Thursday, January 11, 2007

a response: please don't

Dear President Bush:
After thinking a bit today, reading some news, and re-reading your speech last night, I was compelled to write you - not something I have ever done to any political figure. I tend to believe letters such as this are akin to Lists For Santa mailed in December.

First, thank you for apologizing. I'm content in believing it was sincere, as I'm going to take you by your word, although I feel betrayed by speeches in your past. I'm willing to take this fresh perspective because you ask it, as I hope you are willing to extend it.

I need you to reconsider this act of your military tweak to this ongoing war in Iraq. The current numbers of soldiers in Iraq (150,000) suggest another 20,000 will not change much. Truthfully, you and I both know this is really just changing schedules of existing soldiers - who's resolve and morale you've pushed to limits by the dubious claims behind Iraq's initial invasion.

Your apology was the first step towards what I'm asking: Iraq will be so slightly changed, probably only slowed towards complete anarchy, that it's not worth the dramatic emotional toll the US will suffer. The families picking up the pieces of the returned war injured and deceased are going to be your legacy. By extending or growing this group, you are only solidifying this historical perspective. Children and grandchildren will grow up with missing, maimed or bitter ancestors from this declaration of war. I saw a photo with a tear on your face today, sir. This war wins us nothing but such tears - a stable Iraq will be found the same way with 20,000 more US soldiers or not.

I'm pleading with you. Please, Mr President - my leader as everyone's leader in the US right now: You can change years of suffering in this country by extending the humility you showed last night. Congress and the military are the best advice as to what this country feels, and all signs point to their need for a reduced military action and a new army to be deployed: An army of diplomats, leading tables upon tables of discussions with towns, tribes, religious leaders and entire countries around the world: There must be a better solution to a civil war than simply killing the participants.

Please continue the honest and humble stance you showed by extending your proposal - indeed, changing it. Put a short term limit on all soldiers in Iraq and begin deploying more teams of non-military chaperons to assist the entire region in adjusting to the realities of Iraq now, not any promised Iraq of the future. Truthfully, few people, from blogs of Iraqi and US citizens and soldiers, as well as militia they fight, believe your decision holds any real change in it.

But there is a path forward that changes their expectations: Realistically challenging the existence of a country of Iraq entirely. If we lower our military presence, the country may indeed split, fade or fall apart, but this isn't a issue we've begun but merely uncovered. We need not be the police of this part of the world - this argument leads us to believing we should also police several other countries and eventually, the entire world directly. I cannot believe you condone such a role for our country's soldiers - policing is too fine a tool for our immensely strong and yet blunt military.

Thank you for your attention.

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