My attempt to end the war in Iraq

Photo: GETTY IMAGES PHOTO/CHRIS HONDROS

I really don't know what to do. I do however know what to say.

The election has come and gone. We are no safer, no better off, and Bush is handing out medals and cabinet posts to the folks who have helped keep us in a country half a world away to PROTECT US FROM NOTHING. NO WMDs, kids. Not one. I don't know about you but I'm done with all of it.

I am tired of seeing images that will haunt me till the end of my days. The picture above is of two children who's parents we killed because of a roadside misunderstanding. As a parent I just can't fathom what hell those kids will go through in the future. It doesn't surprise me to hear that folks in foreign lands don't like us when they see such pictures. Self-loathing aside, this is not about making us beloved worldwide it's about doing the right thing - picking up and heading home. For that matter, pick up and head to Thailand or Sri Lanka or any country that could use strong men to rebuild a country that doesn't involve guns, missiles or embargos on pictures of caskets.

I have written my congress persons. I have called my Senator. I have given money to campaigns. I have used TrueMajority, MoveOn and just about any other grassroots call-to-action sites. It's not working.

In a recent conversation with my Dad, a Vietnam War vet, I asked him what he thought about the war back when he was serving? Did he think they were doing the right thing? He told me that he read the 'Stars and Stripes' paper and talked primarily to other servicemen. In Honolulu where he was stationed when he wasn't trawling the Pacific, the local news did little to report on protests and the mood on the mainland.

I hope that's not true today. I hope our soldiers know that we support them, and in supporting them - want them to know what is really going on back at home. That there are growing problems, that the administration is taking every opportunity to divert focus to invented problems like Syria and Iran. I hope they know what is going on in all areas of Iraq. Many soldiers and reporters are keeping blogs and staying in contact via email. Perhaps they should let their superiors know how THEY feel. If you know a soldier, I hope you tell them the truth. That their lives are too valuable to be wasted in this war and that we would rather have them home.

Comments

Duncan said…
One thing you should know to do: read a little bit more than you are now.

Thailand is pretty much the leader in child prostitution in the world. Great choice, considering your concern for children. And oh, there's a Muslim insurgency there in the south of the country. Fairly violent. Lots of guns.

Sri Lanka is in the middle of a 20 year civil war, resulting in a few 100k dead and over 65,000 in refugee camps that fled the country and live in India. Lots of guns and violence. Even better, there have been more suicide bombers in Sri Lanka than in Iraq. Nice surfing though from what I hear.

And yes, youre intelligent obviously, but that doesn't mean those you don't agree with are brainwashed robots. Soldiers get the same info you do, believe it or not, and they still choose to serve. Try asking one! Even better, try being one.

You can make a good software product, I give you that, but please try reading more than what MoveOn.org sends you. Did the fact that they posted a video on their home page comparing Bush to Hitler raise a red flag for you? That maybe they and their buds just might not be the most objective sources for information?
Chance Clay said…
I understand that you feel bad for these kids, as do I, however I can't help from personally thinking about all the kids that lost their parents and lives when Saddam gassed them. Or how millions were killed just for not agreeing with him.

It would be like you being killed for writing this very post. I need not remind you that it is the freedoms these Iraqis now have from this war that you are using here to complain about President Bush, like the freedom of speech; Iraqis now have that, thanks to America and this war.

Are you not sad that millions upon millions of people died because Saddam murdered them? And that hundreds of thousands of people would have continued to be killed by Saddam? Just because we didn’t necessarily have pictures of Iraqi children being forced to watch their parents tortured and murdered before their eyes doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Thank you for letting me share my two-cents!
Scott said…
The American military just can't leave Iraq. If they did, Iraq would quickly spiral into Civil War, the various ethnic groups fighting from supremacy. External Terrorist groups may try taking over (Osama), or even neighboring countries. This is what happens when millions of people are misinformed and even lied to by the media the goverment itself - goes to the polls, unfortunately.
Scott said…
The American military just can't leave Iraq. If they did, Iraq would quickly spiral into Civil War, the various ethnic groups fighting from supremacy. External Terrorist groups may try taking over (Osama), or even neighboring countries. This is what happens when millions of people are misinformed and even lied to by the media the goverment itself - goes to the polls, unfortunately.
More fun .........

