By : Jim Pinto,
By : Jim Pinto,
The effort to stabilize Iraq is out of control. There seems to be no plan, no strategy. April brought the worst death-toll since the war began. A year after "Mission Accomplished" how much longer can this killing continue?
San Diego Mensan, June 2004
Quick—answer this: How many Iraqis (including civilians)
have been killed since the start of the war? That number
is not publicized much. Answer: 20,000+. Did you
know that? Or, will you argue that hey, it is "only 10,000"?
The number is still climbing.
The effort to stabilize Iraq is out of control. There seems to be no plan, no strategy. April brought the worst death-toll since the war began. A year after "Mission Accomplished," how much longer can this killing continue?
At the core, the challenge we face in Iraq is about legitimacy: Iraqis see the U.S. increasingly as an occupying power, not a liberating one. To send a credible message of democracy and transition to self-rule, a truly international coalition is needed. Tom Friedman of the New York Times (whose coverage of the Mid-East has been insightful and prescient) says: "If it is America alone against the Iraqi street, we lose. If it is the world against the Iraqi street, we have a chance."
Our troops in Iraq are stretched thin—many reservists have been serving there for more than a year with no end in sight. U.S. commanders are asking for more troops, and Senate leaders like John McCain share the concern that our current troop levels are inadequate. There’s even talk of a draft. How will you feel if your son or daughter is drafted?
After a year in Iraq, one soldier was just getting on the plane to come home when he was ordered to return to duty. Can you imagine how he felt? And how will his family feel when he is injured or killed before he has a chance to return? That has already happened.
Did you look at the faces of the 721 soldiers as Ted Koppel read their names on ABC’s nightline? Most of "The Fallen" were in their twenties, some still teenagers. Tell their families about the need to get rid of Saddam and WMD and see how they respond.
Some feel that it is “unpatriotic” to think this way, that it’s not supporting our soldiers who are already there, and not honoring the ones who lost their lives.
I'm not advocating that the US should simply turn and run. But, it’s time to face the facts squarely. We must recognize that America, acting alone, is no longer capable of reaching the hearts and minds of Iraqis. We’ve got to transfer authority over Iraq to the United Nations, to enable a real transition to peaceful Iraqi self-rule. Transferring control to the UN would also enable many other nations to share the logistical and financial burdens of helping Iraq transition to peaceful self-rule.
This is NOT a partisan political issue, or an anti-Bush issue. All Americans are deeply concerned. As they should be!
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