OpEdNews Op Eds

Bring 'Em Home

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

When my daughter recently asked why our daily newspaper only updates the number of Americans killed in Iraq, at first I fumbled for an answer. Somehow managing an air of assuredness, I told her that no one really knows how many Iraqis have died, which, I suppose, is a half-truth. I could not admit the whole truth, that the countless Iraqi dead are only countless because America does not bother to count them.

Over the past four years, how many Americans have given thought, like my daughter, to how many Iraqis have been killed as a result of this profoundly misbegotten war? Truth is tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died in the rubble of our misdeeds, along with nearly thirty-six hundred Americans. That America still seems unaware or simply unbothered, blithely evoking the memory of our own catastrophic loss almost six years ago as justification, has led the global community to conclude that to Americans, non-American life must be cheap.

Such a conclusion is understandable. Killing others for the sake of one’s own security does assume their lives have lesser value. As much as Americans might recoil at this suggestion, our collective oblivion to the toll this war has taken on everyday Iraqis only confirms its veracity.

No matter our intentions, when we kill the innocent, we become the enemy, and the ranks of those who wish to do us harm swell in turn. And with each civilian humiliated or killed, the intensity of their hatred and fervor grows. With every passing week the war in Iraq allows an elusive and inexhaustible counterinsurgency to claim further justification for its own inexcusable violence and crimes.

Throughout the Islamic and even the Western world, well-educated and thoughtful young Muslims now liken America to Nazi Germany. To many Muslims young and old, democracy and liberty have become synonymous with military occupation, the physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, and the death of civilians. Since our invasion, extensive and repeated international polling in Muslim countries reveals that there has been a drastic increase in the number of people across the world convinced America is their enemy.

How does this make us more secure?

In military terms, this war has been a recruiting sergeant for the very forces of terror our leaders sought to destroy. Rather than controlling terrorism, this war has licensed it, and has endangered rather than enhanced our national security. Iraq itself has become the new Afghanistan, even as recent Taliban advances pointedly demonstrate that we have failed to completely secure the old Afghanistan.

The unprovoked and unwarranted invasion and conquest of Iraq diverted our attention and resources from our proper course: clearing out every terrorist haven – which Iraq was not – and capturing and bringing to justice every terrorist responsible for September 11. Common sense, that one should not start new wars when others are unfinished, was ignored. Rather than chase bin Laden and al-Qaeda to the ends of the earth, we have instead chased our nation’s fortune into the mouth of an omnivorous and never-ending war.

(Conspiracy theorists, spare me your invectives. An administration that with one breath you would curse as being more stupid than stone, the most incompetent in American history, with another breath you would congratulate as being so brilliantly devious as to pull off the greatest and most complex and sophisticated conspiracy in human history?).

Nothing of vital interest to the United States necessitated this misadventure. All justifications for going to war in Iraq save that Saddam was a brutal tyrant have proven vacuous. This war was not thrust upon us; we chose it.

Our continuing presence in Iraq is each day not only generating more terrorists, but also diverting resources from more urgent needs at home and elsewhere abroad. America is draining its Treasury of well over a billion dollars a week fighting every prospective terrorist to death in Iraq – a prescription for endless war – that might otherwise be spent here at home improving our national security by fortifying our cities and our ports, and protecting our people against poverty, ill-health, ill-education, and the threats of disaster natural and manmade.

It is long past time for this gigantic distortion in our national priorities to be called to an end. This war that our leaders have concocted has sapped our military strength, our credibility, our economy, our disaster preparedness, our morale, and our moral standing in the world. It has increased the threats America faces, and reduced the military, financial, and diplomatic tools with which we can respond. It is time to bring our troops home.

It’s getting too late to look ugly. Even our military leaders now admit that the insurgency cannot be defeated by force. Our military is strained to the breaking point, and is increasingly unable to meet its recruiting goals. It is time to bring our troops home.

Americans themselves have gone from thinking the war was not a mistake to thinking that it was. The most recent polls show a record 67 percent disapproving of the President’s handling of Iraq, while 63 percent said some or all U.S. troops should withdraw. And in Iraq, the vast majority of Iraqis, even the majority Shiites, tell pollsters that they would like to see an end to the American occupation of their country. It is time to bring our troops home.

However, a massive American army occupying a nation half a world away cannot be withdrawn “immediately”. America must establish a clear and short timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, and then immediately halt our construction of permanent military bases and begin to reduce our military presence.

And America should not be seen as withdrawing, wounded, into its emotional carapace. A withdrawal from Iraq must be coupled with new regional and international diplomatic initiatives that will, in addition to the withdrawal and to the reinvestment of resources here at home, make us stronger and more secure.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

www.strangeanimals.us

Todd Huffman is a pediatrician and writer living in Eugene, Oregon. He is a regular contributor to many newspapers and publications throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What Does Freedom Mean Anymore?

The Crisis of Meth

Poverty In America: A Republican Moral Failing

Stem Cells To Stay Locked Up

Rules Don't Apply To Me

Do Parents Matter?

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
11 people are discussing this page, with 22 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

It's tough to argue a point with anyone who st... by Bill Cain on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 10:03:58 AM
9-11 changed everything. 9-11 truth changes it ag... by Sherry Mann on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 10:26:27 AM
Amen to that.... by Bill Cain on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 10:47:26 AM
I don't see that this article is about the truth o... by Daniel Geery on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 1:07:55 PM
Yes, the bigger picture. If the government "d... by Bill Cain on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 1:29:42 PM
I must agree with billcain.  The official US ... by CasaZaza on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 4:30:15 PM
 This is Gary DeVaney. (Captain, USAR retired... by Gary DeVaney on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 3:16:43 PM
bush, greatest leader ... AH, ha ha ha ha ha , ple... by Mr M on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 8:53:39 PM
I did.  The "greatest" does not nec... by SweetE on Wednesday, Jun 20, 2007 at 3:56:31 AM
"Killing others for the sake of one’s o... by jpsmith123 on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 4:39:32 PM
that all the relevant questions haven't been answ... by Daniel Geery on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 6:28:07 PM
I, too, have spent countless hours pouring over th... by Todd Huffman, M.D. on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 7:31:54 PM
there are two "Third Rails" of discussio... by Steven Leser on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 8:59:23 PM
Thanks for the lesson on rails (which I've cer... by Todd Huffman, M.D. on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 9:13:08 PM
The fact is that I love this site and what Rob has... by Steven Leser on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 9:38:21 PM
"1. Say anything other than 9/11 is absolutel... by Blue Pilgrim on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 9:33:16 PM
... I actually feel sad for you that you didnt.... by Steven Leser on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 9:39:59 PM
Smear tactics are no joke -- feel sad for yourself... by Blue Pilgrim on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 10:57:48 PM
You wrote a good and thoughtful response, which of... by Steven Leser on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 9:32:47 PM
I don't see anyone attacking Daniel.... by Blue Pilgrim on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 9:36:07 PM
the 9/11 conspiracy crowd and the BTDFE crowd are ... by Steven Leser on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 9:42:04 PM
The troops aren't going anywhere. Prepare for ... by Mr M on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 10:52:23 PM