May 27, 2007
This Memorial Day we again honor those who fought and died for our country. The Memorial Day observances for the last four years have taken on special significance since our nation has been at war and is losing men and women in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those families who have lost loved ones in this unpopular war may feel bitter. However, to lose a loved one in any war is hard to take. The fact that young men and women willingly go to fight in an unpopular war probably takes more courage than to fight in a war where the objectives are more well defined and the need for victory more urgent such as in World War II.
Whether or not you support the war in Iraq, we must all support those who are fighting for our country. Let us hope that our government can find a way to extricate itself from the quagmire in Iraq so that our soldiers can come home and live a normal life they so deserve.
The disaster than has been Iraq is the result of many factors and the outcome will result in many changes in our government. American arrogance is partly to blame. We think that everyone wants to live in a democracy or everyone wants to have a home with a 2 car garage, or everyone has Christian ideals, etc. In short, we think that everyone wants to be like us. We found out differently in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democracy is not necessarily a universal human goal, especially in the Muslim world. Instead of thanking us for eliminating a dictatorship, the Iraqis took advantage of the power vacuum and resorted to settling age old animosities. We had no Plan B and got caught in the middle of a civil war.
Unlike World War II where we went into war with both barrels blazing, we entered into conflict in both Vietnam and Iraq namby-pamby hoping for a cheap and quick victory. If we are going to fight a war, we must first decide if it is truly necessary. If so, then go in with full might and get it over with, else stay home.
Why should the world's mightiest military be stymied by a bunch of rag-tag insurgents? The reason is because we are not willing to kill millions of people and also want to minimize our own losses. Therefore, stay home and defend our borders. There is no way we are going to win any terrorist war overseas short of annihilation of the Arab countries. We must adapt to a new type of war where intelligence and covert operations are the norm rather than putting our soldiers in harms way.
There is no end to the discussion on what should or should not have been done in Iraq. Clearly, the war was mismanaged. What is important is where do we go from here? The decision to go blindly into Iraq has opened up a Pandora's box of problems that may never be solved in our lifetime. At this point, all we can hope for is to exit Iraq slowly enough to allow the Iraqi government to take over the war we started. Those who claim that our departure will result in a bloody civil war may be right but there is also the possibility that our departure will defuse the insurgency. Increasing our forces is not reducing the violence. The only choice left is to reduce our forces so that the Iraqi government is forced to take over their own defense.
Like Vietnam, the war in Iraq has caused the American people to lose faith in their government. Let's hope that the lessons learned in Iraq will result in a new government whose sense of history knows enough not to shove democracy down another country's throat, a government that reacts to terrorism by strengthening our intelligence and protecting our borders at home rather than taking the war abroad, a government that is honest with the American people, a government whose policies will someday eliminate the need for Memorial Days.
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Editor wrote on 5/29/2007 at 06:56:18
Jim; I agree that we should not forget our veterans. I wanted to imply that by staying out of war, there will not be any future veterans to honor. Bad wording on my part.
Jim Jacek wrote on 5/29/2007 at 06:43:43
Dave, although I agree with you on most of your editorial, one statement should never have been made. We should never forget Memorial Day. The men and women who gave their lives in the service of their country and the veterans who have since passed away should never be be forgotten. There is a patch that was on Mr. Robert Samuelson's jacket that said it best, "THE NATION THAT FORGETS IT'S DEFENDERS WILL ITSELF BE FORGOTTEN".
Mike McKay wrote on 5/27/2007 at 20:48:04
George W. Bush is why we are at war. If his Dad would have spent 2 more weeks in the 1990's we would have taken care of everything in the Middle East. Since then we have been attacked in our own country (9/11), because Jr. is an idiot. Every day our men and women are killed, and Sadam has been hanged. Why are our young people still there?
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