Friday, July 31, 2009

The problem of the active mind

God created sleep because he knew humans needed 8-10 hours a night.

Remeber, this was first created when there was no electricity. It got dark, and only candles and bonfires lit the night. So, folks hit the hay shortly after sundown and got up with daybreak.

If only we were so fortunate.

We have power at demand. Which feeds our televisions and our computers. Among other things that fool us into thinking that the day never ends.

When you have alot on your mind, unfortunately, in 2009 there are way too many options to keep it going. Like this friggin' blog.

I'm not sure when I last had a good night's sleep.

At the very least, it was two years ago before Pete left for Iraq.

I've had many friends ask me how you deal with a child in a war zone.

My answer was and is that you worry every second of every day.

I'm thankful that of the over 1 million members of the military that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan that ONLY about 5,000 of us have received the knock on the door. The death rate is dramtically lower than in any previous war.

But once you have been touched by that reality, your mind goes into different places.

Why?

Should I have talked him out of it?

Who killed him? And, why?

Can I get on a plane tomorrow and go kill those that killed him?

And is that a good idea?

Or am I supposed to let the military just figure it out?

Or, am I supposed to resign to the fact that it is war?

Or, should I rise up in righteous indignation at the stupidity of all of this and do something about it. What, I don't know.

I think that last point is what keeps me up.

If this was WWI or WWII, I would like to think that parents of lost soldiers could have some peace knowing that their sons and daughters died in a clear battle between good and evil. A war between the mission of the United States and the sons of Germany, Russia, Korea, Japan, Italy, etc. that fought the wars of misguided dictators.

I fear that I am part of those never-heard from parents of the Vietnam War. They lost sons and daughters and to this day don't understand why.

General Ray Odierno declared yesterday that it is time to get the hell out of Iraq.

He is a giant of a man physically and mentally.

Our army in Iraq has been required to pull back into the American bases. We are out of the cities and countryside where we protected the Iraqis from themselves and the assholes that want to control that country. Like, Iran, AQI, etc.

General Odierno is right.

If the will of our country is to have our military stationed in bases in a foreign country that is under siege, but we have agreed to no longer be engaged to protect them, get out.

We are wasting lives and money.

The work that has been done to build relationships with the many factions of Iraqi society have now been lost due to a politcal deadline agreed upon by the Bush administration.

If President Obama cared about the country of Iraq, he would listen to the Iraqi people and our folks on the ground. We had just finally started to make sense of the craziness and to weave a peace that might stand against outside agitants.

President Obama has missed an opportunity to be a world leader. Iraq is about to turn into a bloody swamp.

But, the polls would be against him if he changed course based on common sense and the intelligence of our military and the Iraqi people.

I have been to Iraq. I heard Iraquis say to me, "Please, tell your leaders not to pull out. It will be a bloodbath here."

I heard our best and brightest leaders and the infantry who know the locals say the same thing. "Don't pull us out now. It will turn into a bloodbath."

The United States sent our full military into Iraq. We took out Saddam Hussein, one of the nastiest humans ever to live.

The vacuum of his departure left the country open for retribution between factions that he had kept in fear of his regime. It has left open the border with Iran. And Syria. And many others to send in non-resident agitators and terrorists.

Iraq is beginning to feel the effects of the U.S. taking the cap off the pressure cooker. Saddam was a bad man. But he kept those that wanted Iraq at bay.

When the U.S. took Saddam out, we owed it to the Iraqi people to stay until there was a stable government and a secure environment.

Now, it appears inevitable, that the U.S. will pull out and leave it to the Iraquis to deal with it.

Guess what. They can't handle it.

So, in a few years, my guess is we will be back in Iraq to help them. Because an Iranian occupation of Iraq will not be good for anybody.

It will destabilize the region. It could lead to a toppling of the Sauds. It could lead to an attack on Israel.

President Obama, you don't personally have a dog in this fight. It is easy to understand why a pullout seems like the thing to do.

I know you hate them both, but ask VP Biden and Sarah Palin how it feels to have a child in Iraq. And ask their children, the ones in Iraq, what they would do. Joe and Sarah don't know crap. Ask the folks on the ground.

Before you make that final call, why don't you sit down with the men and women who have served in Iraq.

Why don't you sit down with the men and women who have been injured in Iraq.

Why don't you sit down with the families of those that have lost sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, fathers, cousins, and close friends in Iraq.

Talk to the local people in Iraq. Not al Maliki. He does not represent the reality of the people. He is the product of a disjointed election.

Ask the men and women of Iraq who have lost sons and daughters who fought against the foreign agitators and lost. I have brothers in kind in Iraq who have lost sons to bastards. Ask them. If you pull out without getting their input, what have their sons died for?

Don't make the decision on polls.

Make the decision on what is best for the United States.

A destabilized or foreign occupied Iraq is not in our best interest.

You now own Afghanistan. It is unfortunate, because President Bush should have. But he chose Iraq.

You have sent in more troops. More money.

Why should the Afghans trust you to bring a stable peace in their country when you are showing them their future via Iraq?

Why should the Taliban and AQI fear you when you allow them free reign in Iraq?

President Obama, we need to finish a war well.

We haven't since WWII.

America needs to send a message to the bad guys. Iran, AQI, North Korea, Syria, Somalia. And maybe, Russia.

Don't tread on us or human rights or decency.

If you do, on behalf of decent people everywhere, the United States will kick your ass up one side and down the other.

That is how we will re-galvanize support for our country.

That is how we will re-galvanize an international alliance for human decency.

It is time for real toughness.

You were elected by a wide majority.

But if an election were held today, you probably wouldn't win.

Get after it, Big O.

You have the big stick. Use it.

If not, we will be leaning on it as we huddle into the masses of the world's crippled.

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