Friday, October 14, 2005

So, what IS total victory?

Watched the President's staged teleconference again, and noticed a few things. First of all, watching again showed how stilted it was, and how the soldiers' "carefully prepared" responses sounded off-base. If anyone (besides Scottie) tries to deny it was, that satellite feed from the Pentagon themselves is a real killer for that line.

More importantly, President Bush repeated his line from last week's terrorism speech in which he said we would not leave Iraq until we achieved total victory. Just wondering, what does that mean? He never gives us a clear answer to any of this because he always says that saying it would "aid the terrorists."

Let's forget them for a minute, and remember that the President's first duty is to protect us, to serve us. We want answers, and at a 39% approval rating, I don't think he's in a position to say no. This sounds very much like Richard Nixon's "peace with honor" claim about Vietnam, and we ended up leaving with our tail between our legs.

I supported this war, I stood there and said Bush is right, let's do this thing. I wrote it in columns for my newspaper. I was convinced after Colin Powell went to the U.N. and gave that presentation. I prayed we would get support, but felt it wouldn't happen. I was surprised we went when we did, and with so few troops (having remembered when the first Gulf War started. I was sitting at the kitchen table doing homework, watching TV, and the Special Report came up with the footage. I have an archive of that whole war in newspapers).

I've stood by our effort there for a long time, but now I am coming down the hill. I am finding it increasingly hard to believe in an effort in which I've seen a friend get wounded, in which we have undersupported our soldiers in armor and in numbers, in which a theory on less troops being needed has been blown to hell and yet we still don't increase the number of troops.

I'll admit that I've vacillated a little on whether we just withdraw or keep going on, but let's throw this one out too. I mentioned this in a posting some time back, and I'll say it again. Maybe we need to throw an extra 100,000 troops in there and accelerate our training of these forces. The Saudis have plenty of open desert in which we could set up a training ground and get this thing going. Iraqis are afraid to train in their country because being with us is hazardous to their health right now. We have to make the situation better, because at some point, we face a definite fork in the road: stay in Iraq forever and earn their enmity and lose troops in increasing numbers, or bail out and leave a problem behind.

This is hard for me. I feel like I got behind an effort that was run poorly, that was politically motivated, that has made us less safe, and is killing our economy. I'm not sure what to do, but there has to be something better than this mess, and if the President can't describe total victory to us, then we need to get us a Congress that can define it for him.


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