Thursday, June 01, 2006

My thoughts on the situation in Iraq...

“Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

John Murtha has alleged the US military is attempting to cover-up the incident in Haditha, Iraq yet he can show no proof of a cover-up. Murtha claims to know what happened, he has already come out and said he believes that the Marines retaliated against the innocent civilians when one of their own was killed. In the meantime, the Marines are tight-lipped (as they should be) about the investigation as it is ongoing. All we know is that there can be no autopsies because the families will not allow their loved ones to be exhumed and the death certificates and alleged eyewitness accounts are the only proof that 24 civilians were executed.

Instead of reading the Pentagon's report on the incident, Murtha claims he has been talking with military commanders who know the real story, but which commanders he’s talking to is really anyone’s guess because Murtha refuses to name his sources. Murtha's comments do nothing but taint the investigation as he continues his quest to try the Marines guilt in the court of public opinion. His remarks will have great repercussions on the morale of our troops. I'm sure he knows that.

Aside from Murtha's insanity, I find it disheartening that the President of the United States has yet to issue any statement defending our troops and calling for a halt to accusations before the investigation has been completed. The man who sent them over, who told them "mission accomplished", who continues to tell them and their families they will be there a very long time, who assures them America cares and that their government has not forsaken them, has not spoken a word in their defense. He has not told Murtha to shut up and he has not reminded the American public that we were all raised to believe a person is innocent until proven guilty. Because President Bush would rather appease the Muslim world, he refrains from any defense of our troops, troops who by the way have not been proven guilty and whose investigation is still ongoing.

The President of the United States and the Congress sent American troops into an impossible situation. Why do I call it impossible? Well, it’s not to belittle the efforts of our troops, goodness knows they have accomplished much there, but the fact is that they are fighting an enemy who wears no uniform and knows no rules of engagement. They are fighting an enemy that believes it is honorable to blow themselves to bits rather than allow freedom to prosper. Sure, our troops joined voluntarily, they knew the inherent risks of going to war and dying. But I believe our troops also had faith that their country will not send them into an impossible war, one that lacks a clear agenda, one that cannot be won. Someone always has to die to protect freedom and these men and women joined for the purpose of protecting America’s freedom. But was our freedom in imminent danger? And is it honorable to send your own people to die in a foreign country where freedom cannot prosper? I will always ask myself those questions.

I will always support our troops and the work they have done in Afghanistan and Iraq, but when taking into consideration who the enemy is in this fight, I don’t see a way to win. I’m not afraid to say that either. It’s what I feel. It’s reality folks. Forget the political stuff for a moment, Do you think this war can be won? You don’t have to tell anyone, just be honest with yourself. Only you will know.

Day after day, our troops build infrastructure, feed the hungry, protect the helpless, and every day they are worn down by the endless fight against an enemy that never tires, never ceases, never gives. It’s the Muslim radical cause and it’s here to stay. It is said that only 1% of Muslims around the world are radicals. There are estimates of at least one billion Muslims worldwide. One percent of one billion is ten million. And 1% of that is 100,000. That’s all it takes.

We went into Iraq under the guise of WMD’s. I supported it, so did many of you. We believed Iraq was a threat, we were told daily Iraq was a threat. First, we go in, then no WMD’s are found, then there are traces found, then we find out there were no traces at all. In the meantime the troops are in place, Saddam is overthrown, and then the fight against the terrorist insurgents begins and has not stopped since. Now they’re there and they can’t come home. If we leave, we save the lives of thousands more troops but the lives of those who died, the injuries of those who were maimed, were all in vain, and worse, the President is made a fool of, our country is labeled a coward, and we can’t have that can we? We can’t have the world thinking America is a wuss. Of course we know we’re not but these days we are always so worried about what the rest of the world thinks of us. No, the only alternative is to stay but if we do, more troops will die, more will be permanently disabled, and still there will be no peace in the Middle East, not in my lifetime.

Why are we there?

"To bring freedom to the Iraqi people" is the most common answer.

Ok fine, WHY did we just not go in under that guise? Why did we go in under WMD’s? You can't tell me nobody in a position of power in this country didn't think the weapons wer already gone. Hell even my little voice told me those weapons of mass destruction existed but were spirited away to Syria and Iran long before the invasion was even planned. The UN's pussyfooting around gave Saddam plenty of time to move them. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

I think that what makes me so angry is that I am confused as to whether or not we are doing the right thing. I try to think about it rationally, I am not phased by the politics of it all. And I ask myself if it was the right thing to do. Of course bringing liberty to the oppressed masses of the world is the right thing to do but at what cost? And why aren’t we consistent? If we are there to bring freedom and liberty to Iraqis and Afghanis why aren’t we in the Sudan? Why didn’t we go to Rwanda or the Congo?

If freedom is such a noble cause (and it most certainly is) then it should be fought for and preserved for all people, not just some.

Yes radical Muslims are a threat to the world, and yes we must confront it, but this specific situation in Iraq must be dealt with. The ultimate responsibility of this mess lies with Congress and the President. You and I saw our Congressional support after 9/11, we saw it in Iraq. These people are privy to the secret information we will never know. We leave our fate in their capable hands. We rely on them to make decisions based on truth, on facts, on evidence. They did not do this. And so here we are today.

I supported the Iraqi invasion and I voted for Bush twice. I am not ashamed of my choices, I did what I thought was the right thing to do. I had done everything in my power to make sure I was doing the right thing. My husband and I read, researched and discussed the issues in great detail. We the people are responsible for electing officials who have less than honorable intentions and we must hold them accountable.

If the evidence proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that our troops murdered innocent people in Haditha, who posed no threat to them, they should be punished accordingly but let us not forget the stress they are under in that country. None of us could ever imagine what their daily lives are like, the things they see, the danger they face. It almost always has nothing to do with a lack of morals and values, it's just that in the midst of war, it is not always possible to refrain from breaking down, from showing weakness, from being infallible. We are only human.

And while we’re seeking accountability with our troops, we must seek it with those who sent them there in the first place. President Bush of course is on his way out in two years but Congress will seek re-election and that’s where they can be punished where it hurts—being voted out of office.

1 comment:

  1. Good post, Jessica. I still think we are doing the right thing. It's god-awful, to be sure. I am trying to keep the big picture in mind. The region will change as time goes on, it has to start somewhere. My husband was in Iraq, pre-war, and still stongly believes we are doing the right thing.
    Time will tell. I had the Hiditha incident on my mind this morning, too, when I posted my blog.