Skip to comments.No time to waffle on Iraq (Recently Returned MAJ takes AJC to task)
Posted on 08/27/2003 9:57:17 PM PDT by optimistically_conservative
[ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 8/28/03 ]
No time to waffle on Iraq
Steady progress makes case for reconstruction
By DANIEL CORMIER
Perceptions make reality, so the saying goes. Sitting in Iraq, trying to bring stability to a nation that has mostly known fear and violence, I was struck by the daily reports and opinions across our nation's airwaves. The almost-daily deaths, coupled with a pessimistic portrayal of U.S. activities in Iraq, leave me bewildered.
Just a few months ago, we had toppled one of the world's worst dictators since Stalin, who killed more Muslims in the 20th century than the rest of the world combined. We were embarking upon our new mission of rebuilding a country from the ground up, a task more difficult than war, as destruction is always easier than creation.
In those few months, if I am to believe the media, we have seen our nation's resolve stagger, support dwindle and heard that our Congress is upset over the costs of rebuilding. We seem to be more focused on politics than on giving some real constructive critiques to our reconstruction efforts.
The problem is that our "normal" politics also detract from our nation's determination to follow through on our responsibility to rebuild Iraq. Is Osama bin Laden right? Are we a weak nation and culture that has lost our capacity for resolve?
I know it is getting close to an election year, but let's keep our eyes on the ball. We have embarked on a massive project that has the possibility of turning the Middle East away from being a breeding ground for al-Qaida and despots.
The Iraqis that I saw on the streets every day do not want us to stay beyond what is necessary, but they also do not want to be Saddamed, Khomeinied or Talibanned.
That is our current choice. Do we leave the Iraqi people to be ruled by the Guilds of Violence, who have no concept of economics, politics and humanity beyond "might makes right?" If we do, we will not be able to isolate ourselves from their reach, but only force our children and grandchildren to bear the burden that we shirked.
Our leaders and soldiers are working long hours in austere conditions to help the Iraqi people. We are policing the streets to allow average Iraqis to return to jobs, go to school and do significantly more than guard their houses.
We are learning to communicate and to be sensitive to a foreign culture, while striving to make Iraq safe from the small numbers of thugs who are trying to earn guild membership. Our soldiers are rebuilding schools, utilities and delivering food and fuel for the Iraqi people. After we establish these basic services, we have to protect them from the forces of instability, who believe that by destruction and murder they will succeed and be able one day to rule their visionary kingdom of oppression.
Our tasks are broad and we are working diligently to build Iraq. Our biggest constraint -- we are not a nation of Saddams. Our values restrain us from brutalizing and terrorizing the populace into compliance. Some of the thugs see this as weakness. I see it as why their cousins and brothers spend most of their time trying to get immigration visas and escape the degradation that exists in their homeland.
Therefore, there is a race here between freedom and oppression. Time will determine which side had the most resolve.
Our daily progress is having a positive impact, but I guess the reporters and politicians sitting in their royal offices in the United States can't see beyond their next career move.
The magnitude of our task is significant, but so was rebuilding Germany, Japan and Europe after World War II. September 11 made this our problem. I expect our nation's leaders to start focusing on solutions and quit degrading the efforts of our soldiers and our nation's resolve.
Our soldiers' political views represent all of America. We are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Greens and many others. We seem to be able to work together to support the mission. Maybe our nation's leaders could start doing the same.
Accordingly I would expect to see the "testimony" of military/retired military officers and enlisted men with experience in Iraq featured in the Republican campaign in '04.
Traditionally the military was apolitical, but that tradition is unsustainable when one of the parties is willing not only to attempt to disenfranchise military absentee ballots but actually to attept to convert a successful military campaign into a disaster for the nation.
I'm just as shocked as you are. Could the temperature in He!! be dropping?
I see that my weekly rants to the AJC telemarketers who won't stop calling are finally taking hold...
OK. Maybe not, but this article IS good to see.
No Major, he's dead.