July 01, 2006

 

Nail, meet hammer, vol. I

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I've decided to inject this blog with an occasional series of commentaries and editorials that have struck me, like a hammer to a nail, in a particularly strong way. With some I may offer up my opinion and others, like this inaugural volume, speak for themselves (with some help from Mr. Young at the end).

This commentary has a great title and it speaks for me most accurately - especially the last sentence of the ninth paragraph.


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Friday, June 30, 2006

There comes a time
By Randy Tucker, headmaster of Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga


Like most Americans, I have followed the occupation of Iraq with a passion that rests deep in my soul.

I am told by my family not to talk about the war with my friends. I watch television with a mixture of pride and pain, for I am very proud of the young men and women we have sent to Iraq, and yet I am in pain as I watch the numbers of our dead and wounded rise each day.

I listen to the all-too-familiar "stay the course" speeches and "cut and run" accusations. And all of it, all of it, causes my mind to wander to days earlier in my life when we fought in another distant place.

For a while in those days, we were applauded as crusaders for freedom. We did our duty over and over, but in the end, the people of South Vietnam did not prove themselves strong enough to accept the burdensome responsibilities of democracy. Fifty-eight thousand American dead later, we left, and we had accomplished very little.

We could have "stayed the course," I guess. We could have stayed another seven years and lost 50,000 or so more of our children, I guess. We could have spent another trillion dollars in that desolate place, I guess. But I wonder what we would have achieved?

As it was, the Communists didn’t take over the world as we were warned they would. Even though we were told over and over again by our political leaders, our security and our futures weren’t at stake in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Our leaders made us feel unpatriotic if we ever questioned their decisions. They made us out to be cowards when we asked what it was that we were accomplishing. So, finally and wisely, we quit listening to our leaders.

After being unwise for so many years, we came home to a divided and weakened America. Weakened not by an enemy, but by our nationalistic pride — a pride that would not let us say, "There comes a time."

Now that more than 2,500 Americans have died, and more than 20,000 men and women have been wounded, I believe it is time to ask ourselves whether "there comes a time" in Iraq, too.

Nothing I have seen has made me believe the Sunnis and the Shiites are going to trust one another enough to form a viable democracy in the foreseeable future. Nothing I have seen offers encouragement that if the Sunnis and Shiites have a miraculous reconciliation, that they won’t then turn on the Kurds as they have done so often over the years. Importantly, nothing I have seen has proven our government’s position that Iraq was a dire threat to our security.

For the sake of both our children and our treasure it is time for us to say as a nation, "the time is close at hand." Iraq must stand on its own feet, and if it has the will to do so, it can survive.

We have rid it of a dictator, but if the people of Iraq cannot put aside hatred and religious bigotry, then democracy will not thrive. They must decide to stop hating. They must decide to stop killing. It simply will not matter how long we stay. They will hate and kill after our humvees drive by. Our continued military presence cannot and will not end the hatred in Iraq. Nor will our presence help create a climate of reconciliation.

My most fervent hope is that the people of Iraq will value the opportunity they have been provided and that the sacrifices our country has made will provide the fertile ground of another great democracy. I will support our diplomatic and financial efforts to encourage freedom for the Iraqi people, but the time is coming when the killing of Americans must end.

I believe this time around, we must not abandon our children and our treasure to nationalistic pride. This time, those who call us unpatriotic must not cow us. This time, we must make the wise decisions that an earlier generation could not. We must be wise enough to recognize when we have done our duty and offered our sacrifices.

This I believe.
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Indeed

Comes a time when you're driftin'
Comes a time when you settle down
Comes a light feelin's liftin'
Lift that baby right up off the ground

Oh, this old world keeps spinning round
It's a wonder tall trees ain't layin' down
There comes a time.

You and I we were captured
We took our souls and we flew away
We were right we were giving
That's how we kept what we gave away

Oh, this old world keeps spinning round
It's a wonder tall trees ain't layin' down
There comes a time.

Comments:
I'm very conflicted. If we did not start this war I would agree fully with this man. Fact is we started this war based on a lie and now it would be wrong to just leave without setting things right. That being said, I still am torn between our duty to right a wrong of our own making and the desire to get our young men and women out of harm's way. Maybe, in the final analysys we must admit our mistake, leave, and ask the world and Iraq to forgive us for this stupid war that has nothing to do with Al-Qeada, the war on terror, and everything about a son settling a score against a man who "tried to kill my dad".
 
Very thought-provoking post. To me the most frightening thing about the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and the "war" on terror as it's been dubbed, is that we're fighting against people who believe they are fighting for their God. Fighting to the death is an honor for them. Taking the lives of Christians, Jews and Westerners -- and taking their own lives in the process -- is an honor for them. How can you "win" a war like that? While it's certainly more similar to Vietnam than it is WWII or WWI, it's still frighteningly more complex because we're not fighting against a country, we're fighting against a religion. I believe that is an unwinable war.
 
Jeff, It is winnable, but in doing so we would have to adopt tactics that are against our values. We could do like the Nazis and round up 100 Iraqis every time one of our troops is killed and behead them live on Al-Jazira, or we could just carpet bomb the Sunni Triangle until it is so much fused glass, or we could bury the body of every insurgent we kill in pig fat and pig feces. They would stop if we did that. I don't think the religion aspect is as strong as they would like us to believe, but if it is, using these kind of tactics would make them stop. We could also go nuclear to show Iran we are not playing if they would like a piece of this, too.
Being that Americans in general (myself included) have no stomach for this, I don't think we can "win" in Iraq.
I don't think Afgahnistan is a lost cause, though. If we had the troops from Iraq over there, we could secure the country and keep a strong presence on the border to stop infiltration by the Taliban and Al-Queda. If I were king, that's what I would have done. Finish one war before you start another.
 
This is Randy Tucker responding. Thank you for posting my editorial. I endorse the carpet bombing and pig feces approach, srongly! I also enjoyed the bestiality and nigger references from earlier in your postings.
 
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