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Monday, April 24, 2006

Bring Them Home 

Longtime readers know that I rarely write on political topics here. But the situation in Iraq is more than just politics. The situation in Iraq will impact this country and the world for decades to come. I've watched the situation for years now, read all that I could, and talked to returning soldiers. Slowly, inexorably, I've come to the conclusion that it is time to bring our soldiers home.

I've long been sympathetic to the argument that we shouldn't "cut and run". You shouldn't invade another country and leave the place in chaos. But I now think that there will be chaos no matter when we leave. We've reached the point where American presence is no longer valuable.

Its time to bring them home.

I say this as someone who supported the first Gulf War and various other American interventions around the world. I am no dreamy eyed pacifist who believe that bad people will do the right thing if you just sing John Lennon songs to them. Judicious use of American military power can help make the world a better place. Our continuous presence in Iraq will not.

Its time to bring them home.

The American military has done a magnificent job. They won the war against one of the world's largest armies with minimal casualties. Some of our finest young men and women have answered their country's call and served in Afghanistan and in Iraq. But winning a war and occupying another country indefinitely are two different things. If we stay there, I believe that years down the road we will still be reading stories about roadside bombs killing young American soldiers. For what purpose? Enough.

Its time to bring them home.

We've occupied Iraq for several years now. They've had elections and formed a government. We've given them a chance to build toward their future. The bloodshed continues and will continue into the forseeable future. It is their country, and Iraqis will decide when they've tired of killing each other and want to live in peace.

Its time to bring them home.

Iraq has become a homing beacon for the world's terrorist fanatics. As long as we are there they will keep coming. Its not being afraid. Its using common sense. Its time to send the terrorists scurrying somewhere else.

Its time to bring them home.

Occupying a foreign nation has always placed a drain on the occupier and cannot forever hold. Ask the Romans. Ask Alexander the Great. Ask the British. History teaches us that long occupations are untenable. No one likes to live under occupation by a foreign army. I wouldn't. You wouldn't. Friendly or not, I'd want them to go home. Most of the Iraqi people want us to leave. We've outstayed our welcome. We either have to pour many thousands more soldiers in there and totally subjugate the country or we have to leave. I say leave.

Its time to bring them home.

If anyone should be helping keep peace and order in Iraq other than Iraqis themselves, it should be the United Nations. Yes, I know that the U.N. has been historically ineffective and corrupt. But the issue of Iraq should be a worldwide problem with a worldwide solution. Other nations have been critical of our postwar occupation. Some of their criticisms have been legitimate and others have not. In either case, its time for the rest of the world to step up. Its time for us to step out.

Its time to bring them home.

The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in power. He was a bloodthirsty, troublemaking, meglomaniac with delusions of grandeur. He attacked his neighbors and slaughtered large numbers of his own people. He is on trial now in Iraq. This is where he should be tried for his crimes. He is answering to his own people. We got him out of power. Our job is done.

Its time to bring them home.

The WMDs that were the causus belli of this war were never found. They existed to some degree in the years before the war, but were no longer present when American soldiers arrived. The reason for our intervention is gone. So is our cause for staying there.

Its time to bring them home.

This isn't about politics at all. I've voted for presidents of both parties and will probably do so again in the future. I'm an independent minded voter who thinks that party labels are just that.....labels. The political consequences are irrelevant to me. I don't care who looks bad or who was right and who was wrong.

Its time to bring them home.

It is said that we must occupy Iraq to spread democracy. You can't impose democracy from the end of an M-16. The Iraqi people either want a democratic, free society or they don't. We can't force them to do it. They've had free elections now. They have a democracy. Whether or not they keep it is up to them.

Its time to bring them home.

Many of the Iraqi people are grateful that we deposed Saddam Hussein. They aren't grateful that we are patrolling their streets, arresting their relatives, and occupying their nation. If a neighbor comes to your home and helps you with a problem you are grateful. It doesn't mean that you want him to move in and run your house. Most of our soldiers have been consummate professionals. But they are still occupiers and now have become targets. Every day we stay there makes many ordinary Iraqis more resentful of our presence.

Its time to bring them home.

No more American soldiers should die in Iraq. There are things worth fighting for and causes worth dying for. The untenable occupation of Iraq is not one of those causes. The soldiers have done their job and done it bravely. They deserve the thanks of a grateful nation for their efforts. What they don't deserve is for any more of their brethren to die there.

Its time to bring them home.

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