Sep 24, 2007
On September 13, Bush gave his supposedly “long-awaited” report on Iraq to the nation, insisting that things in Iraq have improved so much that “our success... now allows us to begin bringing some of our troops home.”
Bring troops home? Don’t tell that lie! At the end of October, 2,200 marines, who are at the end of their tour in Iraq, supposedly won’t be replaced. That’s all. It still leaves 162,000 regular troops in Iraq, 32,000 more than were there when this so-called surge started last February, a surge that was presented as lasting only six months when Bush first announced it. And the number of troops is still supposed to increase to 172,000 later on this year.
In that very same week, Democrats loudly demanded that Bush set a timetable for bringing troops home. That’s another lie that shouldn’t be told. When the Democrats put the timetable up for a vote in the Senate, they couldn’t even get 22 of their own members to support it.
No matter what lies were told to justify going into this war, the lies being told to keep it going are worse. They come at a time when everyone can see the war’s horrible human cost: 660,000 to one million Iraqis dead, more than two million who have been forced to flee their country and another two million who have been driven out of their homes, forced to move to another part of the country by the violence. And that only begins to tell the depth of the catastrophe that the United States, in all its might and glory, has inflicted on the Iraqis.
Compared to that, what can we say about the U.S. troops, those who are part of the war machine?
We can say what many of them would say: they are in Iraq, doing something they never wanted to do. And for each one of them, Iraq has also been a catastrophe. Maybe a few of them joined the army to fulfill a sick, macho fantasy. But there are all the rest – those who joined because there were no jobs, or to get an education, or out of mistaken patriotism after 9-11, only to discover that they had been duped.
Whatever their reasons for going into the army, for most of them it was not to kill civilians, men, women, children, even babies.
They put themselves, unknowingly, in the midst of a disaster, one that can haunt them for the rest of their lives. But they have the possibility to get themselves out of it, and by so doing stop this atrocious organized, high tech murder of other human beings just like themselves.
The U.S. troops carrying out this war, day by day by day, can stop it. Many have already left the army as soon as they could. Many more can do the same – or leave even earlier. They can be the soldiers who want to avoid combat, not those who seek it out. They can continue to express their disgust with this war, as many already have been – but more loudly, more widely. They can show that the generals have troops who aren’t ready to follow.
Just as with Viet Nam, finally it all boils down to the army – will it fight or will it not?
Civilians in this country – friends, family and friends of the soldiers, and not just them but also all those who want an end to the war – can support the desires of the troops not to fight it any longer.
If it depends on the Bush administration and its pet generals to stop the war, then the troops won’t ever all be brought home. The aim of this government is to use Iraq as its main base to control the oil of the whole Middle East.
If it depends on Democrats who verbally oppose this war, but don’t supply the votes needed to stop it – then the troops won’t be brought home. The aim of the Democrats is to use the war as an issue to get elected. Period.
This war will stop when the population of this country – soldiers and civilians – stops it.