The Therapy Sessions
Saturday, May 22, 2004
Letter from Iraq
A Marine sees what defeatists don't
Just weeks ago, I read that the supply lines were cut, ammunition and food were dwindling, the "Sunni Triangle" was exploding, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was leading a widespread Shiite revolt, and the country was nearing civil war.
As I write this, the supply lines are open, there's plenty of ammunition and food, the Sunni Triangle is back to status quo, and Sadr is marginalized in Najaf. Once again, dire predictions of failure and disaster have been dismissed by American willpower and military professionalism.
War is inherently ugly and dramatic. I don't blame reporters for focusing on the burning vehicles, the mutilated bodies or the personal tragedies. The editors have little choice but to print the photos from the Abu Ghraib prison and the tales of the insurgency in Fallujah. These things sell news and remind us of the sober reality of our commitment to the Iraqi people. The actions of our armed forces are rightfully subject to scrutiny.
I am not ignorant of the political issues, either. But as a professional, I have the luxury of putting politics aside and focusing on the task at hand. Protecting people from terrorists and criminals while building schools and lasting friendships is a good mission, no matter what brush it's tarred with.
Nothing any talking head will say can deter me or my fellow Marines from caring about the people of Iraq, or take away from the sacrifices of our comrades. Fear in the face of adversity is human nature, and many people who take the counsel of their fears speak today. We are not deaf to their cries; neither do we take heed. All we ask is that Americans stand by us by supporting not just the troops, but also the mission.
We'll take care of the rest.
Maj. Ben Connable is serving as a foreign-area officer and intelligence officer with the 1st Marine Division.
In November, it will be a real shocker to the Left when the majority of our military in Iraq votes for Bush.
It will refute the image that the Meida is trying to convey: our hapless soldiers are mere cannon fodder, desperate to come home.
Most of the opinions I've heard from the Gulf have been more like Major Connable's.
Thanks to Claudia.