They open their piece by saying the following:
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.But of the 12 former Captain’s only one has served in Iraq within the last 18 months. The rest all served either during the initial invasion or in the years immediately following and not one has served in Iraq during the so called surge, the closest being Josh Rizzo who served in Baghdad in 2006, where we have seen that Iraq has not been a lost cause but simply mismanaged, and none have experienced any of the tribal awakenings that have culled violence to its lowest levels in years.
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.
I have no intention of disparaging the former officers, but I must question, why have they decided now after years of serving in Iraq to voice their concerns publicly? Granted while they served their country their ability to speak publicly about their feelings was restricted. But why now, are they nothing more than those disgruntled generals who could not adapt to a changing situation, and found themselves pushed out, or are they truly trying to make a difference and improve the situation?
In support of their argument the Captain’s trot out the basic facts of life in Iraq that we are all aware of, corruption, cultural differences, lack of infrastructure due to decades of neglect and the rise of militias for personal gains. And yet they offer only two possible solutions both of which are not possible, a national draft to swell the ranks of the military or a complete withdrawal from Iraq, which they acknowledge would: “not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.” What kind of solution is this?
The US Military is not stretched thin because of its current mission; it is stretched thin because like Iraq it was neglected by previous administrations and by Congressional mandates. A swelling of the ranks would be a welcome addition to a neglected and now demanding job, but a national draft, in my opinion, is not the answer. Today’s military is the most highly motivated and educated in decades, a draft wouldn’t solve the problem it would only create more. As a Captain swerving in Iraq would they welcome conscripts in their command that could care less for military tradition and command, only to boost numbers?
Furthermore a complete withdrawal is not the answer, poll after poll shows that the American people are willing to vote for victory not defeat, which is what a withdrawal is, it is the far left in America that are calling for a complete withdrawal, not because they love America but because they hate America and wish to see it hurt once again on the world stage. The insurgents who are finding their world continually shrinking on a daily basis as more and more Iraqis stand up for security and stability, are those who wish for a complete withdrawal of US forces so they can once again call the US a paper tiger, and your suggestions only serve to fuel their continued attacks in the hopes that they come to fruition.
Jason Blindauer, Elizabeth Bostwick, Jeffrey Bouldin, Jason Bugajski, Anton Kemps, Kristy (Luken) McCormick, Luis Carlos Montalván, William Murphy, Josh Rizzo, William "Jamie" Ruehl, Gregg Tharp, and Gary Williams have all served proudly in Iraq and their Country, but their suggestions for Iraq are not only wrong, they are damaging to the effort. American’s have voted for victory in Iraq and Afghanistan, and when former officers speak out against the effort based upon their singular experiences without benefit of further investigation and analysis then they aren’t speaking for America, but for some other effort.
It has been 5 years and America has made a decision, as is evidenced by the Democrats inability to find a consensus on Iraq. Like it or not Iraq is a noble cause that must be won, to do otherwise would cheapen the memory of your fellow soldier’s sacrifices. Are you willing to let one of your troopers be the last person to die for a lie…the lie that Iraq can not be won and must be abandoned?
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