Operation New Dawn
Yesterday was the birthday of Ernie Pyle, an American war correspondent who won much praise and honor for his coverage of World War II. Perhaps most importantly he won the affection of the everyday reader at home and the average grunts in the field that he praised as “the guys that wars can’t be won without.”
His name and his birthday come to mind for a number of reasons.
It was just on Monday that President Barack Obama announced that by the end of this month, the United States will “end” its combat mission in Iraq.
Although, as The Kansas City Star – the springboard of another famous chronicler of war, Ernest Hemingway – calls to our attention that “even after U.S. combat operations end August 31, some 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for counterterrorism, training and support missions. All U.S. troops are to leave Iraq by the end of 2011 under the current agreement with the Iraqi government.”
President Obama used the occasion to say on Monday, at a convention of the Disabled American Veterans, “By the end of this month, we'll have brought more than 90,000 of our troops' home from Iraq since I took office…
“As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end. Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made it clear that by August 31, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing, as promised and on schedule.”
Insiders are reminded at a time like this that the agreement to “end” the war in Iraq was negotiated with the Iraqi government by President George W. Bush.
And the “new strategy for Iraq” that President Obama announced after he took office was developed by the administration of President Bush, and it has been suggested by whispers in the hallways of Washington, that the Bush administration was “asked” to not unveil it so that President Obama could announce it.
Not to be overlooked is the not-so-small matter that the “surge” initiative that historians may credit with facilitating the eventual departure of American troops from that God-forsaken country was vigorously opposed by then-Senator – and presidential candidate – Barack Obama.
Please understand that the blood and guts of American military men and women in the “surge” initiative was not supported by the same President Obama who now is using their sacrifice as an opportunity for cheap political gain.
Meanwhile, a headline for an article by Margaret Talev for McClatchy Newspapers – that has been seized upon by much of the media – reads: “Obama takes credit for ending U.S. combat mission in Iraq.”
President Obama taking credit for winning the war in Iraq and using the service, pain and suffering of men and women in uniform for opportunistic political convenience sticks in many throats like a jagged, broken chicken bone that may only be dislodged by subsequent vomit.
Neither President Obama nor President Bush “won” the war in Iraq. It is a fitting irony that this news cycle began at a convention for disabled veterans. It is the grunts in the field, who fought the war and made huge sacrifices for our country, who “won” the war.
In an essay published by the Indiana University School of Journalism on April 15, 2005, Owen V. Johnson wrote: “Pyle's stories remain eminently readable today. His powers of observation and description are still difficult to match….
“On April 18, 1945, a Japanese machine gun fired on the jeep in which Pyle was riding (on the small adjacent island of Ie Shim, near Okinawa). Pyle … died instantly.
“In his pocket was the draft of a column Pyle was preparing to mark the end of the European war. It was so depressing that it wasn't published at the time…
“In death, Pyle has remained on a pedestal. For those who lived during the war, his writing recaptures the quiet heroism of American troops… Pyle’s letters, in fact, are remarkable by the almost complete absence of politics.”
The historian in me is intrigued as to how the future will render the war in Iraq. If Mr. Pyle’s unpublished column on the end of the war in Europe was depressing and yet history has found glory and honor in the valiant efforts of the American soldier in prevailing in World War II, how is the war in Iraq to be reconciled? The war in Iraq has been so depressing for years on so many levels.
One thing is certain, the men and women in uniform, who served in Iraq, belong on a pedestal and do not deserve to be the fodder of cheap political strategy for a failed presidency.
President Obama would have us celebrate not the blood and guts sacrifice of the American grunt in the field, but the fulfillment of his political campaign “promise.”
If we are to understand President Obama correctly, we are to celebrate his empty cynically calculating political strategy at a time when his approval rating is in the toilet and the fall 2010 mid-term election loom ominously as a referendum of the president’s first two years in office – in spite of the spineless sycophant support of the liberal media.
As we look forward to celebrations conducted by President Obama, which will be conveniently scheduled before the fall elections, we are told that “Operation Enduring Freedom,” will be renamed “Operation New Dawn.”
We can only hope that the elections this November will be a “Yes, we can” opportunity to provide our nation the change of a “New Dawn,” so that we may begin to heal from the clinical depression that has resulted from our great nation’s experiment in “hope and change.”