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Jewish World Review
Sept. 12, 2007
/ 29 Elul, 5767
We've taught the Iraqis to walk now it's time for us to
An HBO documentary entitled, "Alive Day Memories, Home From
Iraq," was shown this weekend and undoubtedly will be shown again
repeatedly. Don't miss it. It has James Gandolfini interviewing ten
seriously injured soldiers and marines, both men and women, injured in
Iraq. Their grave injuries include amputations of limbs, brain injuries
and loss of sight in both eyes. The demeanor, courage and integrity of
each of those interviewed is outstanding. It is not their intention to
have the audience weep, but weep you will as I did. Their purpose is to
bring home to you what war actually is without conveying a political
point of view. If you miss this film, you will miss an insight into
Iraq worth more than the analyses made every Sunday morning across the
nation by the talking heads who do their best and should be appreciated
and heard. But theirs is as they say, talk and talk is cheap. The
comments of the military personnel who have lived through battle, been
gravely wounded and are willing to talk about it is special, very
special. The program is not to be missed.
The film crawls mention that 90 percent of all battlefield
casualties are saved from death by the immediate medical care available.
Also that more amputations are coming out of this war then took place in
the American Civil War. Then there were no antibiotics available to
treat infection and resultant gangrene. Much is made of the new
personal celebration day of every wounded soldier called "Alive Day"
the day they were wounded and found themselves to be still alive,
counting, as one of the soldiers reported, their fingers, toes, arms and
legs, immediately after the explosion to see what was missing, saying,
"I can live with that." These heroes will make you proud. They are not
seeking your pity. They simply want you to know what has and continues
The morning after seeing the documentary, I saw a full-page ad
in The New York Times prepared and paid for by MoveOn.org, a liberal
activist group against the Iraq war for immediate withdrawal of all U.S.
troops. I think it is fair to state that MoveOn.org is a radical left
organization financed in part by George Soros. The supporters of that
organization irrespective of how they feel about our involvement in the
Iraq war should condemn those in charge of the organization and withhold
future contributions to it because of that ad.
Its banner headline under a picture of General Petraeus reads,
"General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" In advance of his report to
take place Monday afternoon the ad appeared on Monday morning it
in effect calls him a liar, ending with the line, "Today before Congress
and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become
General Betray Us."
How vile for any of us having read or heard of the sacrifices of
those in the military serving in Iraq to have a courageous General,
highly respected and considered by nearly everyone in the Congress, many
of whom disagree with him and his report, to be a man of integrity
intelligence and courage. Every decent person and responsible
presidential candidate, Democrat and Republican, should denounce
MoveOn.org, and if they are associated with the organization, not only
denounce it, but demand it retract the ad with a superseding one
apologizing for the slur. They should withdraw future support from the
It is simply unacceptable to demean in this way a General
of the U.S. Army who is serving his country in an honorable way. As a
result of the decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, assuring greater
public debate without fear of lawsuits charging libel and slander,
public personalities are effectively barred from bringing lawsuits
against those who unfairly demean their reputations. It becomes the
responsibility of a fair-minded American public to rise up and denounce
the libelers and slanderers who abuse this right to nearly unlimited
I've read the testimony of both General Petraeus and Ambassador
Crocker, and I've watched them on television. I have no doubt that both
provided testimony they believe accurately described the military and
political conditions existing in Iraq. I believe we and our regional
Arab and NATO allies should be fighting in Iraq the Islamic terrorists
who are seeking to make Iraq a permanent base from which they will
attack Western countries and moderate Arab countries not joining them in
their war against Western civilization. But we cannot do it alone. We
cannot continue to expend the blood and lives of our young men and women
on the battlefields of Iraq when no one else is willing to join with us.
The cost in lives, blood and treasure is just too much for us to bear
alone. Next year, the same civil war between Sunni and Shia will
continue, as it has for 1,375 years, and I have no doubt that the Bush
Administration will again ask the Congress for a little more time.
The Iraqi Army has now had more than three years of training by
the American military. It had been an army that fought an eight-year
war with Iran (1980-1988) and was once the most feared and largest
standing army in the region 500,000 in 1985. The question I
continually ask is, why is it not currently possible for it to fight and
defeat Iraqi insurgents - their own fellow citizens and al-Qaeda, all
with even less training. If they can't do it, we can't and shouldn't do
it for them.
We should get out now. It might wake up our Western world
allies on the need for them to do their part and not simply count on us
doing their share as well as ours.
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