Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Few Thoughts

I often find myself lying in bed awake at night. I am surrounded by war and the tools of its trade. I am required to sleep with my rifle at an arms reach away. There are tanks parked yards away from where I live. Attack helicopters are constantly flying over my head. Every night, I hear about troops in contact, casualty updates and a host of other issues relating to war. I cannot escape the sights and sounds of destruction and I would be lying if I said that this has not aaffected me. It has. I lie awake at night and ask myself what brought us to this? As a civilization of human beings, what kind of lunacy causes one people to reach a point where the death of another is the only solution to conflict? We as Americans believe that democracy and liberty is a gift from God bestowed to every man regardless of his socioeconomic status, religious affiliation or ethnicity. Our enemies disagree. They hold that democracy has led to the moral decline of this planet and will eventually result in its demise. And because of this, at this very moment, our country is at war with terrorists and we are killing each other.
There are thousands of Americans fighting this war for almost as many different reasons. Some see it as retribution for the September 11th attacks on our country. Some want to finish a job that they believe was not finished during Desert Storm. Others are fighting to help establish a democratic way of life for a people whose majority longs for it. The list goes on and on. I honestly believe however, that there are those who have never really given their involvement in this war serious thought and have never questioned their motivation for fighting; they are simply following orders. They are here because they were told to. They fight because they were told to. They kill because they were told to. This is very frustrating for me. Robots act without thought because they are told to. Humans should act because they believe in a cause. Without an understanding and a personal commitment to this cause for which we are fighting, you are nothing but a robot receiving orders and acting as programmed. As a responsible adult and human being who is quite engaged in this war, I have to ask myself some very important questions. Why am I here? Why am I willing to take a human life to defend this war? And most importantly, do I believe in this cause for which we are fighting…a cause for which I am fighting. More on that later.
Political pundits have spun this war out of control. They would have us believe that its pretenses were diabolical and purposely misleading to the American people. They cite the lack the proverbial smoking gun…weapons of mass destruction and a lack of evidence linking Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to the attacks on America. Because of these they argue, America has waged an unjust war. George Bush, they cry, has led our country into a quagmire akin to Vietnam and that our presence in Iraq has diminished our global credibility. What has been forgotten among this smokescreen of partisanship, is in my opinion the most important reason for the necessity of this war…to free a country from the tyrannical grips of a fanatical lunatic.
Why all of a sudden, have people forgotten that Saddam Hussein was not going to voluntarily relinquish his grasp on Iraq and that military action was the only solution? Why don’t we hear politicians reminding us that we as the lone superpower in this world, had an obligation to enforce sanctions imposed by the United Nations ignored by Hussein’s Baath Party? We are bombarded by the politicians and media as to the lack of evidence of WMD and Hussein’s alleged link to the 9/11 attacks. Both of which were fundamental reasons for declaring this war by the Bush administration, and a declaration may I remind you, which was approved by America‘s elected, representative Congress. We are inundated with all the reasons why now, in retrospect, this was an illegitimate war. The question to ponder is this: Why don’t we hear any of the reasons reminding of us why we needed to go to war and should go to war? This is my answer…That Saddam Hussein was a despot cannot be argued. Along with this, is the fact that he would mercilessly murder his own family and countrymen if he felt threatened by them. For years, he scoffed at the United Nations and their sanctions because he could. Three presidential administrations recognized him as a major threat to national security and to various extents flexed America’s military muscle against his country. In short, he was a threat to his country and a threat to global security. These are the facts and are without refutation. Based on these, I can think of no better support for a declaration of war and at one time, our Congress thought so as well. But in an attempt to sway public opinion in our mindless society, politicians have chosen to replace these legitimate reasons for this war that can be proven, with the legitimate reasons that cannot be proven. And Americans are taking the bait; hook, line and sinker. They are in a forest without a single tree.
I mean, at some point in time, at least 2/3 of the Congress believed that a declaration of war was justified. But now I hear Congressmen who voted for a war declaration saying that we should immediately remove all American presence from Iraq. How irresponsible some of this countries leaders, and I use that term very loosely, are to suggest that America should no longer have a presence in Iraq. Regardless of the perceived errors in post-war planning that some believe the Bush administration has made in Iraq, to completely pull American forces out of Iraq at this moment, would only then cause a bad situation to become worse. It hurts me deeply to say this, but if we left Iraq in its current state, I would be ashamed of the country whose flag I followed into combat. How American would it be for us to abandon a people who have become dependent on our assistance as a result of a war which we declared? Since when do we turn our backs on a nation in need once we have committed ourselves to their care? We are so quick to pour billions of dollars in aid to countries in need as all this takes is a few signatures. But when the stakes are raised and the sacrifice to help a nation heal becomes American lives instead of American dollars, all of a sudden it is no longer worth the effort. This is not the ideals of my America. My America commits itself to a cause it deems worthy and if necessary, she is willing to send her sons and daughters to sacrifice their lives in defense of this cause. I can picture it:

Dear Iraq,
America is very sorry. We know that we have disbanded your entire military, nearly disrupted your countries entire infrastructure and abolished your former ruling political party. Know that we had the best of intentions when we first started. We now regret to inform you that we made a mistake and that your country’s rebuilding is going to take longer than we had initially anticipated. It is also resulting in more American deaths than we can handle. So it is with regretful hearts and deep pockets that we must abandon your country. We are however, a caring people. So as not to leave you entirely on your own, we proudly present you with this check for eighty billion dollars. Best of luck with the Syrians.

