As the Iraq crisis heats up it haunts me a little bit as that was one of the many places I served. You see I served in Somalia, Egypt, Haiti, 3 tours in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and 2 tours in Iraq. I served in the Army as an Engineer for just under 22 years, lost a leg, a little of my sanity but a still proud of being a Soldier and in many cases making a difference.
What hurts me a little is that out all of those places none could be considered a “win”. I spent years away from my Family, narrowly missed death many times, and had the unfortunate opportunity to see man at his worst. I can say that when we were there we made a tremendous difference for the civilians in those countries that just wanted to be able to not live in constant fear. I am proud of that because I know at least what I was able to be part of. The darker side is I also fought beside and lost many friends through those conflicts.
Now that I am a relic of those deployments I feel like a little bit of a failure because of the current state of affairs. EVERY place I served is still in turmoil and in most instances worse off than when I was there. The reality is it has always come down to a lack of an exit strategy. Since WWII we have continued to occupy every country we fought against with the exception of Vietnam.
Even with all of this I still believe you cannot make a difference by doing nothing but I have zero faith in the current administrations ability to deal with this appropriately. Granted fighting a war should not be an unabated process but for decades political ineptness has choked the ability of the people on the ground to do what needs to be done. That’s kind of where this comes down to. There is no such thing as a civil war. War is a brutal event at any level. The process of achieving objectives and key territory has to be fought with a swift decisive hammer blow. There is room for graduated levels of force but at the end of the day; the big stick wins every time. The bottom line reality is politicians do not have the fortitude to fight and win a war, Instead the force is stifled which almost always results in the enemy being able to regroup.
My point… if we are going to go back into Iraq we need to do so with a purpose. We need to allow our warfighters to put an expedient end to the advance on Bagdad, stabilize the situation and move out. However, the other option is to pull completely out of the Middle East, use our own oil, and let them drive themselves back to the Stone Age. I never want any of my Brothers in Arms feeling like what they did was for naught. Thanks for indulging my rant and thanks so much to those who have or still are serving.
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