Major K blogged Congressman and Col John Murtha, USMCR - Ret. is by all accounts a bona fide American Hero. He has bled for this nation in a foreign land and shown great courage. He has now called for the establishent of a rapid timetable for the withdrawal of US Troops from Iraq, stating that we “have done all we can do.” Colonel, I could not disagree more. Unlike the mudslingers in Washington D.C. and the Media, I don’t believe that Col. Murtha has anything but the best of intentions and the welfare of the troops at heart, so I will not slight the man’s character in the least.
Your point is well taken. When I first heard what Congressman Murtha said I said that he had sold out to Al Qaeda, but I retract that. I believe that he has just been unduly influenced by the extreme left in his party to make a foolish statement.I do, however, believe he is making a critical error. The case has been made many times, and well, by others that establishing a timetable for withdrawal merely tells our enemies how long they need to go underground to conspire and train their thugs before unleashing them on the people full-scale. I will not bother with repeating that argument.
It is an extremely important point however. Not only should no timeline be established, but we need to be vague about the conditions that must exist before we withdraw, so that the insurgents will believe that we will be there forever.I wish to explore a few other points instead.
We are far from having done all we can do. Part of the US Military Culture that makes us so effective is our qualitative approach. This is especially the case in combat units. In my 13 years in the service, I have heard: “We work to a standard, not to a schedule” a countless number of times. Quitting time comes when the task is accomplished to standard, which is almost never 5pm. We have our objectives to meet:
- Kill or capture terrorists
- Restore Infrastructure and Services
- Establish and protect a functional Iraqi version of Democracy
- Establish better respect for individual human rights
- Train the Iraqi Security Forces to do/facilitate the same
All of these objectives are intertwined. And from my view, we are not done yet by a long shot. The killing and capturing of terrorists has slowed down the progress of all the other objectives. Americans seem to have a “microwave popcorn mentality” about these things. I know that most Americans will forego the 10-minute popcorn on the stove for the 2-minute popcorn in the microwave oven. This is one of the many nice things about living in an industrialized nation. The problem is that war is not popcorn and countries are not appliances. Instant gratification is not on the menu.
This country has a culture with different sensibilities from our own. Like many others in the world, this has never been a full-scale first world nation. When it was growing, starting to move toward that end and prospering, it was taken over by what can only be called a mafia family and driven into the ground by 3 horribly destructive wars leaving its people in fear, it’s infrastructure destroyed, and the landscape crawling with thugs and criminals formerly employed by the government or recently released from prison. The land mass is about the size of California and population is greater than that of Texas. What has happened to this country makes hurricane Katrina look like spit on the sidewalk. THERE IS A HUGE MESS TO CLEAN UP AND A CULTURE TO REHABILITATE, not to mention an army to rebuild. Three years, with fighting continuing, is a blink. It took over a dozen years to get from the declaration of the Declaration of Independence to the ratification of the US Constitution, and there were still several rebellions and a horribly bloody civil war to follow. The Iraqis are way ahead of the power curve on a historical basis.
We left this this job half done before, and the vipers’ nest remained. Thousands of Shia in the south were murdered because they thought we would help them in their uprising.
Thanks to George HW Bush (41). But the errors of the father are being fixed by the son.Our aircraft enforcing the UN mandated no-fly zones were fired upon daily - read: Acts of War. And this remained a preferred retirement home/vacation spot/training academy/financial endowment for terrorists. It was not the only one, but it was a prominent one. Now the terrorists have been put out of the government and into the shadows, where for three years they have been hunted. We have culled the herd, but the population is still large enough to warrant keeping the guard dogs busy. If we leave or give notice, we will, like in Somalia, leave the power to be restored to the vermin. Saddam will have been replaced, but it will be the same vermin surrounding the new boss. If you ask me, I really don’t care if my cement shoes are made by Gambino or Gotti. Iraq was not a peaceful place before we came here, it will be worse if we leave before we have met the standard. It’s going to take a few more years. If I have to do another tour, so be it. I won’t like it, but I’ll do it because it needs to be done.
More and more Islamoterrorists are coming in to Iraq to kill innocent Iraqi citizens, and we are confronting them there. Would you not prefer that we confront them in Iraq rather than here at home, and if innocent citizens are going to be killed, would you prefer that they be American citizens or Iraqi citizens. Our military is confronting the Islamoterrists in Baghdad and Basrah rahter than Broken Arrow, Boston, or Beumont; in Mosul rather than Muskogee, Memphis, or Mesquite; in Karkuk and Karbala rather than Ketchum, Kansas City, or Kilgore; in Tall Afar and Tikrit rather than Tahlequah, Texas City, or Texarkana.I have to give Congressman Murtha credit in yet another regard. Of all of the carping, nitpicking and fault-finding I have heard from those complaining about how badly this is going, he is one of the few with the guts to offer another idea. Many have said, “well we never should have gone there.” Nice sentiment from a Monday-morning quarterback, but no longer relevant. The question is, what now? Unless you are going to step up and suffer the backlash of those who call for a pull out, shut up if you don’t have a better idea. Again, I think a pullout or notifying our enemies, who may yet be pursued elsewhere, of our pullout date is a horrible idea. But empty nit-picking is worse. Our military has always been strong, but our national will seems constantly in doubt.
We have a standard to meet, and if allowed to do so by our people and our leaders, we will.
Hat Tip to Deb at EIMC
This was a fabulous post