democracy. We wanted it. We demanded it. We fought and sacrificed for it. We gained it because we craved it. The British underestimated the scope of the operation, our resolve and our leadership. Democracy is not something that can be driven down another sovereign's throat. It will only prevail, when the people crave it, and it is clear that the Iraqis do not. The U.S. would never tolerate having a particular type of economy or government, dictated to it. Why then do we insist upon dictating to other countries?
We are in Iraq, whether I agree with the reasoning or not. We are in Afghanistan, and I do agree with our reasoning for involvement there. It is said often that our armed forces are the best-trained and best equipped in the world. On these two counts, are we really better than the Chinese, the Canadians, the North Koreans, the British, the Russians and the Israelis? I imagine that they are as modern as we are. I wonder, but let us assume that we are the best-trained and best-equipped. We are engaging insurgents, terrorists, fighters, who have no body armor. They have no helmets and no night-vision goggles. They are not supported by tanks, artillery, helicopters and aircraft. Yet, we do not seem to be able to gain an upper hand.
We have not secured a single border in either Iraq or Afghanistan. We are unable to secure a town, a road, a check-point, etc. in either country. The wonderful men and women, who are fighting in these two countries, are to be admired, honored and supported to the nth degree, and I do not want to lose another single one of them. With this in mind, there are only two reasons why we are not winning and can never truly win. Firstly, there are flaws in the plan and/or execution. Secondly, men can not be victorious in battle, when totally hamstrung by rules, regulations, courtesies, considerations and limitations, which prohibit victory. Pussy-footin' never won a battle
I believe that we entered into the conflicts with far too few personnel. We needed to secure the borders, so as to cut off reinforcements of men, supplies and ammunition. We do not even secure our own borders, so why would commanders see any importance in the securing of these foreign borders? Now, once an objective was selected, say a particular town, it should have been surrounded, completely cut off. It is the old siege routine. Did we learn nothing from General Custer? What does one gain by fighting his way into one side of a town and losing lives, while driving the enemy out the other side to relocate? One just waits for them to come out, hungry or thirsty, and either captures the enemy or shoots him. Have we learned nothing from history?
Until and through the end of World War II, battles and wars were fought with one thing in mind, victory at any and all costs. Once the onus was upon the allies, it was win at all costs or be defeated at all costs. When a coastal landing was to be made, said coast was pummeled by fleets of battleships. When the objective was a munitions plant in Düsseldorf or Cologne, the squadrons of bombers were summoned. When the goal was to take a town, the tanks rolled to and into it. Many innocent and civilian lives were lost, but the goals had to be achieved if victory was to be wrought. How many civilians were lost, when Japan was bombed?
If one tied a 50 pound weight around one ankle of an Olympian swimmer, he may stay afloat and even manage to make it to shore. This is how our troops are encumbered. They may not damage a mosque. They can not identify the enemy often, as he blends into the throngs of others. He may not shoot if he is too close to a school or hospital. He may not enter a house in pursuit of insurgents and fire his weapon for fear of injuring a child or innocent. This enemy places no value on his own life much less anyone else's.
With a terrible plan, undermanned or faulty execution and no hurt/no kill policy, it is small wonder that tempers flare, fear is instilled and errors in judgment are made. Some of our soldiers are on their second and third tours of duty. It would be small wonder that the psychological effects are mounting.
The bottom line in this treatment is that we need to have our soldiers home to keep our country safe and secure. The three factions in Iraq have hated each other for thousands of years and have not and never will assemble a lasting, stable government. I feel that we have been in Iraq long enough to have given the Iraqis ample time to decide whether they want war or peace among themselves and to establish a government for themselves. This situation simply can not go on ad infinitum. It is crunch time for the Iraqis and Afghanistanians. They must now choose between factional dictators, genocide and loss of freedom or democracy. Either they crave it, or they do not.
Though the saving of the lives of our soldiers is paramount, there is also the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars to this country, which may never be retrieved. They are wasted, gone forever. Again, the citizens must pay that old piper. What importance could hundreds of billions of dollars have, regarding our domestic condition? We need to either send another hundred thousand troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, and do the job right or advise the Iraqis that we are phasing out, so that they may decide their own future. As long as there is no pressure for the Iraqis to decide, to unite and to conclude, they will not.