Bring ’em home? You bet!

Author: Barrett Rainey

While the Obama administration has some ‘splaining to do about a number of things, I find one significant action totally acceptable on it’s face: the decision to get the American military out of Iraq.

Yep, that’s a good one. That’s been my feeling for almost 10 years. Goes back to about 10 minutes after George Bush sent that same military into Iraq.

But it seems this keeping of a campaign promise by Barack Obama is riling a bunch of people who think our mission there, this long decade, has been to make sure the Iraq people have a good “democratic” government. Where have these folks been? That just t’ain’t true. Except maybe in their fevered heads. We were there to get Sadaam who tried to kill George II’s father in the first Gulf war. And, of course, to get those nuclear weapons. The ones that weren’t there ‘cause – well – they weren’t there.

Our second Iraq incursion was a war of “choice” based on lies. It’s hard to try to tie principles of “democracy” to that. Or any principles. It was wrong then. It’s wrong as we leave. It’ll be wrong throughout history.

I’ve been criticized by readers and some friends for “not supporting our military.” As a veteran, why wouldn’t I “support our military?” The difference has been I’ve supported getting them out before any more are killed in a war that defies justification. You can’t be much more of a supporter than wanting to keep the troops alive.

Supporters of keeping our military there base their argument on mostly one thing: we leave and things will go back to where they were a dozen years ago, only this time – absent Sadaam – Iran will creep across the border and become more of a force in the affairs of Iraq.

So? If we kept our men and women there for 50 years, then left, what would be the case then? Or 100 years? Are we supposed to have a military presence – boots on the ground – wherever there’s a tyrant or a despot or some crackpot we don’t agree with who’s mistreating the local citizenry? Are we to keep being “policeman to the world” at the cost of thousands of young lives and billions upon billions of dollars? To what end? Our nation is a debtor now and costs of “wars of choice” are a good part of that.

Short of a nuclear war – which doesn’t seem nearly as likely now as it did 50-60 years ago – we have no business using our military or our treasury in foreign wars because we see some injustices. Times have changed. And conduct of our international military affairs should change, too.

What we’ve just witnessed in Libya seems to be a precursor of what our involvement should be overseas unless American holdings are directly attacked. In Libya, we took a truly joint role with other countries under the NATO banner. We furnished some of the air power, a bit of hardware, some of the intelligence/surveillance and some of the back-channel diplomatic efforts to get Ghadafi out or killed. The Libyan war was a civil war, with Libyans doing the hard fighting on the ground and NATO nations giving military support where needed. We spent a few billion dollars: other nations spent a few billion Euro’s. No American military lives lost; no NATO losses. Ghadafi’s gone so now the Libyans can figure out what they want. If it’s another tribal leader, so be it.

It should not be the province of this nation to take democracy wherever we think it should go and impose our tortured form of it on anyone else. That means Iraq and damned sure includes Afghanistan. Further, given changes in the conduct of war with ever-evolving technology, it doesn’t make much sense to spend the billions we spend each year keeping a huge military presence in Europe or the Far East either.

Reducing our forces in foreign countries is not isolationism. It’s simply recognizing world conditions have changed since the 1940’s and 50’s. As in all of history, most of the time nations that were once enemies find themselves partners as we do now with Germany and Japan.

I find it unconscionable we can spend billions building public schools in Iraq and Afghanistan while schools are crumbling in the 50 states. We are spending more billions to build roads and bridges in the Mideast while our own are failing. Or are in the process. We’re hiring school teachers, police and fire personnel over there and firing them at home. National policies – to say nothing of our priorities – need drastic and immediate changing.

Support the troops? You bet! Bring ‘em home? You bet!!!

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