Monday, December 19, 2011

Out of Iraq

I'm told that the last of our troops left Iraq today. That's probably not true. If we've got an embassy, some poor Marine is still on watch, and some good Army supply sergeant is inventorying sheets in the supply room.

However, the narrative is that the last troop left Iraq today. President Obama has kept his promise to have the troops out by Christmas, and may God have mercy on the Iraqi people.

My war was Desert Storm. We had troops near Baghdad, superbly trained combat troops who had just defeated everything that Saddam Hussein had in the desert. The way was clear to Baghdad and George HW Bush shut us down. Told us to stop in place. We could have ended it in another couple of days, but he bowed to coalition pressure to let a madman stay in power. If we'd gone to Baghdad and killed Hussein, we might have averted this whole chapter. But we didn't. We turned around and came home.

You see, as a soldier, I don't care much for politicians though I am subordinate to them. One of our great strengths as a nation is that the military is absolutely subordinate to the civil authority. The military goes where it is sent and does what it is ordered to do. HW Bush sent us into the desert to destroy an army. Once that army was destroyed, we looked longingly toward the source of the evil and HW told us that we had done what we were sent to do, that we were not allowed to destroy the head of the hydra, only to kill the body. I believe that was the greatest mistake of his presidency.

Now another president has taken us out of Iraq. Let history observe that this is the second time we've left Iraq in my lifetime, and let's remember that a second trip should not have been necessary. Let us rejoice that the troops are coming home, but pray God that we don't have to make a third trip.

1 comment:

The Old Man said...

I hear you talkin', amigo. I felt the stupidity when GHWB didn't let you go to bagda - because we'd lose troops patrolling there.
My war was in the RVN - '69-71. Like our present troops, we had a victory stolen and sold for political advantage.
Re-elect no one....