Folks, let's talk seriously about the war
By Jeff Lukens
My 21-year-old son recently joined the Army reserves, and is now in basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. He writes to tell me that his drill sergeants are telling him that, reservist or not, get ready to go to Iraq. He has no reason to doubt them. For my son, it is a reckoning he calmly accepts.
What can I say? He wants to serve his country, and I couldn't be more proud of him.
I'm just a regular guy like millions of people everywhere who love this country. I was in the Army years ago, but they never deployed me to a war zone. The thought of my son going into one sets me back a bit. When I think about the thousands of parents who have sons and daughters over there already, I get a bit choked. And when I think about those who have had their child die over there, I go beyond choked. God forbid...... it could happen to my son too.
We've all heard fellow Americans badmouthing our country while military personnel overseas are risking their lives. They say they support the troops but they don't support the war. Well, that's baloney. It's the same thing.
They say we shouldn't question their patriotism either. Well, that's baloney too. To actively root for our side to loose just so they can further their politics is more than unpatriotic. It's criminal.
Let's face it; many politicians, media people and others simply don't care about this country. They don't care about you or me, my son or your daughter. They're not willing to make any sacrifices.
Folks, it's us, the regular people who need to own the issue of the war on terror because we're the only ones who are serious about fighting it.
We've all witnessed the political pretenders who say they voted for the Iraq war, but then have no problem when leaked classified information is used against it. Nothing is prohibited in their two-faced attempt to gain power, even when their tactics do our nation lasting harm.
The spin is that, by fighting terrorists, we somehow are the ones creating the terrorists. That thinking harkens back to the pre-9/11 days of waiting to be attacked before responding. What these people don't understand is that our government's most sacred duty is to protect the American people.
Think about it. After 9/11, there were just a few options open to us and all involved invading somebody. The only way to fight terrorism was to go on the offense and hit them so hard that they can't hit back. And so we did. But invading Afghanistan alone was not enough to alter the root causes of terrorism.
The real reason for the Iraq invasion was that it was strategically necessary to influence the entire Middle East. The invasion was meant to show that we meant business in this war against al-Qaida.
Much complex analysis lay behind U.S. strategy, and much of its basis was too complex to present to the public. So, for right or wrong, WMD became the selling point for the invasion of Iraq.
The leaders in Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia have no doubt noticed the large presence of U.S. ground and air forces within easy striking distance of their countries. It no doubt is a major reason why they no longer support Al Qaeda, when they tolerated it - and even funded it - before.
So, now we have established a fledgling democracy in Iraq, and sectarian violence has become a problem. The government cannot be our ally if it is itself allied with terrorists. And terrorists are exactly what Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army are. We should've taken them out in 2004. Now we need to finish that job.
But this is a secondary issue. We cannot allow disappointments to turn to disillusionment about our reasons for engaging in this war. Poor decisions can surely make matters much worse.
Wavering members of congress have been calling for a timetable for a withdrawal from Iraq. This is all hot air in an attempt to score political points. They'll say anything to get elected. Nowhere in the history of warfare has a nation pre-announced such a timetable to their enemies. It would be disastrous.
Whether democracy succeeds in Iraq is up to the Iraqi people, not us. But they are watching our domestic politics too, and many more may decide to side with our enemies based on what the "loyal opposition" in Washington is doing to undermine the war. We cannot afford such irresponsibility.
It is naive to think that by getting out of Iraq, we can spare ourselves from the clash between radical Islam and the rest of the world. With Iran next door moving steadily toward a nuclear bomb, the question now is whether we are going to remain serious about terrorism, or frivolously pretend it is no longer important.
It's up to us, the ones with a personal stake in winning the war, to make our voices heard. We owe that to our nation's future. And we owe it to our sons and daughters who wear its uniform.
Jeff Lukens writes engaging opinion columns from a fresh, conservative point of view. He is also a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc., a non-profit (501c3) coalition of writers and grass-roots media outlets. He can be contacted through his website at www.jefflukens.com.
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