It's now time for timetable

housearmylife@aol.comSeptember 30, 2008 

If you've read my columns or know me personally, you have probably figured out that I believe going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do.  Saddam Hussein was a bad guy and needed to go away. He supported a lot of bad people during the years, took plenty of shots at American pilots, and earned some payback for causing Desert Storm and later trying to kill a president.

So you won't see me shedding a tear over our playing a role in getting him executed. He and his sons needed killing years ago. Yes, I am very hardcore about such things. Ask my family. When you see their eyes rolling around you'll know you hit a nerve.  Regardless of whether weapons of mass destruction WMDs were in Iraq or al-Qaeda was his buddy, Saddam needed to go to the infernal regions. Nothing makes me waver from the firm belief that taking out Saddam was a good move.

Nonetheless, I do not take lightly the sacrifices of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines as well as their families' sacrifices. Our nation has paid a terrible price to rid the world of a monster. We citizens must not forget that.

It is heartening to see people who are against the war effort today acknowledge that the military folks did not make the decision to attack. Civilians control our military.

Some people were not willing to admit that when I was growing up. I know there are still people who don't much care for the military, but most of them now at least have the courtesy to keep their mouths closed regarding their negative opinion. I appreciate that.

I also think that President Bush was correct in not agreeing to a timetable to leave Iraq even though a number of political figures argued for that.

Timetables tell an enemy how long they have to fight. That is not smart tactics. Uncertainty in the mind of an opponent is best until the certainty is his defeat. Timetables were a bad idea.

However, with all of this in my mind (some of you might even say I'm conservative), the time has come to discuss a timetable.

The surge worked. We should have had more boots on the ground at the start. Regardless of that mistake, the surge provided enough security to turn the corner on gaining control of the environment in Iraq, especially Baghdad.

Clearly, it would be foolish to say peace has broken out, but the Iraqis are beginning to carry the load. The Iraqi leadership wants to set a timeline.

I think it's time to let them take over. Iraq is their country. If they fail, they're probably dead. I imagine they know that.

We should let the Iraqis take on the security of their country as they say they are ready. We may need some soldiers nearby in case some serious action has to occur, but we should back off.

Unfortunately, we still have to worry about Afghanistan. With Gen.eral David Petreaus now becoming the commander of Central Command, let's pray that he will be as wise with that challenging situation as he was in Iraq.

John M. House is a retired Army colonel who lives in Midland, Ga. His e-mail is housearmylife@aol.com

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