Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Danger of ambivalence

In a recent column in the SeattleTime's, Danny Westneat describes the homecoming for a soldier returning from Iraq. In short, there was none. He arrived without fanfare, without protest, to nothing.

The war, which now has lasted longer than the Korean conflict and soon (this fall) will have a duration longer than our military involvement in WWII, has drifted to the status of: "out of sight, out of mind." We've put ourselves into this mindset because we don’t have another choice. Most Americans believe the war is a mistake, so they can't bring themselves to celebrate everything military. But at the same time, they understand that we can't leave without sacrificing hundreds of innocent Iraqis and allowing terrorists to grow more powerful, so they aren't going to protest either.

While I don't fault the general populous for turning away from the war and the giant problem it presents, I do fault the President and the Congress for failing to debate or come up with a plan. This "stay the course until something better happens" doesn't even fit the definition of a plan.

Perhaps, however, I'm too critical. There have been some positive devlopments and it appears that the new gov't of Iraq is at least attempting to take some control. However, as someone who remembers what it was like to have his brother serve overseas in the first gulf war and see his mother pine for his return (and why do we say the first gulf war, are we expecting there to be several more?), to tell our troops that in 18 months Iraq might be capable of supporting itself and we'll just have to wait and see, doesn't seem like a very good answer to our troops.

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