Bring home U.S. troops
Hearts are heavy this Fourth of July as the United States continues to wage an unwinnable war in Iraq.
Public support for President Bush and his war has steadily declined as the number of war dead continues to climb.
On a day when Americans are supposed to celebrate the freedom and liberty won by the blood of our forefathers, most Americans instead find themselves disgusted with the trillion dollar war being waged in their name with their tax dollars.
On a day when Americans are supposed to wave the flag with honor and respect, many Americans are disheartened and embarrassed. They are fed up with an arrogant president and an ineffective Congress and their inability to extract this nation from the ill-conceived war that has alienated U.S. allies and unnecessarily sullied the reputation of this great nation.
This year, our day of national pride feels more like a day of national shame.
Americans have had it with the war. According to a CNN poll a week before today’s holiday, only 30 percent of Americans support the war effort — a new low in public opinion. President Bush’s popularity — the percentage of Americans who think he is doing a good job — has eroded to the same 30 percent level.
Sixty-nine percent of those responding to the CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll believe things are going badly in Iraq. Only 17 percent think the situation is improving. And President Bush is losing his base of support — fellow Republicans. The CNN poll found 42 percent of Republicans now believe the United States should be withdrawing troops from Iraq.
The tide is shifting in Congress, too.
Soft-spoken and well-respected Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., shook the capital community last week when he distanced himself from Bush and called the Iraq War strategy a failure. In a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, the mild-mannered Lugar said, “I speak to my fellow senators when I say that the president is not the only American leader who will have to make adjustments to his or her thinking. In my judgment, the costs and risk of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved.”
Lugar’s courageous — albeit late — condemnation of the war in Iraq sent shock waves through the halls of Congress. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, followed Lugar’s lead the next day with a letter to the president that said, in part, “We must begin to develop a comprehensive plan for our country’s gradual military disengagement from Iraq and a corresponding increase in responsibility to the Iraqi government and its regional neighbors.”
Voinovich told CNN, “I think everybody knows that we fumbled the ball right from the beginning on this.”
The two Republican lawmakers are right. We have to begin the withdrawal of troops. It needs to be an orderly exodus in order to protect our troops and to give some hope that the Iraqi army will fill the void over time.
It was a lie to say we invaded Iraq to protect the United States from terrorists just as it is a lie to say leaving will aid the terrorists. Let them wallow alone in the middle of this bitter, multi-front civil and sectarian war. It isn’t worth a single more American life.
Cover for Republicans
As the top Republican and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar’s criticism should give more Republicans the cover they need to challenge Bush on the war.
It’s clear that the president’s prescription for victory — the so-called surge — is well in place, yet the increase in troops has not diminished the violence. If anything, Baghdad is a bigger killing field today than it was prior to the troop buildup.
Bush continues to stall for time, saying no rational assessment of the surge’s success or failure can be made until September.
How many more Americans will forfeit their lives on the battlefield between now and then? How many more tax dollars will be spent to stall America’s inevitable departure?
It’s time to end the American bloodshed. It’s time to bring the troops home.