Question for the conservatives

I saw on a messageboard I frequent where people are saying that if we step-down our presence in Iraq, we are somehow devaluing the lives of the American troops who have fought and died there.

I suppose my questions are:

1) Why are we training Iraqi military forces to run their own country if we're never going to step down our presence? I've yet to hear President Obama say that the war is over on Jan. 21, 2009, but I have heard him say that we need to establish a timeline for allowing Iraq to govern and police itself so that we can reallocate our troops to the real battleground: Afghanistan. I imagine he will work with senior military advisors to determine that timeline rather than simply pull a date out of his magician's hat. And our troops are working harder than I've ever had to work as they train Iraq to run itself. So why must our heavy presence there be indefinite?

2) Why don't we want to work with the United Nations and our previous allies to make our wars a success? Couldn't we step down our presence by working with the UN and allies to put some other countries' troops in our citizens' places? Wouldn't it help us to have allies in this battle?

3) This question really hits me in the gut because I know so many men and women whose lives were changed forever by the Vietnam War. How can you say that leaving a country without "winning" means that our troops gave their lives for nothing? In Iraq, many of them gave their lives because George Bush asked them to. Many gave their lives because they felt it was the right thing to do. Many gave their lives because our government wouldn't let them come home.

And in Vietnam, people gave their lives for all of those reasons and also because the government forced them to. And we didn't "win" that war. We had to resign ourselves to Vietnam being a complicated ball of yarn that we couldn't unravel. But in no way, shape, or form does that mean that all of those deaths were for nothing! And it also doesn't mean that the men and women who came home traumatized from that war weren't due respect and admiration for doing the job our government signed them up for.

I know that our country will not treat Afghanistan or Iraq War veterans as dispicably as it did the Vietnam veterans when our country does allow them to come home. I know that we - as a nation - are proud of our men and women in the military. I know that every injury, every death, and every sacrifice will be repaid with kindness, gratitude, respect and admiration.

How can anyone honestly say or believe that leaving Iraq tosses those sacrifices into the trash? If it does negate our troops' sacrifices, does it mean that all those who laid down their lives in Vietnam mean nothing? Is this what pro-Vietnam people thought back in the 70s? Does this mean that McCain's years of torture as a POW were for nothing? I may not have voted for McCain, but I respect him - and his spiritual survival of that torture is large part of the reason.

Please explain! I want to understand because I do believe we need to create a timeline to end this war. I do believe we need to train Iraq to run itself and focus back on our country and its true enemies, including Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Help me see why that's wrong.


  • Katie Jones

    I'm a conservative (well, a fiscal conservative at least- I support gay marriage, which kind of ruins the conservative credentials, but oh well), but I don't get this one, either. That Iraq war issue is really a quagmire.

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