From the very beginning the war in Iraq has been a complete military blunder. It started off with the blatant lies the Bush Administration sold to the American people as a necessity for war. The opinions of military commanders regarding the inevitable disastrous outcome were dismissed by civilian intellectuals who are so smart that they're stupid. Our military was sent in without an adequate number of troops, under-equipped, and with no plan to win the peace once Saddam's regime was toppled. Mass murderers who killed our troops were granted amnesty while we installed a puppet government in Iraq more loyal to their religious tribal factions than their own country. For the last 5 five years we have watched Iraq in peril from our television screens while President Bush and Congress continue to ask the American people for patience. General Petraeus has conducted a military operation that has significantly reduced violence, only reinforcing the plea of Bush and Congress to stay the course -- however, it has been the deadliest year for our military since the start of the war, and it is only delaying our inevitable departure. (Not to mention this.)
Everything we tried to accomplish in Iraq has been unsuccessful due to the delusions of the architects of the war, a lack of cooperation from the Iraqi government, the failure of the Iraqi army and police forces to stand up so we can stand down, and the complete unshared sacrifice of the American people that detaches them from the harsh reality of the situation on the ground in Iraq.
(It was never a possibility to enforce a Western form of democracy upon a nation with an entirely different culture and way of life -- we can't do it by gunpoint or hand-holding.)
Aside from the bloody human casualties we face the possibilities of a recession and an economic breakdown due to military spending for a war that is running up our national debt to astronomical numbers that our grandchildren will be paying off.
Leaving 165,000 troops sitting stationary in Iraq is doing nothing whatsoever to fight terror cells throughout the world who are plotting to attack us here not there. It is a total setback from the real war on terror.
In addition, our politicians in Washington are wasting our tax dollars and all of their political energy on the war. It totally inhibits their ability to address the real issues that matter most to the American people -- jobs, education, poverty, economic prosperity, global warming, etc.
What I find most concerning is that the American people have not yet fully caught on to the severity of this debacle.
None of these detriments seem to pop up on the radar of average Americans who live their lives without interruption while our blood and treasure continue to be spent on the occupation of Iraq.
With the exception of our troops and their families, the American people reap the benefits of freedom and citizenship without committing any sacrifice to earn it.
Sooner or later that blood and treasure will run out and Americans will be mandated to sacrifice in some way, shape, or form. This is a certainty that "generation chickenhawk" needs to realize.
Ever since I came home from Iraq I have been fighting for an end to the war. On my travels I have encountered plenty of resistance from young able-bodied Americans who want our troops to fight and die in Iraq while they sit on their lazy backsides. I have zero tolerance for the rhetoric of those very same people who talk tough about the death and destruction in Iraq while they just stay home.
The mobilization of this element in American society is the one of the most disgraceful tragedies of the entire war.
My message to them is "put up or shut up."
If we as a nation are not willing to share in the sacrifice, we have no business being at war - period.
Modern day America will never have the resolve or the commitment of the WWII generation. We could not and would not ever tolerate a massive call of our young people to military service. Most pro-war baby boomers want their kids in college, not on the battlefields of Iraq. Therefore, let's bring our troops home.
Recently I had an exchange with a member of the media who told me that I'm "banging my head against a brick wall and going crazy reliving Vietnam." Kind of strange being that I wasn't even born yet. Then I was asked whether or not "LBJ's war will become Nixon's war?" in reference to Iraq. I'll leave that to the American people to answer.