Thursday, May 3, 2007

Listening to the Military

I, uh, think I heard you. What’d you say again?
by Charlie Leck

Two days ago the President of the United States used his veto power for only the second time of his nearly 7 years in office. That may be a record.

He vetoed the bill passed by the Senate and the House that would have set a time-table on bringing our troops home from Iraq. In doing so, the President said that it was important to listen to the recommendation of the commanders in the field rather than imposing the will of politicians on those leaders.

The President is not much of a listener and he has a lousy memory. It was not so long ago that President Bush was advised by his military commanders that his “surge” policy would not work; so, the President got rid of those guys and installed new commanders.

Just who do we listen to, Mr. President?

I wish you’d listen to me, sir. Let’s end this debacle – this war begun with untruths and half-truths – this war that should never have begun – this war that has killed untold thousands of innocent victims and thousands of our own soldiers – this war of utter stupidity – and bring home our troops. That, sir, is the way to support the troops. Get them home! You told us four years ago that you had accomplished your mission, sir. Since then we’ve lost over 3,000 American military personnel.

Appended on 4 May 2007:
A Newshouse News Service column today by David Sarasohn was of the same theme as what I wrote above and also posed the same argument that "the surge" is a plan of a civilian administration and not a military strategy. Sarasohn wrote: "Yet the surge plan was devised in Washington... by civilians, guided not by military necessity but by calculations of how many additional troops could possibly be available... Petraeus was then brought in to try to make it work."

I've had a few responses to this post, claiming I am not supportive of the troops. Actually, that's not true. I support them more than most when I say let's get them out of harm's way. I don't buy the claim that it would be a disaster to pull them out -- a disaster to the troops and to the Iraqui people. I'm old enough to remember the same claim about Vietnam. It didn't prove true and Vietnam quickly settled into a productive peace time. So, will Iraq. They'll have some serious civil squabbles, but the whole situation will settle down and that nation will be better off without our interference.

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