To the editor:
As one of the few Iraq veterans that several people I encounter have met, I am frequently asked about my opinion of the war.
Whatever you think of why we went into Iraq to begin with, the question now is what to do about it. We have accomplished most of the ever-changing objectives the Bush administration has asked the military to do. With the exception of the violence by Iraqi insurgents against Iraqi people, these have been accomplished, giving up on the weapons of mass destruction.
In 1941, before Pearl Harbor, the entire U.S. military troops numbered about the same as the current level of troops deployed in Iraq. Within a year we had trained a military of more than a million troops to defend our country. During the Korean War, my father was drafted by the Army. Eighteen weeks from the day he was conscripted to the Army, he was trained and in Korea. That schedule was followed in Vietnam. Currently, the U.S. Army takes a new recruit from basic training through advanced infantry training in 16 weeks; sometimes directly to Iraq.
We must insist that the Iraqi government build up their own military, either by recruitment or conscription, to defend themselves. America did this in 1861, when we had similar issues as Iraq. Our role should be training their military and, after about 18 weeks, as advisers. Our infrastructure currently in Iraq is sufficient to handle that. Iraq can only be a free country when we give them the ability to defend themselves.