When will we listen to the troops? I’m not talking about soldiers used as props for a George Bush photo op, telling reporters what Washington wants to hear. The military is disciplined and thus accustomed, from Gen. David Petraeus on down, to toeing the official line. But the Iraq war has also produced brilliant messages of dissent from the ranks that should cause us to stop in our tracks and reconsider what we have wrought. First, a group of sergeants came forward, and on Tuesday it was the captains’ turn to speak out.
In “The War as We Saw It,” an eloquent Op-Ed article published in The New York Times in August, seven sergeants summarized the futility of their 15 months of fighting in Iraq: “To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is farfetched.” After penning that crie de cour, two of the soldiers died in Iraq and a third was severely wounded.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post printed “The Real Iraq We Knew,” by 12 former Army captains, all of whom served in Iraq. It begins: “Today marks five years since the authorization of military force in Iraq, setting Operation Iraqi Freedom in motion. Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on Iraq is in shambles. As Army captains who served in Baghdad and beyond, we’ve seen the corruption and the sectarian division. We understand what it’s like to be stretched too thin. And we know when it’s time to get out.”
These soldiers and marines that keep speaking must not have gotten that memo from Bush’s dead end supporters. Iraq is an oasis, a tea room of lunch foliage and mint juleps. American should pack up and move to Iraq as the violence is a mere piffle compared to the violent video games being played out in real life daily on America’s city streets. Wait, it is all a rouse, a farce. Surely these must be those “phony soldiers” that Anal Cyst Limbaugh, Right Wing News and The National Review warned us about.