The Right Side

Notes from a conservative student.

The Danger in Iraq

Posted by Cullin on September 9, 2008

Not too long ago I got the privilege to speak with a current member of the Navy.  His name is Kenneth Bradbury and I have known him for quite some time.  After he joined the Navy I didn’t see him or talk to him for a long time, but he recently made a trip back to Lufkin during the events of Gustav.

With me always being one to discuss politics in everyday life I naturally got onto the subject of the war on terror.  And, he had his complaints on how we’re handling the situation in the Middle East.

He wasn’t a fan of our front in Iraq.  He felt that we were spending too much time there trying to train Iraqi forces, and not enough time in the Afghani theater.

“Our biggest problem is that we keep losing FOBs; Forward Operating Base.” He said, “we’ll take a hit, lose 9 or 11 guys and just retreat from the base.”

He said this wasn’t allowing for us to keep any sort of ground that we had gained, noting that when Afghani militants attack, they stage a major offensive, unlike Iraqi militants who hit and run.

He went on to praise how the Polish were handling their operations in Afghanistan, and how well it was working.

“When the Polish lose 9 or 11 guys on the ground,” he stated,  “they’ll send in 90 more to take care of the job.”

He also told a story of how when the Polish took one fire from a sniper while passing through a small neighbor hood, they stopped and searched the entire area until they found the shooter, not allowing him a second chance to try to take more lives.

He said that trying to train Iraqi forces are costing us a lot as well.

“We’ll train them, and then whenever you tell them your going to be sending them to another part of the country,” he said, “they just drop out and go back home.”

And, whenever we try to use Iraqi forces along side American forces, there tends to also be a desertion problem.

“When you take a group of the Iraqi army to take an area, those who go often leave as soon as they are fired upon, and we have to leave the area with them.”  He lamented, “we can’t fight because [the government] won’t let us, and we just lose the ground.”

What he outlined was a commitment problem on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We’re over there, but we’re only half-way doing the job.  And, that is most likely what is costing us so much time, money, and so many lives in this war.

Our danger in the Middle East is that, along side fighting a war on terror, we’re trying to fight a PR war.  We’re too busy trying to keep a good face, and this is cost us dearly; much like it did in Vietnam.  We need to be more like the Polish in this case.  We need to remove the burden of image and focus on getting even better results so that we may leave the area in a sustainable peace.

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