My cousin is twenty years old and is a member of the Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton, California. He and is fellow Marines are currently in Iraq. More specifically, they are in harms way in the nation of Iraq. In the last two weeks, 19 United States Marines have been killed in and around Baghdad. The Marines are following the orders of the Commander in Chief. No one asked Derek if he believed in the war or in this country’s efforts at nation-building.
Some people believe that America needs to have a military presence in Iraq while the nation rebuilds itself after decades of repression. Based on the hundreds of American service people killed since the official end of hostilities, it seems clear that the National Command Authority misread and misunderstood the depth of hatred that the Muslim world has for America. In his letters home, Derek has told us that Americans military personnel are seen by even the most sympathetic Iraqis as an unwelcome occupying force. There is little love lost for America or Americans, and Derek writes that the Iraqis seem to vie American intervention to remove the dictator Saddam Hussein as the greater rather than the lesser of two evils. Howard Dean disagrees. Peter Beinart (2003) writes that Dean and other leading Democrats are calling the Iraq occupation a disaster that is breaking the bank, poisoning America’s reputation around the world, and sending young men and women home in body bags (Beinart, 2003, 6).
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