Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Is There an End in Sight?

Today marks death number 2,000 for U.S. troops in Iraq. It is not a huge number by any standard of war, but realize that those are 2,000 men and women, all who had families. They were sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. It is so easy to dismiss these deaths if you are not impacted by them directly, but to do so only confirms Joseph Stalin's immortal quote that "one death is a tragedy, a million are a statistic." President Bush warned today that more troops will be killed in Iraq. More families will have to deal with the fact that their loved ones may not come home.

A new poll shows that for the first time since the war began, the majority of Americans (currently around 53%) believe that bringing the troops home safely is more important than ensuring the democratization of Iraq.

After many conversations with a good friend of mine who is currently serving in Tal-Afar, Iraq, I strongly believe that pulling out of Iraq as quickly as possible is in our best interest, (and more specifically, in the troops' best interest). My friend has been exposed to horrors that can never be captured by the media; no photos, video, or words will ever be able to describe what he will constantly see in his mind. Even though I am hopeful that my friend will come back alive, I know that he will still be dead in many ways. His old self, a joyful, vibrant teenager, will have been replaced by a scared, calloused man I have never met.

While I believe that great strides are being made in Iraq, I fear that there is no time table to bring our troops home; even Condoleezza Rice, in testimony before Congress last week, could not speculate as to whether US troops would still be needed in Iraq a decade from now. Ten years more?! We can do better. There must be a definitive plan to relinquish control of the country to the Iraqi forces. Even more alarming is the speculation that our next target(s) could be Syria or Iran. We need to recover from this war before playing the big bully of the world again.

With a mounting death toll in Iraq and dwindling public support for the war, President Bush must think of a new message besides the increasingly stale "stay the course". President Bush got us into Iraq, and yet it will most likely be another president's legacy to get us out. It is a shame that the President made such immense decisions without realizing the conesequences of his actions.

I am glad Saddam is out of power, but at what cost?