To the point week of 9/20/07


PRESIDENT BUSH ADDRESSED the nation recently and announced that he is authorizing the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. A small number will be home by Christmas; with the bulk of our troops coming home within the next year.

While I applaud the President for this decision, I can’t help but wonder what motivated this decision, at this time.

What’s changed over there in the past few weeks that has led to this decision? Has insurgency drastically subsided? Is the local law enforcement entity beginning to gain control over the cities and towns? Have we accomplished what we went there to do?

Or – did someone suddenly realize that there’s a political campaign to be waged in the coming year?

For weeks and months and years, we have been told that our efforts were making progress in Iraq. We were told that our forces were training Iraqis to take over local control. We were told that we were winning the war on terror.

But then we would get reports of car bombs and kidnappings and exploding buildings and killings.

I remember when we mourned the loss of the 100th life of an American in Iraq.

According to, as of September 18th there had been 3,783 Americans killed in the “War on Terror”, with another 27,848 having been wounded.

Suddenly this has all become a list of statistics to many people. We’ve been there so long, and we’ve lost so many, that we are beginning to fail to see the “faces” of those brave men and women.

When the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon occurred on September 11th, 2001 – along with the downing of the airplane in Pennsylvania; we as a country wanted justice.

We wanted Osama bin Laden.

We just observed the sixth anniversary of those attacks.

The best records available tell us that 2,966 innocent people died that day in those attacks. At the time it was an unimaginable number for each of us to comprehend.

But we’ve now lost more soldiers in Iraq than people on 9/11.

And we’re up to our necks fighting terrorists in Iraq.

And we still haven’t found Osama bin Laden.

So we’re coming home.

But what are we leaving?

It appears that we are leaving behind a teetering government trying to control pockets of individual terrorists. One of the problems that our forces have faced there is that it’s very, very difficult to identify the enemy.

Is it the woman walking down the street? The child with the backpack walking to school? The elderly man on the bicycle? The couple driving by in the car?

We don’t know.

Before anyone jumps to any misinformation, I greatly respect and admire the work that our men and women are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are the bravest of the brave, and it is my prayer that each and everyone of them comes home safely and as soon as possible.

But the question is not one of supporting the troops, but rather why this long-awaited decision is being made now.

If bringing our troops home is truly a gesture that will hopefully lead to political victories next year, then our leaders have made a mockery of the bravery that has been displayed by our soldiers.

If something’s drastically different now than six months ago, then tell us.

If nothing’s changed, then tell us what led to this decision.

As much as I want our troops home soon and safe; are we leaving a bigger mess behind than was there to start with? Have we finished what we went there to do?

Or have we simply stirred a hornet’s nest, and then left it behind for the next unsuspecting person to walk into?

We have a duty to protect our citizens, including the ones who serve in the military; but we also have a duty to those innocent men, women, and children in Iraq who have done nothing wrong, but for the past four years have found themselves living in a war zone.

Those Iraqi citizens are trusting that we’ll keep them safe, too.

But at what cost?