Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Supporting Them Is Better

The other day I mentioned something akin to the feelings expressed in this NYTimes article where people were reacting to the Mosul rocket attack. That although they may disagree on the reasons the US got into Iraq, that it's better to support the troops there rather than causing or promoting problems.
  • Some people said that polls themselves were part of the problem. Charlie Eubanks, a cotton farmer and lawyer from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, said he supported President Bush but had been lukewarm about going to war. Now, he said there was no choice but to fight on, and that reports on opinion polls were only "aiding and abetting" the enemy by making opponents think the American will is weak.[emphasis, mine]

The opinions on the late ferocity of attacks however is mixed. This one reminds me of the end of the German resistance in 1944 when young Hitler youths were disregarding the signs and wreaking havoc against allied forces as they moved eastwards. They were fervent and desperate.

  • "It tells me that they are worried that they are going to lose," said Mr. Mayo, of Newcastle, Colo. "They are just trying to make it as painful as possible and they don't care how they do it."

But the news reports have you thinking another way. And its very worrying.

  • 'Another military veteran who has become active in opposing the war said the message of Tuesday's attack was not desperation, but greater organization by the insurgents.'

Should we consider that something like 15 of the 18 districts in Iraq (not sure numbers here) are peaceful, as positive, promising, etc? Or should we think that this is forever getting worse and the allied forces are losing?

But one mother expreses her feelings like this : "It's like watching your son playing in traffic, and there's nothing you can do," Ms. Bellows said. "You can't reach him."

By the way, have you seen this campaign called My Soldier? It seems a bit strange to me that I could write to some 20 year-old guy from, for example the religious south, and in some way make him feel better. But I figure I got to do it.


rod said...

Sorry, Dan, I must disagree. Not with what I take to be your main point - that Americans (expat and otherwise) should support our troops - but with what genuine support looks like.

We keep hearing that if we withdrew our troops, the likely result would be civil war. Well, what is it that we're seeing now, if not civil war? How many Iraqis have to kill other Iraqis (60 dead in bombings on Monday alone) before we'll call it a civil war? And what are American troops doing to stop it? Really, what could American troops do to solve it?

You mention that 15 of the 18 provinces in Iraq are relatively peaceful today (and "relatively" is the key word here). So what? Suppose that a civil war was underway in America, but only 5 states were involved. Sounds good, right? Now, then, suppose that the 5 states in question were New York, California, Illinois, Florida, and Texas. That's similar to the situation in Iraq - the three provinces that are most embroiled in civil war represent nearly 40% of the population of the country. Yeah, things are calm in Wyoming - and all 850,000 residents there are feeling good about it.

You compare the situation in Iraq to Germany in 1944. I think that's a bad analogy. Remember, the mission was not yet accomplished in 1944. A better comparison, I think, is Algeria - after France's great "victory," the nation descended into chaos, the occupying power was reduced to torture and collective punishment, and still the clearly superior French army got their asses handed to them.

We are not helping the situation in Iraq; we can only make it worse. Thus, the only way to truly support our troops - not to mention the Iraqi civilians we hoped to liberate - is to get out now.

"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

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