Operation too long

Operation Iraqi Freedom sounded like it would be a quick war. Operations are quick and precise, and the U.S. military was stunningly successful in that opening surgical procedure.

But the reality of the operation is the reality of most wars: It is a grueling, nasty mess that keeps our soldiers and Iraqi citizens in the fog of war. The two years of insurgents’ guerrilla tactics have created confusion and fear, not to mention 1,600 deaths among U.S. soldiers and thousands of Iraqi casualties.

Perhaps “Operation Lingering Death” would now be more appropriate.

The headline “Soldiers Killed in Bombing” has become a daily news staple, and we quite naturally have become immune. The TV news video shows some smoke from a burning vehicle, perhaps a body nearby. But, of course, that isn’t the complete, real story of what is happening over there or back in the United States. Here, there are grieving families and a deep sense of loss when a soldier dies (see “Soldier’s story”).

And since the country is deeply divided on support of the ongoing operation, there are political complications within the grieving families over whether these deaths are worth the potential benefit.

The easy way out for us all is to follow the “hate the war, support the soldiers” mentality that blames the administration but gives military personnel a pass. But there is no draft, so each person who joins up and accepts a paycheck has to know that his or her death is possible—a part of the contract. Maybe that’s why recruiting numbers are down.

Acceptance of the war also is waning across the country, and that includes Sacramento. A recent survey points out that a majority of Sacramentans do not support the war. Those who support the war have dropped from 52 percent of those surveyed to just 38 percent. Just remember that when you see all those cars with the yellow-ribbon stickers.