Guest Column: Right response: Reasons to stay in Iraq

After having read Mr. Campbell’s most recent screed about running from the enemy in Iraq, I felt compelled to respond to the 10 points he draws from The Nation article from 2004.

1) Human costs keep increasing. Yes, well, this is a war. And yet our casualties, although significant to each family affected, are negligible from the perspective not only of previous wars but also previous periods of peacetime. For example, between 1993 and 1996, the U.S. military experienced more casualties in peacetime (4,302) than we have experienced in the current war from 2003 to the present (3,498 killed and wounded).

2) Iraqis aren’t better off. Apparently, the elimination of Saddam Hussein, who gassed his own people, violated U.N. sanctions resulting in the economic deprivation of millions of Iraqis, and brutally oppressed the Shiite majority, has all been without effect. And that is apart from the fact that now millions can choose their own leaders, direct their own destiny, and hold their government accountable. Interesting assessment given that Iraqis live in a nation whose rate of violence, IEDs included, is less than that of most large American cities.

3) It’s bankrupting America. There are many things bankrupting America; chief among them are greedy Americans. Does Mr. Campbell’s prescription for fiscal responsibility extend to the Medicare and Social Security programs, which represent a current unfunded liability of $55 trillion? Iraq doesn’t even amount to pocket change by comparison.

4) Halliburton’s war profiteering. To date, there have been no congressional investigations into “Halliburton’s war profiteering,” nor have there been any indictments of any officers of the Halliburton Corporation. Given the fact that most prosecutors in this country could get a ham sandwich indicted if they chose to do so, this does not bode well for Mr. Campbell’s point.

5) The “coalition” is fleeing. Isn’t it interesting that the “fig leaf” coalition leftists in this country have consistently condemned for years is now so important that when any one of its members withdraws, we must conclude our effort is unworthy, fruitless, and we, too, must run for the hills?

6) Al-Qaeda is growing. I have no doubt Al-Qaeda is growing, as it has been growing for decades; the only difference between the past and the present is that now a recognized and growing threat is being combated. Does Mr. Campbell actually believe that the reasons for Al-Qaeda growth would diminish once we began to fight them? Unfortunately, our enemies are not as foolish as many of our “cut and run” contemporaries.

7) Draining first responders from our communities. If Mr. Campbell can point to any citizen of this country who has died since 2003 because their first responders were all over in Iraq fighting, I’d appreciate seeing their names. Moreover, the problems associated with New Orleans were not the result of the Iraq War; they were the failure of gross incompetence and criminal negligence focused in Ray Nagin all the way up to, and including, the governor of Louisiana.

8) Our troops torture. Out of the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers putting their lives on the line every day, there were two dozen criminals who have been tried and punished. As a former infantry officer, I find this lie promoted by the likes of Sen. Dick Durbin and promulgated by Mr. Campbell as the basest form of political opportunism ever forwarded by any traitor in the annals of American history.

9) More Americans oppose the war. Americans in general hate war. We are a peaceful people, unless threatened or attacked. The fact that more Americans oppose the war is hardly surprising. Wars are never popular, but in a time of national survival, they become a necessary evil. War is a matter much too dangerous to engage in because it is momentarily popular, and much too dangerous to run from because it is momentarily unpopular.

10) “Sovereignty” has not been transferred to Iraq. This statement was accurate three years ago, but since then, Iraq has held elections, written a constitution, seated an interim government, elected a parliament, a prime minister, and continued training an army. Given that it took the American colonies eight years to fight and conclude a war for independence and then another six years to form an interim government, write and ratify a constitution, perhaps we ought to work a little harder at patience. Since Iraq has now accomplished in the space of four years during a period of war what it took us six years to accomplish during relative peace, perhaps Mr. Campbell could cut the Iraqis and this administration some slack!

Taylor C. Grant is a Rockford resident and a former Army infantry officer who served from 1989 to1993.

from the June 27-July 4, 2007, issue

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