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Zahala San Simone

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Cleaning Up the Mess...
by Zahala San Simone   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Posted: Tuesday, November 21, 2006

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Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) summed it up nicely, I think. He said, our troops are “fighting and dying for a failed policy”. I couldn’t agree more. He also believes that more troops should be sent to finish off the mess that is now Iraq.

I like that idea too.

You see, as I explained in my article “The Real Cost of It All”, war is a drain on all of us—both directly and indirectly. It’s costs reach far beyond our current generation to the future—often two or three generations later. And, it robs our planet of jobs, new technologies, and human capital.

But once started…it must be finished. Decisively. And the best reason for that is to prevent warmongers from doing it again.

Remember the old saying--once bitten, twice shy?

The Middle East is a particularly important area for a U.S. victory. As Iran proudly continues to build its nuclear program, and with North Korea on a hell-bent quest to become a nuclear arms broker (see my articles “So…What’s Wrong With Korea” and “The Soprano State”), our premature withdrawal will give terrorists, as well as our enemies, just the ammunition they need to re-form coalitions and attack us.

And, as most of you know, most of the people in the U.S. had nothing to do with sending troops to Iraq. We believed what we were told—that Saddam had chemical weapons. So, we supported our troops.

Still, we’re the ones that could suffer most as a result of a failure in Iraq.


Because it’s been a long time since a bomb was dropped on continental U.S. soil. Our geographic location, as well as the fact that we are bordered by only two nations, has long been an advantage. Recent reports though have indicated that terrorists are anxious to hurt us where we live. And 9/11 should have taught us that it is indeed possible to do so.

So, leaving Iraq in political and moral shambles is clearly not an acceptable alternative. We’ve got to finish what we started, and we’ve got to do it right. In fact, I would argue that we had no business going over there in the first place if that wasn’t our plan. In that case, we should have just waited until U.S. interests were directly affected, and then fought only to protect those interests.

But that’s not what we did.

Now that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s ‘faster, cheaper, better’ military strategy is over, we should be supporting the senior military staff that told Rumsfeld all along that we needed more troops to finish the job. These men have had decades of military strategic and combat experience, and my guess is that they know what they’re talking about.

The sole way to ensure that the least lives are lost going forward in this conflict, is to send enough troops for protection, for control, and for the appropriate show of might. Why?

I’d like to illustrate with a story...

When my son was about 3 years old, he showed a bent for the arts. He never much liked to play outside, or ride a bike. As he grew, I could tell that he was an artistic type—into drawing, coloring, etc. (What a surprise, you say—when his mother is a poet!)

Anyway, when he was about 8, I noticed one day that he had a particular aversion to going outside to play with the other boys. There was one that lived next door, and one that lived across the street, that were his same age.

But I couldn’t get him to tell me why.

So, that day, I went outside to do some yard work, and took him with me. He stayed by my side, even though the boys he used to play with were there. As a test, I asked him to go get his Skip-It from the garage, and play with it in our driveway, while I continued my yard work. He did, and the boys, who were playing in a driveway across the street, looked at him with interest, but wouldn’t come near.

My son wouldn’t even make eye contact with them.

As I stood there trying to figure this out, one of the boys’ mothers came out of her house, with the mother of other boy. They stood, within my earshot and that of the boys, and discussed how I behaved like I thought my son was ‘too good’ to play with their children. They further commented that I had placed him in piano, Boy Scouts and karate—things they couldn’t afford because they had more than one child (my son is an only child). So, their children playing with my son could only spell trouble.

Needless to say, I was infuriated. My first instinct was to confront them then and there, but I am sure that one of God’s most powerful angels gripped me, until I calmed down. I surely would have said something I would have later regretted.

But I could see how uncomfortable my son was in their presence. So, I stopped my work, and asked him to get his soccer ball. He did, and I proceeded to play soccer with him, up and down our driveway, and up and down our block.

We then went into the house, where I prepared strategy number two.

A few days later, I ran into one of the most respected women in our neighborhood, and told her the story. I explained to her that my son had never really liked playing outside, but he had expressed an interest in, and had a talent for, the arts. So, since I believe in assisting children in pursuing THEIR dreams, I enrolled him in activities that I thought he would enjoy. In addition, I explained that even though Xavier was an only child, I was a single parent, and a homeowner. So, I sacrificed every day to afford these activities. But it was more important to me that he had the opportunity to express himself artistically, than it was for him to fit in. I had never even considered that the other boys might become jealous of him because of it. And I believed that, if those boys had had the right kind of parents, jealousy wouldn’t be a problem.

I certainly would not have stopped Xavier from playing with them just because either of them was enrolled in an activity that he couldn’t do.

To my great relief, she couldn’t have agreed with me more—and had had the same trouble with her children when they were small.

I went into my home with great relief for I knew then that the battle was won. The very next day, I saw her talking to those mothers. And, she clearly was dominating the conversation. I stood in my window and smiled.

She didn’t need to report back to me—I could tell that she was telling them off. Their faces looked like they had seen a ghost.

And, I almost doubled over with laughter when she was successful in getting a couple of the other neighbors into the conversation. I could tell by their frequent looks over to my house, that they were being told the story as well.

The women were mortified. And, the next time my son asked to go outside to play, the little boys came over and played with him.

No further incident.

My point is this—my son had expressed an interest in these things, and I CHOSE to enroll him. So, it was really my fault that these boys were shunning him. If I hadn’t shown him support, I would have been teaching him a horrible lesson about responsibility, leadership and accountability. He would have suffered because I didn’t have the guts to ‘make it right’.

And that’s my case about Iraq—we can’t leave the Iraqi people unsupported. It’s just not the right thing to do. When people are helpless and hurting, and it’s in any part our fault, we are obligated to help. And, from the time we dropped the first bomb in Iraq (back in Operation Desert Storm), we became partially to blame for their current plight.

So, we need to put our money (and might) where our mouths are. Else, the terrorists will soon have a new stomping ground—Iraq. And the U.S. will have a much diminished reputation worldwide.

Then, unfortunately, it won’t matter much if Saddam is dead…

Our lives will be in much more jeopardy.

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Reviewed by Lem Yedowicz
This view is from Canada and one might say 'easy for him to say' but what happens in Iraq also affects us. I'm afraid the US is going to have to step aside and see what happens in the coming years. They still have the ability to strike ( from carriers etc. ) and it may be smarter to employ their ability to move around rather than pose as stationary targets. I am also afraid that the battle for hearts and minds in Iraq is lost. Even a democracy there will be a hostile democracy
Reviewed by Butch Howard
Good article Wendi! Although I believe Saddam did in fact have chemical weapons and posed a serious threat to the United States through his general support of terrorism and suicide bombers and through the efforts of our troops we have put an end to untold suffering in Iraq, the problem of social and religious turmoil remains and we must now take the correct steps to stop it. The first thing that must be done is to secure the borders of Iraq. Obviously, this will require many more troops than we currently have in theater. It's the same problem we have with our own borders here in this country. No one seems to be willing to take the necessary steps to solve the problem for fear of hurting someones feelings. Pollitical correctness is going to kill this country if we don't wake up and elect leaders instead of complacent politicians.
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