Sunday, August 19, 2007

Soldiers Speak Out About Iraq, Contradict O'Hanlon & Pollack

After weeks of how great the surge is going in Iraq thanks to a couple of Brookings analysts/propagandists posing as war critics turned hawkish doing the full msm circuit following their dog and pony show in Baghdad, then it was reported that not everyone on that same trip agreed with what they were saying, which left us at a sort of two proud fools vs one sane voice in medialand. Well now, this group of 7 soldiers have put their names to a NYT Op-Ed that really ought to be read in full. Here's a few key passages:

support the troops, not the chickenhawksNYT:

The War as We Saw It *

... The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense. ....

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.

Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.
Hopefully this Op-Ed will generate the attention it deserves.