Day by Day

Monday, November 03, 2003

Better Late than Never

Some good news, and some bad. Let's start with the bad, shall we?

First off, the demands placed on our troops are raising fears of a "Hollow Force" in the future.

Now personally, I think we should have been expanding our forces from day one. The Army's fun meter is pegged, boys and girls. I also think we should pull our troops out of Europe for good, as they are no longer needed to defend against the U.S.S.R. But I happen to think that a major overhaul of our troops is also in order. The Clinton Era did more damage to the military than most people think. Trust me, I was there. As good as our troops are today, they could be better. They CAN be better. Rumsfeld is hesitant to expand the Army any more, prefering to use money to advance our technological advantage. I say that all the new tech is great, but you need dedicated, intelligent soldiers to use that tech. One without the other can't work.

Most people already know about the Chinook helicopter that was shot down. For those who don't know, the Chinook is a twin engine, twin rotor helicopter used to carry heavy loads. It's big, slow, and ugly, but when you gotta positivly, absolutely have it moved overnight, the Chinook is who you call. Anyways, the headline to this story is "Bush: US mourns every loss"

Does that even need to be said? There is a small segment of the population that cheers when a US soldier dies, but the majority of Americans feel each loss. I know that I check the names of the dead, praying and hoping that I don't recognise any of my old platoon mates in the list. What I and my friends hope for is that the Donks aren't allowed to yank us out if Iraq prematurely, thus ruining all our work and rendering each life lost a vain effort.

There is a difference between casually tossing American lives aside, and devoting them to a purpose. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY likes the fact that American lives are being lost. However, those soldiers signed on the dotted line, knowing that they might have to make the ultimate sacrifice. I myself signed that line, and took that oath, years ago. And my father, who had served for twenty two years, who also knew the risks, was the man who swore me in to active duty.

So the question often comes up: Why are these men dying? Why did they have to go over there? I can give you many reasons, but some of the most compelling are these.

---"We taste something. We can't recognize that taste," said Talib, an Iraqi who works for the state tobacco company. "We [are] happy ... because when we switch on the television you never see Saddam Hussein. That's a big happy for the Iraqi people." ---

---Since the fall of Saddam, Baath Party approval is no longer required for marriage. Anham's schoolteacher salary was $3 a month under the dictator. It is $120 a month under coalition forces. Not enough for a limo, but it does get her a taxi.---

---She is scared of kidnapping and gunfire beyond the classroom walls. But not afraid of American forces, or the helicopters they fly overhead. "I wave to helicopters," she said in English.

You want to know how our troops feel? Go listen to them.

We have a chance to give freedom to millions of people who have never experienced it. We have a chance to tumble the thugs, dictators and theocracies surrounding Iraq without firing a shot. We have a chance to make this world a better place. Those troops know it. And it shows. Every loss hurts, and should not be forgotten. But it is a sacrifice that needs to be made.

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