Saturday, June 11, 2005

Joseph L. Galloway from Knight Ridder Newspapers

I couldn't find a link to this article but Joseph Galloway was kind enough to grant me permission to post the whole thing here on my blog.

Posted on Wed, Jun. 08, 2005

Tell U.S. troops the truth


In a Memorial Day interview, Vice President Dick Cheney told Larry King that the Iraqi insurgency is in its death throes, Osama bin Laden ''is on the run,'' we've dealt a major blow to al Qaeda and the terror suspects detained at Guantánamo have been ``treated humanely and decently.''

Wait a minute. What did he say? That sounded suspiciously like a ''light at the end of the tunnel'' speech.

President Bush echoed his No. 2's conclusions the next day, declaring that the upsurge in violence in Iraq is evidence that the insurgency is on its last legs.

We haven't heard the like since July 3, 2003, when the president told those misguided souls who thought they saw an opportunity to kill Americans in Iraq: ``Bring `em on!''

Since the last good news in Iraq, the Jan. 30 elections, and a resulting but brief pause in the pace of attacks on Americans and Iraqis, more than 700 Iraqis have been slaughtered in a wave of terrorist bombings and attacks that are increasing in sophistication and viciousness. The death toll among American troops in Iraq is 1,665 and rising.

Packed with explosives

Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld marches stubbornly on with his crackpot ideas about how to transform the military so that it's lighter, faster and more agile. So far, he's succeeding only in breaking the Army and the Marine Corps.

As Knight Ridder's Tom Lasseter reported last week, U.S. field commanders say that we have so few troops along the Syrian border that the area has remained wide open for the free transit of Holy War folks from all over the Muslim world. They come to drive cars packed with explosives to kill themselves and fellow Muslims in the name of God.

We arrived in Iraq more than two years ago knowing that more than a million tons of bombs, artillery shells, land mines, grenades, bullets, portable anti-aircraft missiles, mortars, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and AK-47 rifles were sitting in more than 600 ammunition dumps all over the country.

But because there aren't enough U.S. troops on the ground, we've secured only about 25 percent of those ammo dumps. Some others have a frightened Iraqi security guard, armed with a rusty pistol, on the gate. When a dump truck driven by heavily armed terrorists pulls up and they offer him a choice of a $100 bill or death, he waves them through. They load the dump truck with 500-pound bombs and 155 mm artillery shells to make the ubiquitous IEDs -- improvised explosive devices -- that kill American soldiers and Iraqis the next day or the next week.

In pursuit of Rumsfeld's holy grail of fast and light, Army divisions have been ordered to leave home half or more of their tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. Tank and artillery crews have been dismounted, turned into light infantry and sent out in light transport vehicles, Humvees, to patrol the deadliest roads and streets in the world.

They've paid the price, and they continue to pay it.

These fine young soldiers, many of them National Guard members and Reservists, get only six or nine or 12 months between combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most are on their second or third time around.

There's an answer to this, if our intention is to stay in Iraq as long as it takes: Increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps so the burden can be shared and lightened.

This Rumsfeld refuses to do, even as he watches the force begin to crack and recruitment fall 25 percent and more below target. This would be a good time to conduct a thoughtful review of where we are in this war, where we're going, what our exit strategy should be and what can be done to prevent a Vietnam-style disaster in the Middle East.

The answer isn't staying the course, if the course we're on points us in the wrong direction.

The answer isn't the false optimism of those who argue that more insurgent attacks are proof that the insurgency is dying, or that Iraqi boys will soon be doing what until now American men and women have had to do for them.

Their military and civilian superiors owe our soldiers -- and all of

us -- more than political spin.

They, and we, deserve realism and the truth.

Joseph L. Galloway is the senior

military correspondent for Knight

Ridder Newspapers.


Kate said...

Galloway is absolutely right. Thank you for posting his commentary.

If only we could get our leaders to speak the truth on anything at all. I guess they're too busy "creating reality" to see it for what it is.

I hope you're doing okay, Zach, and that your family is hanging in there. Take care and stay safe --

Kristen said...

Well its no secret that the Bush Administration relies heavily on the Bait and Switch tactic to make it through press meetings. I'm sure if we had heard the whole interview from the VP and the president, that was only a quick response before they brought in another topic to distract the public. If more people were like Galloway and actually looked at the numbers and paid attention to what the President doesn't want you to notice, there would be far more than 53% disapproving the way Bush is doing his job. If those same people who dissapprove now could only have seen through him and his whole administration and had been willing to vote months ago, who knows, things MIGHT be different. I emphasize might because no politician ever lives up to all he promises. What keeps me a little upbeat about this whole situation is that there ARE people like Galloway out there trying to inform the public of the incompetence of our leaders. It helps to shed a little light on the situation.
Keep your chin up Zach, you'll be home in Tara's arms soon.

Anonymous said...

I read all the stories about the utter incompetence and lies from the BushCo admin and I just get furious. What adds to that anger is when I see people here in the states driving around in Hummers as if nothing is happening. I wonder how they'll feel when their conscript (like u Zach) kids get sent over there? Will they be so willing to fill up that Hummer then?

Hurria said...

Interesting that Galloway accepts the Bush administration's received version, and shows great concern over the over-publicized killings of Iraqis by so-called "insurgents" while completely ignoring the fact that every single day an uncounted number of Iraqis are killed by American occupation forces. Of course, we know that all those killed by American forces are so-called "insurgents" - you know, Ba`thist die hards, and foreign "jihadists". The only ones who are killing civilians are those nasty "insurgents".