Remember the Grunts in Iraq
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  1. #1

    Cool Remember the Grunts in Iraq

    12-24-2003

    Remember the Grunts in Iraq



    By Patrick Hayes



    Although the pontificators continue to pontificate about how wonderful it is that Saddam Hussein was captured without a shot being fired and that the way is now clear to build a new democratic Iraqi society – the question is, so what?



    At what cost have we finally arrested Saddam Hussein? What about the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, sons and daughters who are just a few of the people affected when the men in uniform come to the front door to report that a loved one has been killed or is missing in combat?



    Every time I hear that another American has been killed in Iraq – virtually every day – I become angrier and question why and how. Why did Americans have to go into harm’s way in Iraq and how the hell are we going to get out?



    On Sunday, Dec. 14, another soldier died as he attempted to clear a mine from a telephone poll. Obviously command detonated, it blew as he approached and he was killed. The media and the talking heads say, “a small price to pay.”



    Politically, militarily, even economically, maybe the hundreds of American lives that have been lost during Operation Iraqi Freedom so far don’t mean much to the “big picture” view of Washington politicians and generals. After all, it’s not a large number – just a few soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines who paid the ultimate price.



    But a price for what? So that other Americans could live free? No.



    Yes, the overall objective in Iraq has been partially won. Now we finally have Saddam in custody and maybe a good number of Iraqis are happy. The question again is, so what? In the final analysis, was it really worth one American life? Who in their right mind can see a functioning “democracy” in Iraq this side of the 22nd century?



    For the people he leaves behind at home, that one dead soldier is a major number. It means that their son, brother, fiancé, husband, or father won’t be home this Christmas or any other Christmas. It will mean another American family grieving their loss through the Christmas season instead of rejoicing “peace on earth.”



    Also, as was recently acknowledged by a number of people, by defeating the Iraqi system and knocking down whatever questionable political structure they had, haven’t we let the Shi’ite genie out of the bottle? The Shi’ites make up a large number of the Iraqi population. They are also closely tied to bordering Iran, a predominantly Shi’ite country, which is up to its neck in the support of Muslim terrorism.



    On the northern border, we have also let loose the Kurds, who have a longstanding conflict with our sometimes NATO ally, Turkey. Just how much stability have we actually brought to the region?



    The war was fought, as we are told, so that an unstable, Third World hotbed of corruption, death squads, dictatorships, political expediency, and rapidly-changing loyalties can earn a right to be free – when most Iraqis have no comprehension of what “freedom” actually means, much less democracy. Also, it does not take a great deal of research to see that Iraq has had a long and brutal history, but especially over the past 40 years or so when, much of the time, they were puppets of the Soviet Union, regardless of who ruled in Baghdad.



    There’s no denying that there are times when Americans do need to go into harm’s way and do what is right to protect other American lives and the American way of life. However, since World War II, those reasons seem to have become not only less clear, but also less palatable.



    The Americans who went to Korea to stop the Communist hordes were fought to a political stalemate at the cost of 54,246 American lives. Given recent activities within North Korea, what exactly was achieved for this cost in American lives? In retrospect, when Gen. Douglas MacArthur asked then-President Harry Truman to use nuclear weapons to wipe out the hordes of Communist ants swarming down the peninsula from the north, he was fired. Then, after so many American and other U.N. deaths, nothing was achieved but an unstable political stalemate in hostilities with a state run by a madman.



    As soon as I turned 17, I was one of the first in line to join the Marines and then went to Vietnam – a couple of times. But more than 58,000 American lives later, not counting the thousands of maimed and wounded veterans, what did that fight against Communism and the “domino theory” achieve? In the final analysis, economics defeated the Soviet Union. The Soviets just couldn’t keep up with American spending. However, Communist North Korea, Communist China, Communist Vietnam, and our old friend Communist Cuba are still very much in the picture.



    The point, as I have argued previously, is that without clear military and political objectives that directly affect the United States, in addition to a clear and honest exit strategy, I fail to see the need to put the lives of young Americans in jeopardy. This belief obviously takes nothing away from the members of the military now serving in Iraq who, like other generations have done before them, are doing their duty, doing the best they can, following orders, and trying to stay in one piece.



    Although targeted daily by rabid terrorists, these young American men and women must work within constricting rules of engagement designed by rear-echelon JAG lawyers who have never seen a shot fired in anger on the battlefield, but who have excellent 20-20 hindsight and Monday morning quarterback abilities. Lt. Col. Allen B. West discovered this recently when he might have stepped on the toes of a potential terrorist, but saved American lives.



    Politicians, economics and JAG lawyers aside, this Christmas, let’s remember our fallen comrades and hope they have not died in vain.



    Patrick Hayes is a Senior Editor of DefenseWatch. He can be reached at gyrene@sftt.org.


    http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/c....4877912851555

    Sempers,

    Roger



  2. #2
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    Rest assured...I think about the safety of our Armed Forces every day. I don't know all of them but they are American to me...and that means ...prayers, well wishes and support. "Rules of Engagement" has always been a sore spot with me but that's my problem. I also have a problem with theory vs. practice. Flexible, unconventional practice works but it takes time and its applications must be active 24 hour a day, with no slack. I believe that the Marine Corps and the Special Forces Operators realize this and that is why we will be successfull...in time. God Bless our Warriors, both military and civilian.
    Gary(osotogary)


  3. #3
    Although targeted daily by rabid terrorists, these young American men and women must work within constricting rules of engagement designed by rear-echelon JAG lawyers who have never seen a shot fired in anger on the battlefield, but who have excellent 20-20 hindsight and Monday morning quarterback abilities.
    And, they must also work within increasing numbers of degradations by those they would otherwise expect to support them. Roger, why don't you go ahead and just fwd this straight to the Iraqi terrorists who are still putting up resistance? I'm sure it will uplift their spirits and give them the impetus to carry on. It would be a lot quicker than to have it filter down to them slowly, as an indication that the American populace doesn't support their soldiers' mission. It's not just bullets and bombs that kill the troops. Words are just as lethal.


  4. #4
    Patrick Hayes IS ANOTHER LIBERAL JUNKIE WITHOUT VISION. Him and many others can't see the vision the President has laid out. This administration is just doing what other administrations before him didn't have the balls to do. Saddam was a brutal dictator and given the chance he would try to Destabilize that hole region again. He has already done this twice by invading Iran and Kuwait. All his atrocities are well known and don't need repeating but the just the thought of this man and his warped party were able to get a hold of a nuclear bombs is mind numbing. I did my time in Iraq, I seen the suffering, the brutality, torture chambers, wealth squandered on palaces all over Iraq and the women and children were pleading for help. 5 to 10 years from know this will be all over in Iraq and Bush's vision will be fully recongnized and appreciated.


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