Fairness In Iraq
On 9/11 a firefighter wearing badge 672 barely escaped the collapse of the first World Trade Center. After pausing for a minute, he headed into the second tower. An incredulous reporter, noting his recent escape and his obvious need for medical attention, asked him why he would do that.
He responded, “Because it’s my job. Because they need me.”
He went in. He did not return.
I learned of this story only today, in church. I found a reference to it in a 2003 article by Lou Louis.
I think about this in the context of a complaint that Kerry made in his debate with President Bush: “But you can't tell me that (we have a genuine coalition) when the most troops … “ and he details that Great Britain has 8,300 ground troops and only five other non-Iraqi countries have more than 1,000 (South Korea, Italy, Poland, Ukraine total 10,876).
Some people look at this list and say, “this isn’t fair”. Perhaps. But fireman #672 didn’t go into that building because it was fair; he went because it was his job.
In 1999 the US flew 62% of the missions in Kosovo, a number that greatly underestimates how much the US contributed to the mission there. This was in the heart of Europe dealing with a European problem that did not impact the security interests of the United States. That wasn’t fair, either.
So why should we be surprised if today we are 83% of the forces not counting the Iraqis in Iraq? If you count Iraqi soldiers, border guards, facility protection and police we are close to 50%.
Yes, American soldiers outnumber Polish soldiers 40 to 1. But America spends $114 on our military for every $1 that the Poles do. How many did you expect?
Tonga has 45 soldiers there. But that is a higher percentage of their population than the percentage of our population serving in Iraq. Should American politicians be sneering at them?
The US is contributing the lion’s share of forces in Iraq because we have the lion’s share of forces in the world capable of fighting outside our own homeland.
We are there protecting ourselves and the rest of the civilized world because we can and, to put it bluntly, most of the rest of the world can’t.
Moaning about the ingrates in France and Germany doesn’t help. They know we have no choice but to save them while saving ourselves so they have no incentive to be responsible.
It isn’t fair. But it is our job.
May God bless every coalition soldier in Iraq for doing the job.