4916 Trail Ridge Rd.
Blair, Ne, 68008
January 12, 2007
Senator Chuck Hagel
Washington D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Hagel:
Let me first congratulate and thank you for your frequent breaks with the prevailing foreign policy of this administration. These foreign policy stands have been frequently Ã¢â‚¬Å“foreignÃ¢â‚¬Â in their nature in that they break with our countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s history throughout the last 50 or more years. Again thank you for your independence, courage, and thoughtfulness in the face of significant opposition from your own party and many Nebraskans.
I write today especially concerning the Ã¢â‚¬Å“urge to surgeÃ¢â‚¬Â our forces in Iraq and the entire war too. As you have said yourself this is another policy bound to fail for all kinds of reasons. These new troops are like a gambler trying to win by feeding more and more into the roulette table in the vain hope that the odds somehow will change if we keep pumping. The PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plan goes against his own commanders in the field, the Iraq Study GroupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s findings, and common sense from anyone familiar with the military problems of this type of action. (Of course, like so much else, Bush has claimed repeatedly that he would follow his commandersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ recommendations yet when they finally disagree, the reaction is to remove them and get in more compliant generals.)
As you so well must know from Viet Nam, the use of firepower, air strikes, heavy artillery, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“search and destroyÃ¢â‚¬Â type methods generally kill, wound, and destroy the homes of the very people we are supposedly saving from Saddam or Communism or Terrorism. In addition, the checkpoints provide many places for the humiliation and accidental killing of innocent people. And the problem is that no matter how few times such actions kill/injure/humiliate the innocent the results are anger, frustration, and the move towards revenge that spreads throughout the communities like wildfire. The searches of houses for enemy and weapons also feeds the fury as adult heads of households are humiliated in front of their families. These searches also provide numerous opportunities for accidental killings and some not so accidental. It is a no-win situation and probably was from the beginning.
But the worst of the current course is the more than subtle hint that we are moving towards attacks on Iran and possibly Syria. The consequences of such attacks are at least as minimally predictable as was the Iraq attack. They are even more serious and long reaching. Yet Scott Ritter and Zbezniew Brzezinski (on PBS last night), among others, have stated that they think we will attack Iran. The PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s speech, the rhetoric from other administration figures, and the tenor of the news sources that fed the initial war fever are there again almost every day and night. Iran is being painted as a real threat with its supposed nuclear program, a program even our intelligence sources state would be years away from a bomb (assuming Iran is really trying to develop oneÃ¢â‚¬â€> remember the yellowcake?)
Here we have the Iraq Study Group stating that we need to involve at least Syria and Iran in the solution to the Iraq quagmire yet our take on that is to demonize, threaten, and apparently plan to attack them. It makes it real hard to use diplomacy with countries you label as Ã¢â‚¬Å“evilÃ¢â‚¬Â. But diplomacy is not really recognized by the current backers of our policies in Washington. It seems that testosterone permeates all our actions. This is not some stinking football game or prize fight.
I ask you to call for an immediate end to any escalation in Iraq. Furthermore, we need to withdraw ASAP. Talk of the dire consequences of such withdrawal is purely speculative. There are quite a few experts who see good outcomes. However, there can be little dispute of the results if we continue our occupation. I hear pundits talk of Ã¢â‚¬Å“blood in the streetsÃ¢â‚¬Â and so forth IF we withdraw. What the hell do they think is happening now? It is obvious that our continued presence will Ã¢â‚¬Å“continue the marchÃ¢â‚¬Â towards more and more deaths, maimings, and chaos among our troops, the Iraqis themselves and possibly the entire Middle East. A recent poll of Iraqi citizens found that 60% stated they think it would be all right to shoot American soldiers if they had the chance. How do we WIN? What is WINNING? Are we stark raving crazy:?
Lastly, I ask you to block any attempt at covert or overt action against Iran or Syria. Somewhere, somehow we are going to need to talk, negotiate, and ask for the people of that area to help us out of this impossible cesspool we have created. It is time for Congress to start to recognize the facts and force the issues even if it means cutting off funds for all such activity.
Stephen P. Horn