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September 14, 2005

G.I. Neo-Con

Brian W Kelly

      When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.

      —Dwight David Eisenhower

      Army planners recently submitted a contingency report labeling the "worst case scenario" in Iraq as continued military involvement with present troop levels for another four years. It should be painfully obvious by now that the worst case scenario has nothing to do with Iraq, rather, what might happen three years from now, when the Republicans have yet another shot at attaining the presidency and furthering painfully flawed policy. I am not outright against maintaining the occupation (it's time we start calling it what it really is). What is needed in Iraq at this point in time is an increase in troops, not a decrease, at least for the near future. Despite what the president might have you believe, we are still very much at war. Americans are occupying and battling an insurgency that has grown so recalcitrant that their tactics are actually outmaneuvering US troops on a regular basis. Consider the fact that an enormous amount of Iraqi army uniforms have fallen into the hands of the insurgents, and reports have shown that they have put them to good use. First pretending to flush out a neighborhood by going door-to-door asking individuals for information on the insurgency and then punishing those who actually comply with murder (I'm not kidding, this really has happened). Worse still, regular Iraqi troops have failed to show their Iraqi national army identifications at checkpoints for fear of running into these ambushes by fraudulent officers.

      This is not Vietnam, not yet anyway, and if we were going to do this then the president should have done it right. What's coming next will almost certainly be an unpopular statement, but if this war is, as the president claims it to be, worth the American lives it has claimed, then there should be a draft. If there is an imminent danger to national security, there should be full participation by an army the size of that General Eric Shinseki, before he was fired, called for. It seems unlikely that a draft will be instituted (as the current strategy of the military forces as well as the backlash suffered thirty years ago seem to preclude such measures). I think, however, those (mostly neo-conservatives) who argue vehemently for this war on the basis of security should really consider what they are espousing. The army is looking for a few (well, let's be honest, we need a lot more than that) good (oops, wrong on this count too, we'll take pretty much anyone) men (well, now woman serve as well). The least these political masterminds can do is help out and as long as we're extending the draft age, we might want to consider a higher number, how old did 'W' just turn?

      To those who consider this proposal to be callous and insensitive, I ask what sending an outnumbered and under-equipped army into harm's way with little in the way of a reconstruction plan accomplished. Honestly, were we so concerned with how well Iraqi World War II tanks were going hold out that we couldn't imagine the next step? I doubt the answer will resemble anything that borders intelligence or synonyms thereof. When George Bush essentially gave the United Nations, a forum of potential allies who could supply support and alleviate the pressure on American troops, the finger, and preceded to seemingly invite attacks upon American troops with his brilliant "bring 'em on" comment, he let his true colors shine. Could you imagine war time presidents like FDR, Truman, or even Bush 41 acting this way? There was nothing inevitable about this war, it was a war of choice, recklessly rushed into and poorly planned.

      The president owes American troops the armor for humvees, actual combat vehicles, proper helmets, ammunitions, the VA benefits (recently diminished), necessary for carrying out this endeavor, but most of all, he owes them a realistic plan from this point forward on how this mission ends. He does not owe them a tax cut, five weeks of vacation, and more talk of resolve. Resolve is empty word when applied to strategies that do not work, staying the course when you are on the wrong road only gets you further from your goal.

      It's time we reject the methods of the Administration that has brought us to this point and the rhetoric of those who fail to support the troops with anything more than words and words alone.

Front Page (September 14, 2005)

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