Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Politics in a Time of War

Well, the Global War on Terror is nearly a decade old. It's also referred to as "The Long War". Based on what I see in the news, the war continues but our nation's will to fight it is diminishing. 

The politicians want to bring the troops home. Being a retired soldier who was deployed to Iraq, I can honestly say that every deployed soldier wants to come home. However, most servicemen and women want to see the fruits of their labor and service; they don't want it to be for nothing. They like to finish the job.

Why do the politicians want to bring the troops home? Is it because they honestly feel the American people want out of Iraq and Afghanistan? If it's true that the majority of Americans want the war to end, then they have spoken, and our elected leaders need to act on Americans' wishes. If ending the war is merely a political stunt to get elected or re-elected, then that's irresponsible.

This war has been compared to Vietnam; that we are stuck in a quagmire with no end in sight. I was only a child during that time, but I honestly believe that the conflict in Southeast Asia was totally different from our current war. Vietnam was our attempt to stop a Communist takeover of the globe. During the Sixties, the battle cry of the Hawks was, "If we don't fight them in Vietnam, we'll have to fight them in San Diego."

Here's a bulletin: We are fighting them in San Diego! The followers of Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are constantly probing our infrastructure for weaknesses to exploit as they did on September 11, 2001. They attack us because we are the "Great Satan", and they would like nothing less than our total destruction. They know how to prey upon our weaknesses in security and our open society. And the political infighting and bickering that permeates Washington, DC? The bad guys love it! Because if we're fighting amongst ourselves, we're not fighting them.

As someone who has been in war, I can attest that our serviceman and women would like nothing more than peace in the World. No soldier enjoys the idea of taking another's life, or being away from their loved ones for months at a time, or taking cover in a bunker and praying that the next rocket doesn't land near. Anyone who says they do needs to see a shrink or was never in combat. 
However, our politicians think nothing of playing with the lives of our military men and women, using them as pawns in their games of getting elected.

Case in point: as soon as President Obama came into office, the Republican Party wasted no time in transferring ownership of the War on Terror to the new occupants of the White House. "OK, Mr. President; what are you going to to about Iraq and Afghanistan?" Never mind that the Republicans got us in there in the first place.

When President Bush made the case for invading Iraq, every member of Congress was given detailed intelligence estimates on Iraq, showing how much Saddam Hussein was a threat. Of course, once Iraq descended into chaos, everyone in Congress who voted to go to war switched gears and said that they had been duped and that we had no business being there. And of course, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after the world outcry over waterboarding, insisted that she hadn't been informed of the practice and had never condoned it. The CIA said otherwise.

dis·in·gen·u·ous/ˌdisinˈjenyo͞oəs/ Adjective: Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does. 

 That's a new word I've learned. Maybe we need to let the politicians chew on another one: term limits.

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