I am reminded of another group of people who were put to a similar test. This is what their apology letter may have read:

Dear Colonies,
Your forefathers are very sorry. We know that we have encouraged you to leave your homes in England, caused the death of many of your family members and placed you at the mercy of the most powerful military in existence. Know that we had the best of intentions when we first started. We now regret to inform you that we made a mistake and our country’s building is going to take longer than we had initially anticipated. It is also resulting in more colonialist’s deaths than we can handle. So it is with regretful hearts that we must abandon our plans to establish a free and democratic country. We are however, a caring people. Take as much of the new land as you wish. Best of luck with the red man.
Your Forefathers

How absurd. Come on America…wake up and think! Never in our history have we quit fighting for a cause that we have deemed worthy simply because its achievement was too difficult or costly. What a sad state of affairs we are in when now we question our resolve and look for the fastest and most cost-effective way out of a difficult situation. Maybe our country is traveling down the path of self-ruin. Maybe this is how our nation will create its own demise…through a lack of commitment and the message that this sends to the rest of the world. When we become a nation that seeks the path of least resistance, our time is fast coming to its end.
“We are involved in another Vietnam.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this war compared to the Vietnam conflict. Why is this? Is it because we naively anticipated a two week campaign and now we are going on the third year of this battle? If so, I say, “Who cares!” Who cares how long it takes to accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves in Iraq. My America neglects her goals and ideals for no man and especially not for a imaginary, unrealistic and most importantly, an unstated timetable. America’s resolve has been put to a test and to think that we may fail this test because it was not done as fast as some think it should have been deeply angers me. We have placed an entire country in a state of almost total dependence on us and now we are being urged to leave them to fend for themselves because it is taking too long? I would submit to you that to establish a timetable for our withdrawal from Iraq would be grievously irresponsible. You want a timetable? I echo my President when he says that our timetable is when our mission is accomplished and we have created an independent Iraq capable of self-rule, self-defense and self sustainment. Surly the comparison to Vietnam has not been made because we have not been making progress and are not holding ground as we win it. I cannot speak for the whole of the country, but I can speak for the area of operations in which I am currently serving. We have rid four major cities of hundreds of insurgents. And guess what, weeks after the offensives, we are still in these cities and have committed ourselves to the residents of these cities for months to come.
I do not know what the end-game will be in Iraq. I have no idea how much longer we will be here. I do know that I am thankful that our nation has been blessed with a president who is a man of commitment and I am honored to serve under him and with him. And take it from a man who has been on the front lines of the battle against terrorism, it is a war that we are more than capable of winning if we commit ourselves to finishing what we have started. I am honored to be an American, and I hope, regardless of what the Monday morning quarterbacks may say from the sidelines, that America will remain as steadfast as the men who gave America her freedom. Freedom was not free for them, nor is it now.


Barb said...

Excellent writing! I can't stand the thought of abandoning a worthy cause because we got distracted or lost resolve. Thanks for saying that so well!!

Sgt. B. said...

I'm not one to grunt and point and say, "What he said..."
But you are spot on with these words. We would be a sorry nation indeed, to turn back now.
The fact that this is a common refrain from bloggers who are currently deployed indicates that, despite what the naysayers present, the mission must be continued to its conclusion.
Glad to see that you hung out your own blog-shingle, welcome to the dark side of the force!
Give your partner a good ear-skritching, would you? Ol' Bingo is a soldier too, and you're a lucky soul indeed to have a partner you can snuggle up to during the cold nights, and not worry about what anyone else says... *grin*
All the best to both of you, and I will look forward to reading your future posts!
Stay safe, wear your vest (both of you), keep the faith, and we'll see you when you come home!
To you: Semper Fi.
To Bingo: Urf! (Semper Fi in canine)

Huntress said...

*Stands up and applauds* Thank you for sharing your heartfelt honest passionate thoughts.

I consider myself lucky to have come to know both Barb and Sgt B. through the blogsphere, and through them I have found your blog. 3x lucky!

Sgt B will testify that I have a soft spot in my heart for Marines.

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

You've got a new blogfan...I'll be back! Great pics!

Semper Fi, Marine Man!
Semper Woof, Bingo....

You know Bingo looks very very familiar. Has Bingo served with another Marine unit in Iraq?

Ron said...

Though not as eloquent ,ellegant or well spoken as you and others... I would like to say that as your cousin , I'm proud of you and as a fellow American I'm thankful to you and " Bingo "( and everyone else who has tasked themselves with defending our counrty )for protecting us .I couldn't begin to thank you enough .Come home safe ( both of you ) Your in our thoughts and prayers!

Anonymous said...

My Heart goes out to All Our Military, Our Military Families, Our Leaders (Especially President Bush!), and Our Country for what we are fighting for. No, we can't abandon what we have started. God Bless You and Your Fellow Service Men and Women who are Making a HUGE DIFFERENCE. If the ones who are against the war had to live there, they would want you there protecting them. I say we send out an Special Invitation to All Americans Against the War, "COME FOR A VIST & STAY, IF YOU LIKE!"
I would bet they would be looking for the exit door. Don't let a Few People who Know Nothing Say Something to try and tear you all down, Keep the Faith! You All are Our Heroes! You Have My Support & Prayers and My God Watch Over You All and Bring You Home to Your Families and A Country who Love & Support All That You Do!

MCPO__Retired said...

Semper Fi really do get it and it makes me wonder in this society of where Patriots like you come from. I just so pround that you are there looking out for the rest of us.