Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Should we leave Iraq?

There is a growing sentiment among members of Congress to urge President Bush to withdraw the troops from Iraq. At the very least they are calling for an exit strategy and a timetable for such an exit.

Yet, I fail to hear these same Congresspeople and Senators call for troop withdrawal from Germany or Japan, even though hostilities with those nations ended in 1945. Granted, there were Cold War considerations for keeping troops there, but does anyone fear a Soviet attack today?

Do these same leaders want our troops withdrawn from Korea? Yep, we still have them there even though hostilities were put on hold roughly 50 years ago. Okay, so technically we're still in a "state of war" with North Korea--but shouldn't we get our troops out before they die?

The Heritage Foundation reports that "In 2003, 387,920 troops were stationed on foreign soil." There are roughly 136,000 troops in Iraq.

Some cite the casualties of the Iraq War. The latest figures show 1743 deaths in Iraq (3/19/2003 through 6/28/2005), a rate of just over 2 deaths per day. 192 U.S. servicemen have died in Afghanistan--a much lower daily average since the casualties are lower and the war has lasted longer.

Meanwhile, a conservative estimate of casualties on D-Day alone is 8,443 (http://www.warchronicle.com/numbers/WWII/ddaycasualtyest.htm). Yes, that's right, one day alone in World War II saw 5 times as many deaths as the sum total of casualties in the war on terror. Add in the roughly 3,000 casualties on 9/11 and the number is still below that one day on Normandy's beach.

Remember the battle of Gettysburg? That three day battle claimed 51,112 soldiers--23,049 Union and 28,063 Confederate (hat tip: http://www.civilwarhome.com/Battles.htm). That comes to a staggering 17,037 deaths each day!

After World War II U.S. forces faced insurgencies and disparate groups seeking to keep out the "invaders." At one point in 1946 the New York Times declared "Germany is - a land in an acute stage of economic, political and moral crisis. [European] capitals are frightened. In every [military] headquarters, one meets alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has failed." Many did not believe Germany or Japan were capable of democracy. Not only are they capable, but they also determine their own fates and destinies. They have not been puppets of the American government.

And isn't that what democracy is all about? And don't we owe it to the Iraqis to guide them as they feel their way into democracy and establish their government and identity among the democracies of the world?

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