[Marxism] What's left?
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 12 08:12:55 MDT 2004
Young Marines frustrated by lack of progress
By Anne Barnard, Boston Globe Staff | August 12, 2004
RAMADI, Iraq -- Four months into their tour of duty at one of the most
dangerous American bases in Iraq, young Marines say the slow pace of
progress is shaking their faith in their mission.
Playing cards one recent evening while on call to respond to any
outburst of violence, Lance Corporal David Goward and the rest of his
squad expressed two growing concerns: that the US military will linger
here indefinitely and that the troops' very presence is provoking the
fighting it is meant to stop. They are ready for any battle, they said,
but a pervasive sense that Iraqis do not want their help has destroyed
their enthusiasm for the larger goals of launching democracy and
rebuilding the country.
"I don't think any of us even care what happens to this country," Goward
said, as half a dozen Marines, all stationed in Ramadi, the capital of
restive Anbar Province, nodded in agreement. "I'm here to make sure
these guys get home safely. And they're here to make sure I do."
Senior Marine and Army commanders in this Sunni Muslim region west of
Baghdad, an area they say must be tamed for the new US-backed Iraqi
government to succeed, repeatedly cautioned a reporter that junior-level
troops don't see the big picture. Grunts don't hear Anbar's governor
asking the United States not to leave, the senior officers said. They
don't see Iraqi officials shouldering new responsibilities; they don't
see Iraqi police doing a better job on the outskirts of Ramadi than they
do in the more anti-American downtown.
But Goward and his squad -- and others who echoed them from Ramadi to
Fallujah -- are sending a signal from the enlisted men who bear the
brunt of the military's burden. Many are on their second tour of duty in
Iraq and may face a third if US forces are needed, as expected, to
guarantee security through the election of a permanent Iraqi government
late next year.
They can recite by heart their stated mission, to protect the fledgling
local government until Iraqi security forces are strong enough to take
over. But as continued attacks and new US tactics have cut down on their
interactions with Iraqis -- other than in combat -- many say they
witness little gratitude and little progress.
From Goward's point of view, the United States has fulfilled its goals
in Iraq: toppling Saddam Hussein, capturing him, and handing off formal
sovereignty to Iraqis. "What's left?" he said.
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