I don't know why, but I get a lot of questions about Iraq. Mainly because I'm in the army and every time I mentioned that I was deploying, most people immediately assumed I was headed to the middle east. Well, I almost went there, but I didn't go so Iraq really doesn't apply to me. At this moment.
That being said, my opinion on Iraq is mostly supportive yet indifferent. And I'll explain why.
First and foremost, I had some reservations about going into Iraq. I knew this wasn't going to be an easy war if we went in. However, I do believe that Saddam Hussein was an evil man and the prevention of the Iraqi war was by and large in his hands. I do believe that the world is a better place without him. Unfortunately we should have taken him out during the First Gulf War. We didn't. I feel we had unfinished business there.
Another thing, I do not read negative press about Iraq, or at least try to avoid it. Why you might ask? Because I am doing myself no favors by looking at all of the things that are going wrong in the war and the casualty count and so on and so forth when the probability of me going there is high, and my former unit is once again on the radar to go this coming summer. Chances are, they'll make the rounds this time.
If my views toward the Iraq war were negative and I felt that we made a huge mistake going there and I continually bashed my Commander in Chief on his policies and then got sent to go there, would that help me? No. In fact, my morale will be shot. I will be miserable and i will put myself and every one around me in danger.
We should have done things differently, we should have initially gone in there with more troops, or maybe we should have waited a little longer before going in. It is unfortunate that we have to focus a lot of our energy into this war but the fact remains, we're there now. Hindsight is 20/20, but we started this, we must finish it, and pulling out now is not the way to do it. I would rather focus on the terrorists and draw them to Iraq then have to fight them on our home turf.
I am not going to do myself any favors by criticizing the war and destroying my motivation for being there. That is one of the worst things I can do for myself. It will only get me killed that much easier. And due to the fact that I almost went there multiple times, I chose to remain positive in our outlook and focus on the good that was coming out of Iraq, and ignore the negative press. This is war. I can understand that. There will be some horrible things that will happen, but that has happened in war since the beginnings of time. The more I look at war and read about it, I begin to understand the horrors behind it, and the true irrationality behind it. War disgusts me. It is a truly horrible thing.
Nobody hates war more then those who have to fight it. But the true warrior understands the need that sometimes you have to fight for something greater then yourself. Is fighting in Iraq worth dying for? I guess that depends largely on how you look at it. You can view this as a war for oil, or you can view this as a fight to give millions of people freedom from oppression under a tyrant who butchered his own people. Maybe the reasonings behind this war are shady, but I'll view it how I want to view it. There are Iraqis who are supportive of us and want us to be there. There are some who will try to fight us at every turn. It is unfortunate that they can't see what we are trying to accomplish, and that fighting us will only make us stay longer.
And this is an all volunteer army. I knew that going to war was a great possibility if I signed up. If I have any regrets about going to Iraq or Kosovo, I have nobody to blame but myself.
Sometimes I wish things ran a little more smooth in the military, but alas it is an imperfect institution run by imperfect people. And nobody is perfect. Mistakes will be made, and mistakes have been made in Iraq.
All I can do is do my best if I get sent there.
However, right now none of this really applies to me becuase my attention is currently directed at the Balkans. Not Iraq.
So please, don't ask me my opinion on the matter. Because right now all I care about is getting through this deployment in one piece.
Then I'll think about Iraq.
UPDATE - Ok, I have an Alibi to this post. I avoid negative press, yes, but I do read up on it a little bit to learn from the mistakes of others, such as Abu Ghraib and where things went wrong and how someone such as me, a preventive medicine specialist, can prevent things like that from occuring again. That is the only use I have for the negative press, to learn from it so that I don't repeat the same mistakes, though death counts won't tell me anything unless I know how they died.
And then I go about preventing those deaths. See, that's my job.