For many of us blogging involves social commentary. Outside a strictly themed cooking or travel blog or something along those lines many blogs cover a number of topics including politics and social issues. Unlike politicians who specialize in thirty-second, say nothing sound bites a blog give the writer the format and freedom to write and explain their ideas and positions at length. What you see is what you get. I make no apologies for the positions I take here because they are my deeply held beliefs. Unlike a politician who must check the latest polls, I have no such pressure.
This week the United States began the final drawdown from combat operations in Iraq. In some ways I have mixed emotions about this. First off my connection to the war like most Americans is somewhat remote. As a firefighter in a post 9-11 world that would see terrorism hit the streets of the USA my professional career has changed forever since that fateful day ten years ago. But as far as the actual shooting war goes I was never part of that. However that doesn’t mean I don’t have family members, co-workers and friends who have been deployed. That’s the way this war has connected with most Americans, through our friends and relatives. As our service members come home I could not be happier for them. Getting back to “the world” in one piece is the ultimate goal of every Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine. As Americans we owe them a debt that we will never be able to re-pay. On behalf of myself and my family, I salute and thank each and every veteran who sacrificed so much for our country and our way of life.
My mixed emotions come into play after watching this video, the latest out of Egypt. The revolutions that have been spreading throughout the Middle East and Egypt in particular show that people there do want change. Thanks in large part to America intervention in removing dictators like Saddam Hussein and Mo-Mo Quadaffi that change is possible. But in order for change to take place in an orderly fashion, there needs to be stability. Unfortunately stability takes time. Time as in many years. You can’t repair generations of dictatorship, oppression, economic chaos, torture and murder overnight. As we see here, Egypt is in chaos and is in serious danger of disintegration. We can see the Egyptian people have no Second Amendment (or any other amendment for that matter) with which to defend themselves against troops with pistols and clubs. They are powerless do determine their own fate and are highly vulnerable.
Since the collapse of the Mubarak government was so sudden and complete the power vacuum that was left behind has been filled by the military. It took years for our soldiers and diplomats to re-build the economic and political infrastructure in Iraq. What unnerves me is the Obama administrations rush to withdraw for purely political reasons before the job is complete. Judging by this video things can turn violent and ugly real fast in the Middle East. I hope that doesn’t happen in Iraq because of the power vacuum we are leaving behind. Remember we stayed for FIFTY plus years in Europe following World War II. Likewise in Japan and Korea.
Like it or not the United Nations is powerless without the United States. We provide the stability needed for freedom, democracy and human rights to take root. If things go bad in Iraq the blame will be squarely on THIS administration. We should all pray that doesn’t happen because it would be a waste of our blood and treasure. While our military personnel may not have wanted to fight and die in Iraq they did. And I’m quite sure nothing would piss them off more than to see those sacrifices be in vain. The best thanks they could get, the highest validation the could recieve would be a stable and self reliant, free Iraq.
The Iraqi people have a tall order in front of them. We should all hope it doesn’t end with women being beaten and dragged through the streets as in Egypt.