Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From The Ground

There is an excellent op-ed in the Washington Post from a major in the Marine Corps (hat tip, Instapundit). In the column the author talks about the difference between the level of support for the Iraq War among army officers (64%) versus the level of support among most Americans (30%). That those closest to the action believe they can achieve stability in Iraq should make us all reflect on our charges that the situation is a quagmire.

We know the streets, the people and the insurgents far better than any armchair academic or talking head. As military professionals, we are trained to gauge the chances of success and failure, to calculate risk and reward. We have little to gain from our optimism and quite a bit to lose as we leave our families over and over again to face danger and deprivation for an increasingly unpopular cause. We know that there are no guarantees in war, and that we may well fail in the long run. We also know that if we follow our current plan we can, over time, leave behind a stable and unified country that might help to anchor a better future for the Middle East.


We can fail only if the false imagery of quagmire takes hold and our national political will is broken. In that event, both the Iraqi people and the American troops will pay a long-term price for our shortsighted delusion.

The excerpts I have included don't really do the column justice and I encourage everyone to read the whole thing.