Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Let’s Finish It Here

Last month I posted a letter from an LTC on active duty in Iraq. The letter is contained in this blog: Let Us Finish Our Defense of You. Here is the LTC’s next installment on what is happening in Iraq. I have edited his missive to conceal his identity without changing his message. Here’s what it is like in Iraq, as seen by the eyes and described by the words of an LTC with boots on the ground.

I have not written an update for a while, so I thought it is time to let you all know how I am doing in Iraq. I have not written because, having been here for three and a half months, life has become a dull routine. Very little of interest occurs on a daily basis. We are definitely in that phase of deployment that becomes a grinding bore. I have settled into a paper work routine of reading email, observing briefings and reviewing paperwork. The one real chore that I have is reading all the condolence letters. Thankfully there is not a huge amount, but each one represents a tragedy. However, don't let my recounting of the tragedy of the letters mean anything but that. We thankfully have the lowest casualty rate of any war fought. So far, it is minuscule.Besides the work routine, I am still work out daily and participate in the cigar club at 1430 hours. Twice a week all of us in my office go into the conference room and watch movies. The latest series is the Lord of the Rings; A movie that is essentially a war. But, it is inspiring in that you just have to keep pushing forward until you obtain victory. The other recreation I have is to do video telephoning with my wife. We have managed to web video for over an hour daily during the last month. It brings home closer while out here. If you had told me 30 years ago that we could do video and phoning over a computer from a war zone, I would have thought you crazy. But, we are doing it all the time.
The war is going better. Don't let the news media convince you that we are losing. The new strategy will take a while to be successful. There are some favorable signs now, but they are still superficial. The enemy is definitely pushing back and trying to make it look as if we cannot control the city or this country. However, they are increasingly attacking soft targets. Their attacks on the Coalition are down, and they cannot stop the increased U.S. force in Baghdad and the expansion in the Iraqi military. The sectarian murder rate is already down, and while attacks are up, the effectiveness is down. The terrorists are getting some spectacular attacks, but again they are hitting the softest of targets and as of now are trying to incorporate chlorine gas canisters into their explosions. We are increasingly finding the IEDs and the weapons caches. Remember that we are just beginning the process, and we still have only 50% of the troop increase. This is not an operation that gives instant gratification or quick results. It will take time. We must have that time for success.

I hear that this war has lasted longer then WWII. But, consider the after effects of WWII, and the operations that occurred after the fighting in WWII. We were engaged in Europe and Japan for another 10 years as occupiers and re-builders and then for another 30 years as defenders of the new democracies. The cost was untold billions of dollars and thousands of lives. Yet we persevered and with a lot less to lose than if we had just left Japan and Germany to their fates, without our continued sacrifice. And just what would we lose now if we just pulled out of Iraq? I could write a book about that, but the short explanation is we lose our prestige in the Middle East and probably in other parts of the world. We lose our entire position in the Middle East. Iran gains the upper hand and becomes the regional power that they cannot be if we are successful in Iraq. But most of all, we open ourselves to further terrorist attacks in the US as the terrorists become emboldened by their success in Iraq. Do not be deceived. If we depart leaving Iraq in turmoil or with terrorism intact, they will spin that into a great victory over the "Great Satan," and that will swell their ranks and war chests. Next, they will come after us in the U.S. Any plan that puts a time limit on our withdrawal, as opposed to placing an end-state condition, is a defeat. We will go home in defeat, and we will then be fighting the war at home. We cannot afford to lose here. This is where the war is and where we are fighting. Let’s finish it here.

I’m thinking that if this is what a soldier is saying, and it is he who is putting his life on the line, maybe we ought to pay attention. Maybe we just ought not listen to the naysayer politicians and liberal media.

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