Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Iraq: The Forgotten War?


Soldiers from the 17th Fires Brigade and 2nd Brigade
Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division arrive by to assist
the Iraqi ArmyFaddaqhryah and Bahar in Basra Province.

Photo: Spc. Maurice A. Galloway/U.S. Army


 Stories about Iraq and the war being fought there once dominated the news. The liberal media doggedly reported, and kept Iraq on the front burner as long as American casualties were high. In fact counting the number of casualties seemed to be a priority. Today, Iraq is seldom mentioned. If there are reporters embedded with the troops we don’t know who they are, we don’t hear reports. The only news from Iraq deemed worthy of mention is when an insurgent bomb is detonated killing Iraqis and damaging structures. It is the media’s way of reminding us that not everyone in Iraq is happy that the U.S. went there in the first place to rid them of the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, and to prevent American hating Islamist terrorists from regrouping and training there.

Since President Barack Obama declared last August that combat operations had ended, it seems difficult for most Americans to understand that soldiers can still be killed in Iraq. Writing for Stars and Stripes, Megan McCloskey asks the question: “Is Iraq the new forgotten war?” Would it surprise most Americans to learn that since Obama made his speech, 26 American military personnel have died in Iraq.? The fatalities demonstrate that the “advise and assist” roles now performed by the 46,000 troops still stationed in the country are not without danger. To date, there have been 14 service members killed in 2011, bringing the war’s death toll to more than 4,440. Eight of the 14 died as a result of hostile fire.  

Noel Brinkerhoff reports in All Thing Gov “A poll released in January showed nearly two thirds of respondents were only somewhat interested, not too interested or not interested at all in news about Iraq. Anecdotal evidence suggests many Americans believe the war to be over and are surprised to learn that soldiers are still dying in Iraq. “It would have been unthinkable even two years ago to say that we would reach a point at which most Americans and, indeed, some people in Washington, would increasingly be forgetting about Iraq,” Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) said in February. “But that point has largely come.” Indeed it has.


Brandon Hocking, killed in Iraq March 20, 2011
Barack Obama promised his supporters that he would bring the troops home, yet he has backed a surge in Afghanistan and the troops are still serving and dying in Iraq. The Obama backing media will not report the news as they happen so as not to disturb the president’s newly announced reelection campaign. Yet families are still coping with the loss of their dear ones. In an interview with Megan McCloskey, Britney Hocking shares that upon learning of her brother’s death in combat most people feel that he must have died in Afghanistan. Sgt. Brandon Hocking was killed in Iraq last month by an improvised explosive device.

His death is one of the latest since the president announced the end of combat operations last summer. Sgt. Hocking’s death, McCloskey writes, “serves as a grim reminder of what is fast becoming a forgotten war. The United States has spent eight years of war in Iraq, with 4,443 service members killed there. About 46,000 troops remain on the ground in “advise and assist” roles, and 23 service members — 11 this year — have been killed since the mission change.” As the reader can see, the number of deaths since this year began alone, keep increasing as our sources become more current.

Recently, the unrest in the Middle East has really put in focus the impact that the Internet Age has had on the world, and particularly in the war zone. Soldiers can Skype, and speak to their families via the Internet as well as emailing and chatting -- they can keep in close touch with families and friends without waiting for “mail call.” It has to be disturbing to them to know that they are all but forgotten to much of the American public. The same can be said for having to serve with the ridiculous rules of engagement in place which dictate how and when a soldier can fight and defend himself and his fellow soldiers.

Two Sisters From the Right received the following note from a reader who also happens to be a soldier in Iraq: “The liberal media isn't telling the public what it needs to know. Things are not getting better here no matter what BHO says. Every other day we are getting hit by IDF (indirect fire, i.e. mortars and rockets) or our patrols are being hit with IEDs or even worse EFP (explosive formed projectile, IEDs made with copper that cut through armored vehicles like a hot knife through butter). What does it take to allow soldiers to fight back? The other day we lost 2 soldiers and 12 more were wounded when a 107mm rocket landed in their living area. What did we do ? NOTHING ! They are hitting us were we "live", why can't we hit them in their houses. Oh, we might offend some sheik, or Iraqi police chief, or Iraqi officer.”

Consider, if you will, what the inability to return fire to defend themselves does to the combat veteran’s morale, especially those who were accustomed to fighting back and fighting for their lives. Now they have to sit idly by,  defenseless in the country where they lost so many of their comrades as they fought to bring people in a far- away land a decent chance at freedom. Is their sacrifice appreciated at all? Is it appreciated by the Iraqis? Does the American civilian population fully understand what they have lost, and what they have given up in order to keep the fighting away from our own soil?

After years of having the liberal media covering the war on their terms, poisoned with their bias, we don’t expect them to suddenly bring us  honesty in their reporting.  We do however want Americans to remember that American soldiers are still fighting a war in Iraq, albeit a war restricted by the idiocy of rules of engagement which impede a soldier’s inherent right to self defense. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are political hot coals for the Obama administration. Without the Iraq War, and the rising death count, Barack Hussein Obama would not have been elected President of the United States. In 2007 Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency from the steps of the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. It was there that Lincoln delivered his “House Divided Speech” and Obama wanted to appeal to a nation divided by the continuing war in Iraq. His “hope and change” message was accompanied by his promise to end the war in Iraq and to bring the troops home.

On April 4, 2011, the 44th president of the United States once again announced his candidacy for reelection. Two years after he took office, Americans are still divided. Obama now has a war of his own in Libya, the economy is still in shambles, the war in Afghanistan has escalated, we are currently facing an imminent government shutdown, and the troops Obama promised to bring home are still in Iraq. On Monday Secretary of Defense Gates arrived in Iraq and was expected to remind the Iraqi leaders that the US withdrawal date is fast approaching. As that date nears the violence in Iraq is escalating. The Iraqis have had more than sufficient time to prepare themselves for self- government. Whatever the plans are to replace the US military in Iraq, they should be put in action immediately.

If our soldiers in Iraq cannot defend themselves from attack, they need to come home. Regardless of what the Obama loving news media attempts to tell us, let us remember that our deployed military remains in harm’s way. We will continue to support them and hold them up in our prayers. They are our heroes, our warriors, and the sacrifices that they and their family have endured will never be forgotten.


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