Inauguration: Lifestyles of the Rich and Heartless
By Christy Harvey, Judd Legum and Jonathan Baskin with
Nico Pitney and Mipe Okunseinde
The Progress Report

Thursday 20 January 2005

Due to $17 million worth of inaugural security - paid for by the city
of
Washington, D.C. - the Progress Report is unable to access its office.
Never
fear - it takes a lot more than that to keep us down. We put this list
together for you ahead of time. Your regularly scheduled Progress
Report
returns tomorrow.

A look at this week's festivities by the numbers:

$40 million: Cost of Bush inaugural ball festivities, not counting
security
costs.

$2,000: Amount FDR spent on the inaugural in 1945 - about $20,000 in
today's
dollars.

$20,000: Cost of yellow roses purchased for inaugural festivities by
D.C.'s
Ritz Carlton.

200: Number of Humvees outfitted with top-of-the-line armor for troops
in
Iraq that could have been purchased with the amount of money blown on
the
inauguration.

$10,000: Price of an inaugural package at the Fairmont Hotel, which
includes
a Beluga caviar and Dom Perignon reception, a chauffeured Rolls Royce
and
two actors posing as "faux" Secret Service agents, complete with black
sunglasses and cufflink walkie-talkies.

400: Pounds of lobster provided for "inaugural feeding frenzy" at the
exclusive Mandarin Oriental hotel.

3,000: Number of "Laura Bush Cowboy cookies" provided for "inaugural
feeding
frenzy" at the Mandarin hotel.

$1: Amount per guest President Carter spent on snacks for guests at his
inaugural parties. To stick to a tight budget, he served pretzels,
peanuts,
crackers and cheese and had cash bars.

22 million: Number of children in regions devastated by the tsunami who
could have received vaccinations and preventive health care with the
amount
of money spent on the inauguration.

1,160,000: Number of girls who could be sent to school for a year in
Afghanistan with the amount of money lavished on the inauguration.

$15,000: The down payment to rent a fur coat paid by one gala attendee
who
didn't want the hassle of schlepping her own through the airport.

$200,500: Price of a room package at D.C.'s Mandarin Oriental,
including
presidential suite, chauffeured Mercedes limo and outfits from Neiman
Marcus.

2,500: Number of U.S. troops used to stand guard as President Bush
takes his
oath of office

26,000: Number of Kevlar vests for U.S. soldiers in Iraq and
Afghanistan
that could be purchased for $40 million.

$290: Bonus that could go to each American solider serving in Iraq, if
inauguration funds were used for that purpose.

$6.3 million: Amount contributed by the finance and investment
industry,
which works out to be 25 percent of all the money collected.

$17 million: Amount of money the White House is forcing the
cash-strapped
city of Washington, D.C., to pony up for inauguration security.

9: Percentage of D.C. residents who voted for Bush in 2004.

66: Percentage of Americans who think this over-the-top inauguration
should
have been scaled back.
2 said…
Well said! As for those with an opinion to the contrary - the number of indications that the government is on the wrong track FAR outweighs the number of indications that moveon.org or any other organization is.

