We All Have To Start Thinking

by James Glaser
September 29, 2003

For weeks now different enlisted men have been writing about their tour of duty in Iraq. Now officers are writing about what they think. Just the fact that members of the American military are doing this tells us two things. One, we have freedom in this country, because those in the Armed Forces can still voice their opinion. Secondly, Things are not going the way we all want and we know this because these Americans are telling us what is going on over there.

I have no idea of who this Major Matthew Jennings is, other than the fact that he is a doctor and with twelve years of service, a professional Soldier we can't afford to lose. His story follows these thoughts. One long war tends to make many in the service call it quits. True there are some that stay for several, but if you check the record, they only have one war with heavy combat. Doctors will see the worst of any conflict they are in.

All Americans have to start thinking about how we are going to end this War in Iraq. There is no Exit Plan, we have never been told what winning over there means, and the suffering on both sides will harm our country for years to come.

In the eyes of the world, we are not the "good guys" in this war. The world over we are thought to be in Iraq for financial gain. The fact that the Ministry of Oil was the only office building in Baghdad saved from both bombing and looting reinforces that opinion.

With no Post War plan in place, we are making matters worse by stumbling along, taking casualties, and looking for help. President Bush acted tough while asking the United Nations to help us out. Every nation in the world knows he would have never done that, unless nothing was working.

We can't win in Iraq now and maybe we never could have. This isn't a war about winning. We will be lucky just to exit with dignity. The number of Americans that get killed and wounded over there is up to us, as is the number of Iraqis. The longer we stay, the more harm we will be doing.

Washington still wants a victory because of the election coming up next year and walking on the dead for votes will be nothing new. Both the American people and the Iraqi citizen know that it is people like Saddam Hussein and George Bush that caused this war. Both men have blood on their hands. As in most wars, both sides quickly lose any moral high ground.

"A Shared Frustration in Iraq"

This was written by Major Matthew Jennings for the BBC Panorama website.

Major Jennings is a professional soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division and has 12 years experience in the US army. He wrote this piece for the Panorama web site to sum up his feelings about the occupation of Iraq.

"War changes us immensely. Not just as a world community but individually as well.

"As a frontline physician in combat, I have faced many challenges and my own fears.

"I have placed young men, ones with dreams and families, in body bags. I have cared for the wounded, coalition and enemy soldiers as well as civilians, many being children younger than my own.

"I have witnessed the struggle of the people of Baghdad and my own soldiers while we waited for the promised help from my coalition leaders."

Post-war chaos

"I have suffered with the Iraqi people through the heat of a Middle East summer without electricity or adequate water supplies.

"I have watched the Iraqi people's faces turn from joy to anger, welcome to reflection, all while still trying to keep their hospitals open and provide care for their orphans.

"I came into this war hoping to rid the world of an evil man, Saddam Hussein. Once accomplished, I now find myself confined and surrounded by the post-war chaos and anger of a people without direction and begging for leadership. I see their pain and realize that at this time I am part of their pain.

"My story is not about the triumph of victory, but the shared frustration and suffering of two peoples trapped in the uncertain future after a war."

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