Beleaguered American soldiers in Iraq
By Mirza A. Beg
Milli Gazette Online
Young American soldiers
are fighting and dying in Iraq because their Commander-in-Chief, the
President so ordered. Had he cared for their lives, let alone the Iraqi
civilian lives, he would not have sent them to war on false, contrived and
now discredited pretexts of Saddam's collusion in the 9/11 attacks and his
possession of WMDs.
Soldiers are patriots,
they swear to protect and defend the Constitution. They join the military
for many reasons. To rise above the circumstances of their birth, to
follow the family tradition, or see the world, but above all to serve
their country proudly. Soldiers follow orders. They go to war in the
belief that they are doing it for the right reason. They are not schooled
in deceit, propaganda and hubris emanating from Washington. The generals
and the civilian policy makers are supposed to look after the soldier's
In a democracy, the
generals are subordinate to the elected president. They are supposed to
advise and follow orders, not as spineless toy generals, but as proud
upholders of a tradition with courage and honesty. It is indeed
excruciating for a top general to resign rather than follow orders of the
President, even if based on false premise or injurious to the soldiers and
the country. While ordering the soldiers for the ultimate sacrifice, they
at least should consider a career sacrifice for themselves.
Many retired generals
strongly criticized the Bush policy, but the serving generals could not.
They could have, only with a resignation in hand. It is no great mystery,
why the retired generals can see the falsehood but the serving generals
cannot. General Eric Shinseki the chief of the army staff in early 2003
strenuously asked for a much larger force. He angered the Secretary of
Defense, Rumsfeld by testifying honestly before the congress. He was
humiliated and side lined. The rest of the generals got the message.
If the war is not for
conquest as in the colonial times, but for self-defense, with time to
prepare - the following three principles are the most important
ingredients for success.
The military should be
allowed to plan without micro-management from the civilian leadership.
To achieve the objective, the force should be overwhelming and
equipped with the best the nation can provide. Granted, the soldier is
paid and has made the commitment freely, but the lives of the soldiers
are precious and should not be wasted wantonly.
All of the above
principles were willfully violated by the Bush administration.
The war in Iraq was
surreptitiously planned based on contrived false evidences. It was
launched over the objection of the world community not as a last
resort but in a headlong rush, with the hope of conclusion before the
elections of 2004. Many friends strenuously objected; others sulked
afraid of US power. The enemies saw it as another developing quagmire
for a superpower to be tamed. In the much-flaunted coalition, except
for the UK, we have no substantial help from any other country.
Military experts were
over-ruled about the number of troops needed, in favor of the
publicized "shock and awe" tactics of Rumsfeld. The brutal
bombings shocked the world and awed the Americans in the comfort of
their homes, who were told that the Iraqi oil would substantially pay
for the war and it would be over soon. With insufficient forces on the
ground, Iraq became a quagmire. Inadequate armor protection for the
soldiers and vehicles took its toll. It took a year of death and
criticism to even get the attention of the Pentagon.
administration connived and circumvented the US and international laws
through sophistry. Now exposed, secret memos approved torture at
Guantanamo Bay and the off shore Gulags in Iraq, Afghanistan, Diego
Garcia and many others. The worst revealed example of depraved torture
was the Abu Ghraib prison, eliciting national and international
Afraid of independent
inquiry, Rumsfeld chose a white wash of internal inquiries. Some lowly
soldiers received "slaps on the wrists." As a result
internationally and even more so in Iraq and Afghanistan, no one trusts
the word of the Bush administration.
For the acts of less than
one percent of sadistic American soldiers backed by the policies of the
administration, all American soldiers were tainted in the Iraqi eyes. It
became the greatest propaganda and recruiting tool for the Iraqi
resistance, as well as the terrorists and has revived the Afghan
resistance in the last few months.
In effect, Bush by his
convoluted policies is creating new "terrorists" for the
American soldiers to kill and die fighting. Brave American soldiers can
defeat any enemy for a just cause, God save them from their friends in the
Mirza A. Beg can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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