12 June 2008

Falling victim to one of the classic blunders?

You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...

(We all knows what happens after that laughter stops, right?)

If you were to look at me on paper, you might say that I fit the stereotypical mold of someone planning on voting for Mr. Obama this fall: yuppie born at the tail end of GenX; lives in San Francisco; over-educated holds multiple degrees; believes in global warming, etc. Shoot - I'll even admit to holding a more-liberal-than-not stance on other issues such as immigration and thinking that the federal government has no right to decide who can or cannot get married.

However, in other ways, Mr. Obama and I are far from seeing eye-to-eye: most notably where foreign policy around OIF/Iraq is concerned. (And, no, I'm not happy with John "Bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran" McCain's idea of diplomacy in regards to foreign-relations, either.. Iran is - notably - OPEC's second-largest oil-producing country after Saudi Arabia...interesting, no? Which just opens all sorts of other worm-cans.)

You might be thinking to yourself, "But, MezzoSF, wouldn't you be *happy* if troops had shorter deployments and were allowed to come home earlier? Don't you know people over there fighting? Wouldn't you be glad if P could come home and be safe from all the killer acronyms he faces on a daily basis (see: IEDs, RPGs, EFPs)??"

My answer: YES. Of course. I would be a heartless automaton if I didn't admit that yes, it would indeed make me (selfishly?) very happy if we could just pull out all the troops and everyone could be safe at home with their family and friends. If indeed we could just implement and fully-execute Obama's four-point plan, then life might really be full of hope, unicorns and sunshine! And Change! (Can't forget that Change!)

- BUT -

Here's the thing: I'm not hopping on the BarakO-bandwagon just because he voted against the Iraq war, which is a popular reason many are choosing to vote for him. But (IMO), it doesn't matter NOW what anyone thinks about how or why this war started. It doesn't matter NOW who voted for or against the invasion way back - what - 6 years ago? What matters NOW is the fact that we are heavily entrenched in a counterinsurgency (COIN) war in Iraq (and even Afghanistan, for that mattter). And to pull up stakes now would wreak havoc on the entire area. It has been a long, hard war already, but too rapid (read: by the end of 2009) of a troop redeployment - before Iraqi forces themselves are fully capable of handling their own country - might indeed see Iraq descend back into pre-surge, pre-Awakening, pre-milita-truce chaos. Progress IS being made (Basra, anyone?) . . . it's just slow. I think folks of my age have no concept of that. We didn't grow up with a Vietnam. We grew up with Desert Storm (I was in 7th grade), which was a completely different war than this one. We're the get-rich-now, get-instant-gratification generation. But that is NOT the nature of the COIN beast.

It would be such an insult to all of the troops who have already sacrificed life, limb, sanity and relationships over the last 5+ years (and who continue to do so over multiple deployments) to have everything get bumped back to square one.

But this is just my opinion.
More opinions:

David Satterfield, State Department advisor on Iraq, talks about how a power vaccuum in Iraq would invite all sorts of trouble (like the kind we're trying to avoid) with Iran in this article.

You can also read an Iraqi perspective.

Political Reality Online has a good summary of Iraq in 2008 - and what the future might hold for the coming years.

Read part of embedded journalist and former Green Beret Michael Yon's take on things.

Shoot...even Angelina Jolie puts in her $0.02.

Military folk's opinions:
Maj C has more than one post about this.

SSG Wyld posts a still-relavent letter written in 2004 by Lt. Kevin Brown (Navy) about exit-strategy.

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