Alpine Summit

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"With All Due Respect, Sir..."

Floating around the Internet today, I came across this blog by Major K. who is an infantry officer in Iraq. He posted a great perspective about all the bloviating about timetables and pullouts.

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


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. 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.

I think this is a great characterization of Iraq's history in the 20th century. Oddly enough, if I can insert some politics into this for a moment, the shia that were murdered after they thought we would support them is blamed on Bush 41 because he encouraged them to do so and then didn't specifically say he wouldn't be helping them.

The back story of that, though, is that Bush was contemplating going after Saddam but knew he did not have a mandate from the UN. It was clear he would never get one, either. Since the protesters and their "blood for oil" signs were heralded in the media as 'the people of America,' Bush gave 'the people' what they wanted and we all know how that turned out. Unfortunately, his concience told him he should encourage the shia to take an active role in ousting Saddam themselves (another conention of the left's argument as to why we shouldn't be there now, by the way).

Now 'the people' want the same thing again-- and who do you think will get blamed when Iraq descends back into chaos after such a move? I seriously doubt 'the people' now would have the moral courage to say that they would hold themselves accountable.

I'm adding Major K's blog to my blogroll because I DEFINITELY want to read more from this guy. I highly recommend you do the same.