Some weeks ago I wrote a letter to the editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press that wasn't published in the letters section but in the "Voices" section, so I didn't realize it had made the cut. Recently someone told me they read it and a friend downloaded it for me. (This is in addition to the letter I wrote two days ago.) Here's the earlier letter:
New awareness prompts talk of withdrawal
Voice From Santa Barbara: Erik O'Dowd
With increasing frequency, Americans are asking, "Why are we in Iraq, anyway?"
It is to diffuse this growing doubt about the rightness of our mission there that the administration is now making mutterings of withdrawal.
Twenty-nine months after Bush/Cheney's invasion and occupation of Iraq, after untold thousands of deaths and maimings of Iraqis, Americans and others, and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, we are hearing suggestions from some in the Bush administration that "withdrawal" or "redeployment" of some coalition forces is likely, even imminent.
These utterances are no doubt prompted by the growing rejection by the U.S. public of our continued presence in Iraq, which is in turn based on a new awareness among the majority of our citizenry that the reasons the administration gave for the invasion were false: No weapons of mass destruction, no connection of Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda, no "imminent threat" by Iraq to the U.S. or its allies.
With increasing frequency, Americans are asking, "Why are we in Iraq, anyway?" It is to diffuse this growing doubt about the rightness of our mission there that the administration is now making mutterings of withdrawal.
Don't be fooled. The Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was always about establishing U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, and so when they speak of withdrawal or redeployment of forces, they don't mean our troops will come home, or even leave the area. They'll be ordered to stay indefinitely in the region to show U.S. power -- and use it if necessary -- to enforce U.S. interests (read access to oil and natural gas by our corporations). Indeed, we are presently building four "enduring" bases in Iraq to ensure our permanent military presence there.
These bases will only ensure continued attacks on U.S. targets in the region and throughout the world, by those who've long demanded that we give up our designs on the territory and resources of the Middle East. We'll continue to spend billions of dollars and risk innocent lives, just in slightly different locales.
We mustn't grow complacent. We must keep up the drumbeat, continue to demand to "support our troops" -- not by moving them a few miles farther into the desert, but by bringing them home. Home to the United States. Now.
lives in Santa Barbara.
To which I would add, as I've noted before, don't be fooled about the recently-increasing US bombing of cities in Iraq, which may lessen our casualties, but will increase Iraqis', and is equally, if not more, outrageous.