On Easter Sunday the Iraq prognosis could be better.
A political breakthrough in Washington already happened, Hamre (John J. Hamre, a former deputy defense secretary) said, when November’s elections turned into a referendum on the war. “The American people have been waiting to hear how we were going to win in Iraq, and they never heard that, so they turned against it,” he said. “But the political evolution is moving much faster here than events there.”
Yet, with a new approach underway in Baghdad, the Washington debate is largely irrelevant to the concerns of the soldier on the ground, said the Army officer who recently returned from Baghdad. “All the talk about pullouts, votes and budgets really doesn’t mean much to that 18-year-old with his body armor driving across Iraq worried about IEDs,” he said, referring to roadside bombs. “For him, life consists of trying to survive for 365 days to get back home — only to know he’ll have to come back again.”
Survival…It is on the minds of absolutely everyone, of all religious and political persuasions in Iraq. That is what this war to bring democracy to the Middle East has finally been boiled down to. The distilled essence of all wars, survival of those caught up by events they did not create or choose. Events pushed forward by the agendas of men (and it seems it is always men) they do not know for reasons they do not understand. So the 18 year old American Soldier and the Iraqi Civilian have something in common, something more elemental than they even comprehend. They are trying to survive the decisions of men whose survival is not dependent on their own decisions.