By: Greg Mitchell
Even though U.S. casualties in Iraq continue to mount — and we have now been there longer than we were involved in World War II — surprisingly few newspaper editorial pages have come out for any kind of withdrawal (even a very slow one) or timeline for a pullout. Polls show that about 2 in 3 Americans favor the start of a withdrawal, and even Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, a strong conservative, came out for it last week, but newspapers have remained largely silent.
But yesterday, on Indepedence Day, a McClatchy newspaper in a region with a heavy military presence came out for withdrawal. The headline: “Bring Home U.S. Troops.” It concludes that this war “isn’t worth a single more American life.”
The paper is The Olympian in Olympia, Wash. Nearby are Ft. Lewis (which has sent tens of thousands of troops to Iraq) and McChord Air Force Base. Daily circulation is about 32,000. The president and publisher is John Winn Miller. Vickie Kilgore is executive editor.
?The Fourth of July is a time when Americans celebrate the values that have made us a great nation,” Miller tells E&P today. “So it seemed like an appropriate time to editorialize on what has become a national disgrace.
“It is a particularly important and local issue for us because we are a military community with Ft. Lewis and McChord Air Force Base in our area. We seen too many of them killed, so many that Ft. Lewis considered stopping individual memorials. Our men and women have done their duty with honor. It is time to honor their sacrifices by ending this ill-conceived mission.
“A total of 134 service members assigned to Fort Lewis have died in Iraq. A total of 208 service members with ties to Washington state have died in the war.”
Today, Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Jerry Doolittle of California became the latest conservative Republicans to break with the White House on Iraq policy.
Here is an excerpt from The Olympian editorial. The entire editorial is at:
Hearts are heavy this Fourth of July as the United States continues to wage an unwinnable war in Iraq.
Public support for President Bush and his war has steadily declined as the number of war dead continues to climb.
On a day when Americans are supposed to celebrate the freedom and liberty won by the blood of our forefathers, most Americans instead find themselves disgusted with the trillion dollar war being waged in their name with their tax dollars.
On a day when Americans are supposed to wave the flag with honor and respect, many Americans are disheartened and embarrassed. They are fed up with an arrogant president and an ineffective Congress and their inability to extract this nation from the ill-conceived war that has alienated U.S. allies and unnecessarily sullied the reputation of this great nation.
This year, our day of national pride feels more like a day of national shame….
We have to begin the withdrawal of troops. It needs to be an orderly exodus in order to protect our troops and to give some hope that the Iraqi army will fill the void over time.
It was a lie to say we invaded Iraq to protect the United States from terrorists just as it is a lie to say leaving will aid the terrorists. Let them wallow alone in the middle of this bitter, multi-front civil and sectarian war. It isn?t worth a single more American life.
How many more Americans will forfeit their lives on the battlefield between now and then? How many more tax dollars will be spent to stall America?s inevitable departure?