Our Troops Have Done Their Job - Bring Them Home
As more and more polls come out showing that the American public is losing faith with our mission and goals in Iraq, it is time for Democrats to step out and reclaim a concern for our troops as the first priority of this country. As we noted earlier in the month, a Gallup poll showed that nearly 6 in 10 respondents in a GOP-biased poll said it was time to start bringing some of our troops home. In that same poll, 41% of the Republicans said that it was time to bring some or all of the troops home. A recent Pew Center poll shows that 46% of those polled want the troops to come home as soon as possible.
Democrats have been dancing around the issue of calling for troop withdrawals from Iraq since being browbeaten by the White House during the 2002 midterms and 2004 election for even suggesting that the Iraq war was a mistake. Yet we have known for awhile and have it confirmed now with the stream of memos emanating from the Blair cabinet that our staunchest ally knew that the war was illegal, and that support had to be created for the war and a disinformation campaign was needed for that support.
Our armed forces were redirected from a legitimate and unfinished mission in Afghanistan and ordered to go into harmís way to defend this country against a terrorist and WMD threat that never existed. And they were asked to do so without adequate planning, logistical support, accountability, and integrity from their civilian leadership. Yet this same civilian leadership wants these troops and their families to remain in harmís way in a quagmire that even the military brass now knows requires a political, not a military resolution, while GOP campaign contributors cash in and act like poster children for corruption off the blood of these same soldiers. And instead of drawing a line in the figurative sand, Democrats like Joe Biden talk without a drop of outrage in their voice about drafting more victims into the military to feed a monster that should have been confronted months ago. Rather than have the courage to demand a change in the bankrupted policy, politicians on both sides of the aisle inside the Beltway actually talk about feeding more manpower into the abyss while we continue to not only lose our blood treasure, but also our moral capital which this administration has been so depraved in squandering.
Ask yourself this simple question: which would be more endangered by bringing our troops home; the national security of the United States of America, or Halliburton's bottom line?
These recent polls show that the public, as it tends to be, is ahead of the Beltway once again. Senator Russ Feingold introduced a resolution on withdrawing the troops. Several polls now show support for doing so, with some of the polls showing support for immediate withdrawal. Those that still support keeping our troops over there are fed their news and propaganda by the White House and Fox News. Their views are to be discounted accordingly. Yes, the White House and the far right wing of the GOP will fight any call for bringing the troops home, and as usual, Bush and Cheney, and the rest of these chicken hawks will question the patriotism and judgment of those who call for the troops to come home. But every time these smears are issued by Bush, Cheney, and their supporters, our response must point out that when his nation called him, Bush spent his time under a barstool in Alabama, and Cheney spent his time on five deferments. And given the record since 9/11, neither Bush nor Cheney, nor many of their supporters are in any position to question the judgment of anyone else. And Mr. Cheney has shown that he never let national security get in the way of making a profit while he headed Halliburton.
Anyone who howls about calls for withdrawal while they themselves sit on their asses and let other people's dads, sons, brothers, and nephews die for their SUV and cheap gas should shut the fuck up and go enlist immediately. Our men and women of the military are not to be abused and misused as political props. Nor are they to be used as members of some Onward Christian Soldier army. Instead, they should be valued and respected for their service to this country in putting their lives on the line to 1) stop slaughter and oppression overseas with our allies; 2) to defend this country and respond to attacks; and 3) be used to preemptively deal with a threat when necessary and when in the national, not private interest. Those who sit on their asses as pundits or keyboarders, or in the pews of their church and equate this war with being American and Christian when they themselves will not serve are not patriots, Americans, or Christians. They are parasites trying to misappropriate our country's military for their own purposes against the wishes of our founders.
Our troops have done everything they were asked to do, and more. The lives of the over-1700 dead Americans would not be lost in vain if the troops were brought home now, because Saddam was toppled and the Iraqi people have been given the opportunity to start over. Arguing that we need to keep the troops there longer to keep the country from disintegrating into a hotbed of drug trafficking and terrorism is not a reason to continue the US casualties, but it is a reason to judge the motives, policies, and judgments of the men who sent them there. Our troops did their jobs, and succeeded at their primary tasks when the situation was stacked against them by their bosses.
It is time to welcome most of them home to the thanks and appreciation they deserve. Some will need to go back into Afghanistan to finish the job we started, with reconstruction and rooting out the Taliban. And yes, some will stay in the forward bases that Rummy has quietly set up in the back yards of our new regional allies as anti-terror quick response outfits and pipeline protectors. But despite the howls from the corporate right wing money grabbers who want our troops to spill their blood for a profit opportunity, and despite the discontent from the Iraqis themselves who seemingly want our troops to stick around to put a secure veneer over the bubbling chaos and score-settling that is about to happen, our troops should not be asked to do more in a failed policy just so that the mistakes of forty years ago can be repeated.
This country needs to do the legitimate work of protecting ourselves from real terror threats here at home, and to return our Guard and Reserve units to their communities so that the healing and community building work can commence on Main Street, rather than in Baghdad. Our overstretched and abused military needs to catch its breath, redeploy to critical missions rather than political ones, and replenish itself. And more of our human and financial capital needs to be redirected here at home rather than into opportunities for GOP crony corruption overseas under the security umbrella of our men and women of the armed forces.
Much work needs to be done here at home, and some of that will be to hold accountable those that steered this country into the wrong direction that more and more of the polls confirm. But the first step in doing that is to challenge their failed policies and to challenge them when they question the patriotism and judgment of their opponents. Pointing out their own abdication of responsibility, their record of lies, and their all-to-willingness to spill the blood of others while avoiding even a basic level of accountability for their immoral actions and failed policies is a good place to start.
Our troops have done their job, and they have done it well in a situation made worse for them by their civilian superiors. The sacrifices made have not been in vain, but in fact have liberated a country and given a people a chance at a new start. It is up to those people to seize this opportunity to work together out of necessity while we withdraw to safe locations and seal off the borders as best we can to prevent outside interference until the UN and Arab League can take over this responsibility. Our troops need not be there any longer to allow those who have looted Iraqi oil revenue and US taxpayer dollars to continue to do so.
We must focus on healing and renewal here at home, and to recognize the sacrifices already made to liberate the Iraqi people. And we must hold accountable those who asked so much of these fine forces, who let these troops down and who themselves are worthy of contempt.
We owe it to the troops and their families to start talking openly about bringing them home.