Iraq’s most famous blogger, Omar from Iraqthemodel.com expresses confusion at recent Congressional action on Iraq:
“Just as we began to see signs of progress in my country the Democrats come and say ‘well, it’s not worth it, so it’s time to leave’. Evidently to them my life and the lives of twenty five million Iraqis are not worth trying for…”
It’s a stunning quote. It’s hard to come up with an answer to Omar for the actions of those in Congress whom I’m ashamed to call my countrymen. There are many truly inconvenient truths that war opponents prefer not to discuss.
Sixty-five percent of Americans supported the war going in. I was not among them, but when we went in, I wrote the following on the eve of the war:
“That support for our President and our troops must not be abated because of high causalities. This is the risk of war. If we look at a loss of military life and we say, ‘For 10,000 lives, it’s not worth it,’ we should not send them at all. Support our troops, remain steadfast in standing behind this war. Retreat is not option, only victory or defeat.”
What is at stake in Iraq is not only the lives of the Iraqi people, but the honor of the United States of America. If we leave Iraq, we will never have the credibility to wage war again no matter the circumstance, we’ll become the new France, known as cowards who run, and as a worst, a people without honor.
When I try and explain this, I’m given blank stares. After some thought, I’ve reached a conclusion. We’ve become to apply the laxity of our personal lives to our views of national affairs.
In a country of no-fault divorces and disposable marriage, we’ve forgotten the meaning of commitment. All the time, marriages break up for reasons as stupid as “the music died.” As a society, we’ve learned to say many things we don’t mean or won’t have the guts to follow through on when things get tough. We escape in order to avoid hard and uncomfortable work that’ll be necessary to preserve the marriage and sanity in the lives of our children.
While divorce is sometimes necessary, the flippant nature with which our society has embraced it leads us to a point where most American civilians have no grasp of commitment. Our military gets it, so do the Iraqis. Our covenant with the Iraqi people has been sealed by the blood of more than 3,000 American soldiers, and thousands of Iraqi soldiers, policemen, and innocent men, women, and children who have perished at the hands of terrorists. Our soldiers want to finish their job. While those who only watch the evening news tremble, our soldiers re-enlist in record numbers. They heed the words of Lincoln, “and from these honored dead, take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.” They refuse to let these deaths be in vain, so they fight on through the attacks of foreign terrorists who’ve overrun Iraq, a poisonous atmosphere of death and mayhem where they can’t tell friend from foe, and most painful of all, the lack of confidence in them expressed by the American media and a squishy coalition of Americans without honor.
I won’t argue that we made the right decision to go into Iraq. That was yesterday’s argument, which we can debate with 20/20 hindsight. Today, the issue is whether we’ll honor our commitment to millions of Iraqis who have dreamed of freedom, or through our premature withdrawal bring utter and complete darkness on a land that we promised freedom to.
While, we must make changes to our Iraq policy, running away is not the answer. There is no “good divorce” in Iraq, only a swath of death. Those who think otherwise, have gotten a divorce from reality.