Disinformation, and Follow-the-leader-blindly did not make America what it is today.
Poor Man said…
Well maybe if you stopped relying on American media you could find some primary sources and realize Iraq is much safer since we started helping them.
Michael Pate said…
Uh, 2, the only indication that really matters in a republic is how the voters vote. And 60.6 million of us said that we prefer the polices of GWB and his party to JFK and his. Jason whipped out the "made us safer" line of Howard Dean that propelled Kerry to victory in the primaries. During the Clinton Administration, there was an open season on Americans (WTC I, Waco, Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma City, The Embassy Bombings, Elian) and on the US Military (Black Hawk Down, The Cole). No one is happy to see any serviceman die in Afghanistan or Iraq, but they are all volunteers who chose to serve and protect their country. Neither country is a safe place yet, but at least freedom has been given a chance.
Greg said…
Yeah, the pict is tragic. But this is war, and sometimes unfortunate accidents happen. But to say that we or Iraqis are (overall) no better off is insanity. If we weren't fighting terrorists there we would be somewhere else. This isn't a war like those of the past. Plus, remember if this were the Iraq of a few years ago Saddam's police would be dragging families our of their homes and having them shot for speaking out against his regime. What kind of life is that?

"If you know a soldier, I hope you tell them the truth. That their lives are too valuable to be wasted in this war and that we would rather have them home." So you want me to tell them we don't care that they've put themselves in danger to liberate others and keep us safe at home? That we think all of this has been in vain? O-kaaay. Sure. Of course we'd like to have them here at home, but they are fighting for freedom. A higher good. And you aren't doing them or the cause of freedom any good.
Mike said…
Guys..guys...guys...quit arguing. The view from this side of the pond - or at least my corner of England...is that the question ought not to be is the war right or wrong. It's is it being well managed. And the key fact is GWB and TB suck at organising war. No WMD, massive civillian casualties, terrorist attacks etc. Tony Blair was asked recently what the exit strategy was from Iraq - once we've saved freedom and all. And get this. He didn't know. Has GWB told you guys his plans yet? It seems to me we ain't got any. Just waffle about staying as long as is necessary. Well that's not good. So I don't worry about US or British troops doing the wrong thing. I worry about them being blown up by poor leadership. Which on the evidence so far is exactly whats happening.
dangercn said…
Duncan said... Thailand is pretty much the leader in child prostitution in the world. Great choice.Sri Lanka is in the middle of a 20 year civil war, resulting in a few 100k dead and over 65,000 in refugee camps that fled the country and live in India.
i don't doubt that what u say are true,but can we deny the whole coutry only because of something bad.Isn't that we could say newyork are full of criminals by virtue of it's high crime rate, but the reverse is true,newyork is one of the best ciyty.
yes,Iraqis now have from this war like the freedom of speech(Chance Clay said),but do Iraqis really now have that, thanks to America and this war?That they hate sadam don't be equal to that they welcome bush.What u,we chinese or european say doesn't matter, it is important what iraqis's needs.
i don't want to argue here intently,only giving ur American friends every nation has own special culru
dangercn said…
(continued) only giving ur American friends every nation has own special culture .just u like eat red tea while we chinese like green tea.
Morwen said…
Ok thought I'd post my 2 cents worth. someone earlier said Has GWB told you guys his plans yet? my answer: the government can't reveal every plan they have. if they did then every iraqi would easily be able to learn of it and do something to counter it. It all comes down to trust. I really don't know what they are doing or what they are planning to do or even if it is possible that tomorrow several countries could launch A bombs and I could be destroyed before I even knew what was happening. The most I can say is that the people who are fighting in Iraq are there for a reason that only they know. Each of them has their own personal reason to be there. Who am I to deny them that right? I will not personally go there to fight because I believe that I can better serve on home ground. and so if a bomb does strike tomorrow while I am innocently doing my last minute homework before class then all I can say I that I have lived. And it may not even have been that great of a life but there was something to learn from it and it was not wasted. So finally I say to you Mr. Shellen, If you really want to end this war then don't fund the orginazitions that will only hinder it.
Stephen said…
I think you guys make great products...blogger and its integration with picasa and hello...I now get most of my news from people over in Iraq...many soldiers write blogs, and write of their experiences...you will see that what they see over there is almost the opposite of what is in the doom and gloom reports that the papers like to mention here...one of the best is: http://avengerredsix.blogspot.com/

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