Too often, people regard those who serve as economic victims, people who had no choice to escape poverty but to go and fight and die in order to escape our malicious economy. Such tripe is disgusting to me. The reasons that people join the military, like all human decisions are complex and complicated. To reduce them to one simplistic reason is an insult to mature, independent human beings who see more to life than simply providing food for their table.
There is one thing that I do not agree with in this article. When the author says:
If we can put 2003's debates behind us, there is a swath of common ground on which to focus. Both Republicans and Democrats agree we cannot lose Iraq. The general insurgency in Iraq imperils our national interest and the hardcore insurgents are our mortal enemies. Talking of troop reductions is to lose sight of the goal.
I am not so sure that all sides agree that we cannot lose. When I think of Rep. Murtha, and most of the senior Democratic Party leadership, I do not hear that we need to complete the job we set out to do. Instead, I hear calls that our efforts there are futile and pointless, and that we should immediately "redeploy" (otherwise known as run away) and turn Iraq over to the insurgents. Evidence of this attitude is best described by those who point out that President Bush's handling of the war will lead to a Democratic majority.
I am not saying that the Democratic Party is more interested in helping the insurgents to win. But it is more interested in attaining their return to majority status and if the insurgents win, then so be it. This would not be the first time that one party has placed its priorities over that of the national interests, but it is still disgusting nevertheless.
The sad thing though, is that the Republicans are trying to do just the same thing in many belated ways. The unpopularity of the war is leading them to abandon their party's leader in their own self interest of being re-elected.
If you look at the conduct of the war without a prism of ideology, you see that we are on the whole largely successful in Iraq. Bush was right when he landed on the aircraft carrier and declared "Mission Accomplished." That is, it was true that organized units were no longer in existance. The problem is that the enemy changed on us, and we failed to realize it in time.
Where the enemy has been spectacuarly successful is in the manipulation of public opinion. The constant barrage of car bombs and IEDs has accomplished little of military value. They are unable to use these tactics to destroy their opponents, nor seize key terrain. The real target of these tactics are the television cameras that will rebroadcast the images to those of us sitting here safely at home. And their tactics are working, as evidenced by the drop in support for our actions in Iraq.
So, while the finest people that our country produces are striving to actually change a country, and through that metamorphosis the region, we here at home have let them down by failing to recognize that Bush was correct when he said that this would be a long hard war.
Kinda makes me wonder.