Wednesday, July 18, 2007

One Journalist/Soldier's plan for Iraq

So I see Democrats in Congress pulled an all-nighter to talk about the war in Iraq while Republicans slept in their beds with dreams of blocking a vote dancing in their heads. Is this any way to run a country? The war is THE most important issue facing our country today -- if the 3,500+ dead U.S. Troops and 20,000+ wounded hadn't already convinced us already. Right now, there's no end in sight.

Trying not to get political, here's one journalist/soldier's way to move the war forward to a conclusion while also implementing it in a responsible way.

I'm calling it the "10K plan." The pentagon begins withdrawing 10,000 troops every month. It's that simple. With 150K on the ground now, a 10K monthly withdrawal is sizable enough to send a message to the Iraqi leadership that "we're not staying forever" while not just up and running away. It also sends a firm message to the Iraqi police and military forces that you've had four years to train yourselves to secure your country, and it's time to do that full-time.

Bringing 10K troops home every month would also give the American people regular homecomings to congratulate our heroes as they return and a feeling that we really our making progress.

On the first of every month, military commanders brief Congress on how Iraq is coping with the slow pullout of our troops. If Iraq falls into crisis mode, we pause the 10K plan and the UN would get involved as in any other civil war across the globe.

If we stayed on schedule, the last troops would turn the lights out in Iraq just as voters head to the polls in 2008. (I realize that even when the war ends -- whenever that is -- we'll always have at least a small footprint of troops there, but we need to end the appearance of occupation if we're ever to save our relationship with Arabs across the globe.)

Is it a perfect plan? Nope. Is it something that could give each side of the aisle a feeling that we're heading in the right direction? I think so. Would the American public get behind it? Yep.

Every day in this country we give harsh deadlines. We tell single moms that they have one year of welfare or only so much time of unemployment and then you're on your own. Those are families that will fall into crisis and still we give them a deadline. Why do we hesitate to do that with leaders in Iraq?

Then again, what do I know?

I'm just a military officer who spent 14 months in this war trying every second to get home in one piece and now living with the memories and depression of what I endured.

And I'm just a journalist whose interviewed family members of those killed in Iraq and troops who returned without body parts.

And I'm just a friend who returned home with fellow soldiers who lost their relationships and jobs .. and one even killed himself.

And I'm just a father of three sons wondering if my oldest will be drafted into the fighting in a few years if this war continues to drag on, so yeah, what do I know?

So there it is: The 10K plan.

It ain't perfect, but maybe it will at least get the Dems to put away their sleeping bags and the Republicans to keep a pot of coffee on.


Cinda said...

Great idea, Eric. I'd love to get our troops home and not lose anymore lives.

jjenni said...

My brother has done 4 tours in Iraq. I would love to have him home to spend time with his wife and family. I totaly support your plan and would stand behind it.

Rich said...

Very well said. It's time that the politicians (those folks who may have spent a few hours in the Green Zone and now consider themselves 'veterans' and able to speak with authority on the ground situation in Iraq) ask the ground-pounders how to get out of this fiasco. That's right, let's ask the folks with a REAL stake in this war.

laurac19 said...

Wow, Eric... that's awesome! This country has lost enough troops. let's bring them home. Your plan is the best one I've heard by far!