The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind of activity. I can sit here and ramble on and on about it, but its still fresh on my mind, (as well as the situation report) so I won’t go into that. But I can tell you that it has been a very busy time since we arrived here.
Have you ever seen grown men cry? We have a rather large assortment of teams, mostly Army teams, and I have to say these guys are some of the biggest whiners I have ever had the displeasure of working with. Most people think the difference between the Marine Corps and the Army is the motivation, esprit de corpse, and all those intangible qualities. But after seeing what I have seen this last week, I will tell you the difference is that the Marines take what they get and make it better, the Army expects the best and won’t work without it. In layman’s terms, the Marines plan for the worst, while the Army plans for the best.
Now I am not saying that we are better than they are, what I am saying is that our heads are where it should be, and their heads are not. Troop welfare is a critical to any mission, but mission accomplishment is and must always come first.
I was watching reading an article from MSNBC or CNN this morning, about the foreign troops and their plans for pulling out the soldiers. We turned to discussing the eventual draw down plans, and how soon the troops will be going home. While this is all well and good, and I am sure that the powers that be (military bosses) want to bring the troops home as soon as possible, I think, once again, that the media is making this a much bigger issue, and they don’t understand the nature of the situation. I can’t see any end to this situation in the near future, and I would be hard pressed to say that there are going to be large scale draw downs any time in the next 4 years. The simple fact is that this country is a hotbed of problems, and I believe the war against terror is being fought right here. Sure, we are winning, but this country is not close to governing itself, and we are not going to leave until it is stable. There are too many factions, to many issues, to many terrorists here now. If we draw down, we will create nothing short of chaos, destruction, death, and mayhem. Maybe, once the people have been given an opportunity to taste freedom, maybe if they are given the chance to see a viable future that the Iraqi citizen can play a part, and then we can talk draw down. A Marine I know gave it to us in simple terms…
As an American individual, we look deep into the future, planning from high school our future education, job, marriage, and retirement. Things like buying a home, a car, having kids, paying for their education; these are a part of our mental development. We moved passed the need for food, shelter, clothing, because, by and large, we lave that.
The typical Iraqi citizen, however, is the exact opposite of this. They are still in the food, shelter, clothing stages of survival, and when you are at that level, you will do whatever it takes to achieve that. I can’t blame them because I would do the same thing. Basically, if you didn’t have food and couldn’t feed your family, would you be willing to kill, steal, or commit other illegal acts to get it? Most American’s would not. Most Iraqi’s probably would.
What does this mean? I believe that, until we can move the Iraqi citizen beyond the survival stage, we will not be able to leave this country to its own devices. To do so would invite civil war, or, at least, create such an immense crime problem that the government would be hamstrung until it is solved. Once we can move them past the survival stage, the average citizen will be able to look at the future, take part in the process, and be part of the society.
Then, and only then, will we be able to go home. Then the media can report about the homecomings, the parades, and the “We Won” hysteria. But until then, don’t feed the frenzy, because the politicians just live for that. This war is about more than polls, it’s about more than sound bites. At least I hope they think so.