Marshall Thompson, we need to stay in Iraq
By Andrea Edmunds
October 19, 2006 | Logan native and
Utah State University graduate Marshall Thompson wants
U.S. out of the war.
And he puts up a pretty good argument.
Thompson is a reservist in the U.S. Army and he's been
in Iraq as a journalist for the Army, so it seems like
he would have a pretty good idea of what's going on
His argument is that the Iraqi insurgents
are attacking American soldiers, so if the U.S. started
pulling troops out -- one battalion every month -- then
the violence would slow down. Basically, fewer Americans
in Iraq equals fewer targets in Iraq.
Another aspect of his argument is
that the radicals are only attacking the U.S. on the
supply routes, so, again, with fewer Americans needing
supplies it logically follows that there would not be
as many opportunities for the insurgents to kill our
neighbors, friends and family members.
Thompson, with a voice and manner
that makes even those that disagree with him listen
to his arguments, spoke to a journalism class at U.S.U
about a month ago and told a story about the most recent
elections in Iraq. The U.S. troops in the area Thompson
was in at the time were gearing down for war. He said
they were pretty sure that all heck would break loose
during the elections so they were on high alert. But
the whole week, nothing happened.
About a month later Thompson had
a chance to talk to an Iraqi who had some connections
with the radical terrorists. When Thompson asked him
why nothing happened that week, the Iraqi said it was
because the rebels had decided to give voting a try.
It was at that point that Thompson
decided to come home and do everything he could to get
the American troops out of Iraq.
What makes him different from the
average military guy that comes home and says that the
troops know why they are over there? Thompson said it
was because the average army guy stays around his base
and doesn't travel around the whole country much. Thompson
was different because he was journalist. He was able
to travel around the whole country and talk to many
different people. He said he's not the only one who
feels the Americans should be coming home.
Thompson has good ideas, and this
would be great if it was just the Americans that we
had to worry about. But it isn't.
I hate seeing Americans die as much
as anyone. War is ugly and I wish that it could end,
but I hate to see the Iraqi people being murdered too.
Only a few weeks ago there was a
story on the news about terrorists that built apartment
complexes for the Iraqis. Once the families moved in,
the terrorists detonated the bombs that had been built
into the walls -- killing every family in the complex.
Is it fair that we can live over
here in relative comfort while mass killing is taking
place in another country? We have the resources and
power to bring some semblance of help to that part of
the world. If we pulled out now, or if we even followed
Thompson's plan for pulling out slowly, who's to say
that the terrorists wouldn't sit back and wait for U.S.
to leave then kill as many Kurds or Shiites as possible?
John Zechlin, a student at USU who
spent a year in Iraq with the Army, said if the U.S.
troops pulled out, insurgents would quickly take over
the bases occupied by the Iraqi national guard. Or,
without the U.S. screening process, the insurgents would
be able to infiltrate the Iraqi national guard and would
destroy it from within. Within a few weeks, he said,
the entire Iraqi police force would probably be killed.
Thompson's plan could be a good one,
and it should be evaluated by the president and maybe
some form of it can be put into effect in Iraq, but
I don't think now is the time to start backing out.
Terrorists from around the globe are setting up shop
in Iraq. Osama bin Laden has called Iraq his new front
for terrorism. If we left now, it would create a power
vacuum that would lead to something much worse than
At this point, staying in Iraq doesn't
have anything to do with whether or not Bush lied to
get us into the war. It doesn't have to do with which
politician is trying to push their political agenda.
Zechlin said the U.S. is really doing
some good over there, helping the Iraqi people. When
Zechlin arrived in Iraq, he went to Ramadi. He said
the violence there was ridiculous, there was almost
no police force and the people living there hated them.
But, after a year there, Zechlin said they left a sizable
Iraqi police force, there were fewer attacks and the
people of Ramadi were more willing to help the troops.
This shows that the U.S. is really doing something good
there. Zechlin said he was there helping people and
that everything he did was doing a lot of good. When
he hears about someone like Marshall Thompson saying
the U.S. shouldn't be over there, Zechlin said it hurts
him to hear those words.
We need to wait. We need to make
sure that Iraq can get everything under control by themselves
before we start pulling out.
One thing that is really interesting
to me is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been looked
upon as one of the greatest presidents in the history
of the United States. However, when he was running for
his final term as president, his political opponents
also accused him of lying to get the United States into
World War II. It makes me wonder what the sentiment
will be about President Bush sixty years down the road.
It really all depends on whether
or not we stay in Iraq. And at this point, despite what
Thompson says, it'll be worse in the long run for both
Americans and Iraqis if we pull out now.