How Long Until the Right Wing Attacks These Soldiers?

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I understand that Dennis Rehberg is an
expert on Iraq because he visited a portion of the Green Zone over
two years ago, but I’ll put my faith in this description, offered
by a group of American soldiers, at the end of a 15 month
deployment to Iraq:

To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that
long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a
recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is
far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned
officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we
are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as
increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting
civil, political and social unrest we see every day.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death
of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others
when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an
Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily
testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army
officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These
civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the
Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the
police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their
families. As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine
event.

In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the
streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a
death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed
on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny
with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the
primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are
likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care
packages.

We need not talk about our morale. As committed
soldiers, we will see this mission through.

Read the whole piece at the New York Times.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

1 Comment

  • *There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

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