Friday, September 30, 2005

Apocalypse Now

I think we have come to the point where we as Americans know too much about the war. Gone is the era of sterile wartime propaganda. We now see what the soldiers see.

The problem is we see it out of context. We see mangled bodies, but not the reason they are mangled. We try soldiers after the fact when we have the benefit of hindsight while they did not. We can have no idea what feelings of fear, hatred, and stress have driven these men and women to do any of this. War is hell. We as Americans forget that this is still a real war. We are hit with images sent to anger and incite the world against Americans. We want to jail soldiers for shooting unarmed Iraqis even when they were acting with sufficient aggression that had they been in America and acting that way towards Police they would have been shot no matter what their race. The media is quick to show photos of bodies shot by our troops but not schools rebuilt by them. The media will show the terrorists being mistreated by soldiers but not the children fed, clothed, and sheltered by them.

It is time to either pull out the cameras and let our troops do their jobs without fear of retribution from those unable to stomach the horrors of war or it is time to admit defeat and leave. Most of all it is time to stop second guessing our troops. In doing so we put their lives at risk. When a soldier is afraid to use his weapons for fear he might end up in jail it leaves him vulnerable.

I know I seem a bit more aggressive today about the way we should handle Iraq. I was cleaning out my old inbox and came across some mail from guys I trained with at Fort Sill. Their specialties would have put them smack in the middle of this. While I have always known this it really just kind of hit me, my brothers are dying because we are too weak to let them do their job. I know these guys. Every one of them could wipe a town clean of terrorists given the free reign to do so. Given the strict rules of engagement that boil down to, "don't shoot until they do" my brothers in arms are sitting ducks. Either pull them out or pull out the cameras and let them work.

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