UPI Pentagon correspondent Pamela Hess of has been making the cable news rounds lately, and is telling some compelling stories about her experiences in Iraq. Her interview on C-SPAN in early March of this year is the most moving eyewitness accounts of "conditions on the ground" you're likely to see. It was almost enough to convince me that we should "stay the course" in Iraq.
Saving the Course
Hess related her experiences of U.S. troops doing their utmost to provide security to that segment of the Iraqi population that just wants to get on with living a normal life. Some of her anecdotes are heart wrenching, especially the one about the poor Iraqi kid who got shot in the face four times by bandits. One is tempted to suspect that she's acting as an administration shill, but I don't think that's the case. We've seen plenty of Rovewellian phonies making crafted appeals to emotion. Hess's emotion is genuine. But there's a problem with making decisions about wars based on emotion.
In her C-SPAN interview, Hess made the point that the Iraq war isn't about U.S. national security, and I agree with her. The administration's bunker mentality bunk about how "they" will follow us "here" if we withdraw from Iraq is just a bunch of boo noise. Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia won't take over Iraq, and neither will Iran or Syria.
As to the threat of a regional war breaking out in the Middle East, well, that's bunker bunk too. None of the countries in that part of the world have militaries capable of sustaining prolonged, high intensity conflicts. At worst, we might see one or two border skirmishes, and if those idiots want to skirmish along their borders, let them. There's no need for us to step in the middle of those kinds of pillow fights.
So what the hell are we doing in Iraq?
Saving Face, Saving Grace, Saving Dick and Dubya's Big Oil Cronies
If we're trying to spare ourselves the embarrassment of the world's "best-trained, best-equipped" armed force in the world having its brass handed to it by a relative handful of sand gomers armed with popguns and Radio Shack technology, we're too late.
A year or so ago, I wrote an article that said the only valid reason to stay the course in Iraq was that we owed the Iraqi people something for having broken all their pottery, which is more or less what UPI's Hess espouses, but that excuse is wearing thinner than the knot in Karl Rove's tie. It's all starting to sound like one of those Catholic charity commercials about "those poor kids" in Africa with swollen bellies and flies in their eyes.
At this point, I'm a lot more concerned about those poor American kids coming home with their limbs blown off and their eyes shot out, and the ones who don't come home alive.
And what do their sacrifices serve? They line the pockets of Dick and Dubya's big oil buddies who want to keep a chokehold on the global energy market, even as young Mr. Bush exhorts us to cure our addiction to foreign oil.
Now, that's something to cry about.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.