Take time this weekend to mark Iraq war anniversary
March 18, 2006
This weekend, whether you plan to march in protest to the United States’ presence in Iraq or attend services honoring members of the military who are serving there, it is important to acknowledge Sunday’s third anniversary of our country’s decision to send troops to war. Unfortunately, other news stories, often of less importance have since usurped news from the continued battle in Iraq. But American, British and Iraqi soldiers are still losing their lives, and the citizens of that country are still under siege.
As time passes, families on both continents are becoming weary and the objectives have become less clear. Despite the extension of U.S. involvement in the conflict, the military is still relying on the National Guard to supplement career military personnel.
For many, the continued enlistment of National Guard members who never bargained on going to war in a foreign land, and whose tours of duty have been repeatedly extended, seems unfair. And, as the war grinds on, they believe others should be drafted to help their country. This weekend’s milestone is a good reminder to relook at who’s paying the greatest price for the endeavor.
It is also essential to step back from reviewing the day-to-day gains and losses in Iraq to assess the value of what has been accomplished overall. Some will say that the toppling of Hussein, the end of the massacres and that country’s first democratic election are worth the sacrifice.
Others will point to the rising death toll, 2,312 as of Friday, and the apparent mistaken assumption that Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction as reasons to pull out before any other lives are lost.
That argument is gaining volume in Congress and throughout the country as news of continued insurgent attacks and fractionalization among Iraqis continues.
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It is a vital debate, one that needs to be revisited with passion. Therefore, on Sunday we will salute both those who are participating in the local peace march and those who are serving overseas.
We will also use the occasion to demand that the administration be forthcoming about its objectives, about the manpower needed to bring the conflict to an end and a specific plan for bringing American soldiers home and returning true sovereignty to Iraq.