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"Unwillingness to do the hard work"

02/07/2008

By Gary Crosby

I recently received mail from Senator Sanders (Bernie Buzz, January 31) that alerted me to a congratulatory editorial in the Brattleboro Reformer entitled "Vt. delegation fights an uphill battle in D.C." by Joyce Marcel -- www.sanders.senate.gov/news/record.cfm?id=291556 .

In this essay, Ms. Marcel equates some 40 votes for troop withdrawals by the Vermont delegation with "...how hard these guys have worked to end the war."
I thought that the essay should not go unchallenged.

Here in the Mad River Valley we have a field full of flags, one for each of our brave children who has fallen in the cradle of civilization. As I drive past those flags I reflect on my dismay at our commencement of this conflict, our inability to manage it, and my fear for the future of the region and our nation.

The Vermont delegation must be congratulated for resisting the invasion of Iraq, but that's about it.

Warfare is the end point in the continuum of diplomatic activity, not a discrete, tragic happenstance that exists in and of itself. And as part of that continuum, its conclusion must be supported by less deadly diplomatic initiatives.

We are taught this by observation of the slaughter that ensued following our abandonment of South Vietnam and in the mutilation of millions in World War II, where the Third Reich filled the political and military vacuum resulting from the Treaty of Versailles.

That leads me to our congressional delegation and its "hard work" in trying to end the war.

Continued calls to bring our troops home are mere window dressing for the next election cycle, and are as effective as a sandcastle guarding against the tide. And Mssrs. Leahy, Sanders and Welch know it. Wiser men and women understand the folly of a unilateral, time-based abandonment of Iraq. They realize that a 21st century version of the Third Reich will fill the vacuum that will result from a hasty, apolitical withdrawal.

The fact is, no matter how much we hate it, we, America, are in this war. We started this war. And we must end this war. As the spoils of war go to the victor, so does the responsibility to restore the vanquished to political and economic viability.

And that is hard work.

I will congratulate our delegation when they lead a realistic effort to end this conflict in a manner that promotes stability in the region. Until then, my dismay at their willingness to tilt at windmills and unwillingness to do the hard work needed to end this national nightmare will grow.

As will all of our dismay.

Gary Crosby lives in Fayston.
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