The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Return soldiers stateside

By Charity Montieth/managing editor

For years, Americans have listened to President Bush, and now it’s time for him to listen to us.

In 2003, he convinced Americans we needed to put an end to Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror before he blew us off the map with his weapons of mass destruction. And we listened.

But now, as we enter our fifth year of combat, Hussein is dead, and we never found those weapons of mass destruction.

Bush deflected attention elsewhere, urging Americans to support the task of building a democracy in a country that has been in shambles since its creation. Again, we listened.

Iraqis formed a government and wrote a constitution, and Americans believed the end was near. But Bush declared Iraq’s military and police force not strong enough; in order to achieve success, Iraq’s military forces needed be reinforcements. We listened once more.

Our troops trained the Iraqi troops and police force. Meanwhile, reports started seeping out that the Iraqi police force had been infiltrated by death squads that killed American soldiers.

Insurgent and sectarian attacks soared, and the death toll is currently approaching 3,300.

We’re losing patience with Bush. We spoke up at the polls in November. But our voice was not heard.

Instead of pulling our troops out, the administration called for additional troops to be deployed by the thousands.

Our representatives spoke up for us, by passing a spending measure through the house that would begin the withdrawal of troops as early as October. But this too, has fallen upon the deaf ears of a president who has promised a veto when the bill reaches his desk.

And Bush won’t hear our soldiers speaking out against the war—because they can’t. But turnover rates are peaking. According to a recent Time article, only 62 percent of officers are choosing to stay in the military beyond their five-year minimum term. This figure is down from a previously reported 87 percent.

Recruitment and enlistment rates have been on a constant decline, leaving the Army understaffed. To compensate, the Army has resorted to decreasing the training period in certain instances, arguing that some training can be received on the front lines in Iraq. The military is no place for on-the-job training. Inexperience is detrimental to our troops, particularly in a war without clearly defined opponents.

Bush says we can still win in the long haul, but how many more young soldiers will we lose in the long haul? We owe it to our troops to let Bush’s words fall upon deaf ears and bring them home as soon as possible.

In order to successfully achieve democracy, the responsibility ultimately rests with the Iraqis and not U.S. soldiers.

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