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April 9, 2008

This is not a thought through post. It’s way late and I’m about 2 minutes from going to bed. But I saw this headline on and checked it. This guy was born in 1981, the same year I was born. And now, he’s dead. That, my friends, is heavy.

Navy SEAL paid ultimate price to save buddies

The quote that got me: “Bush quoted one of the SEALS saved by Mansoor as saying, ‘Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, “You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.”‘”

Steph and I watched a PBS documentary the other night following a group of soldiers who typically do convoy escort patrols. After seeing that, hearing the depression and exhaustion and seemingly fruitless results, combined with an article like the one above, I question our continued involvement. I know it’s war and it’s gruesome and living hell and death is part of it. We stormed in, got rid of the dictator, got a semi-stable government setup who is now in the process of consolidating and maintaining governing authority. I’m all for those things. And to a certain extent, glad we could accomplish those things, even with the terrible loss of life (all, not just U.S.). But man, at what point do we just say that it’s time to go and have them govern themselves wholly? I think we need to leave. It’s been five years. I know there is still resistance and upheaval and constant death and danger. But this can’t go on five more years.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2008 2:53 am

    That is a pretty sobering article. These guys are all younger than me.

    The Occupation of Japan lasted from ’45 to early ’52, with the Allies running the show from 45 to 49, and the Japanese stepping in more and more after that. And that was considered rushed, since we were gearing up in Korea, and wanted Japan back up and running ASAP. And to do that, SCAP kept in place a lot of the wartime government setup, even letting Class-C war criminals back into governing positions. So, there’s a 10 year length of war to end of occupation there, and the Japanese Occupation went fairly smoothly, all things considered.

    I think it’s a part of the statement “war is hell”; the adjustment back to peace is never fast and never easy, no matter the length of the fight. I’m not with McCain and his 100 years if necessary approach, but I don’t think we can leave yet. The central government is getting better, but it’s not quite there yet, I think. Soon, but it’s not something that can be rushed.

    Of course, in my opinion the Occupation of Japan was a bit of a failure. It soon resorted back to being a continuation of the Tokugawa-bakufu, and still is today in many ways. I’d rather not see Iraq redescend into dictatorship and sectarianism, and maybe continued presence there is needed. It’s a complex issue.

  2. Joel Thomas permalink
    April 9, 2008 11:20 am

    Yeah, I’ve been feeling a little on the disillusioned side of things as well. Certainly as a country the US has some sort of responsibility because of it’s power but where do we find a balance? I think we’ve got some things to learn from some of the European countries….however I don’t think we can leave just yet. We’re in the middle of a big problem which I don’t think can be solved quickly. If we were to leave now I think it would create a power vacuum-I think we should be looking to get out sooner than later but we also have a responsibility to help clean things up. I think a few weeks ago I saw something on the news about Osama bin Laden noting how perfect of a place Iraq is know for Al Qaeda. If this is truly a possibility we can’t leave yet until things are stabilized.

  3. Neal permalink
    April 9, 2008 12:35 pm

    The Navy set up a website for him to honor his sacrifice. It was really moving to go through the photo album.

    It is really hard, or heavy, when you can relate a bit of yourself in the loss of a fine soldier. Allen, for you this time it is his age that made the connection. As a member of the Patriot Guard Riders I often struggle with my emotions after an honor mission, especially when the soldier is my age, has children, or is the same age (or younger) as my brother who is deployed right now in Afghanistan. It makes me ever thankful for their service, and willingness to enlist.

    I don’t know if Iraq is or was a good move. Time will provide that answer. What I do believe is that we didn’t have a complete plan for post occupation of Iraq. If they did, it sure appears as though it has been poorly executed. I would tend to lean towards too many politicians getting in the way, which probably costs more lives. I think Afghanistan has been a success, as witnessed by the amount of positive work people like my brother have blogged about while over there. But then again, time will give us a better answer down the road. We should remind ourselves that stuff like this does take time. We can’t “microwave” the new government…it’s more of a crock-pot.

  4. April 9, 2008 6:15 pm

    Whether going to Iraq was a good move or not is decided by whether we made a good decision or not. All time will provide is an answer as to whether we’ll screw this up or not. Or put another way – time will provide us the results of our decisions, which reveal our priorities.

    If we did have a plan, it sure appears as though our leaders didn’t anticipate all of the consequences, and that instead of forging ahead with the original plan all along, they altered their strategy and adapted to the situation with the same goals in mind.

    Yes, terror groups that hate the U.S. want Iraq to be their haven when we’re gone. And their survival is what is at stake. Our troop levels have decreased at no greater rate than the increase in Iraqi security, leaving no appreciable difference on the ground. Politically, the message is “Bush is in charge, and he accepts the recommendations of his commanders.” And that is why the surge has worked.

    If that political message changes to “ObamaHillaryMcCain is in charge, we will stay as long as necessary, but want to see all of our boys home by Christmas 2010,” then our enemies will do their best to undermine all that has been accomplished and wait for the last pullout. They will wait for it.

    And that is why no matter who is President next year, they will not pull out troops as fast as they may have said they’d like to. No one wants to be the one in power as the last go home too early and CF that will cause. At least McCain is sending the right kind of message. He’s already thinking like a commander here. From the enemies’ perspective, we should be willing to stay “100 years.” Time is not the issue. The task at hand is.

  5. April 10, 2008 9:52 pm

    I appreciate each of you sharing your thoughts. I’m trying to process them, but it’s been an exhausting long day. I’ll shoot for commenting again this weekend. In the mean time, check out the Mr T post.

  6. Brandon permalink
    April 14, 2008 4:43 am

    I’ve got buddies that are either over there right now or scheduled to ship out. It’s scary, because I think both of them are younger than me.

    One of my history professors last quarter made an interesting comment. He expressed that if a draft were in effect right now, Iraq either wouldn’t have happened or we’d be out in the streets causing a bigger fuss in order to force it’s end, since anyone could be called to serve and would rather not have to fight and possibly die for something they don’t necessarily agree with.

    I agree with Fogey. The war will continue as long as the Establishment feels like it needs to whether that takes five or one hundred years. Overthrowing Saddam’s government was the easy part. Now we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, hosed whether we stay or don’t. While I don’t particularly like McCain, at least he’s being honest. No one is going to take the troops out as soon as they say they are, and I’d bet my bottom dollar (which isn’t much, and thus safe to say) that if we ever leave, we’re leaving a garrison of troops or a military base there to “ensure security in the region.”

    I hate war and violence and killing, all the result of sin and its entrance into the world. Us stinkin’ humans just can’t seem to get along with one another. I wish it were as simple as just bringing soldiers everywhere home and washing our hands of the situation. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

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