Maj. General Harry Upman (retired)
Why the U.S. Must Get Out of Iraq, Pronto
Let me say in no uncertain terms, we must get out of Iraq.
There is nothing to gain and everything to lose in Iraq. We have
lost over four thousand of our military, those who were killed in
Iraq and those who died in intransit from Iraq to our hospitals in
Germany and in Europe. We have had over 10,000 of our troops
wounded. According to a report I heard last night on Frontline on
PBS, 1 in 6 of our people coming home from Iraq need mental help.
What have we gained in Iraq? Absolutely nothing.
What have we lost? Our leadership in the world militarily, morally
Frankly, Generals Franks and Abizaid have failed. Donald Rumsfeld
has failed, as have his top aides. As a former military leader, I am
appalled at the Pentagon leadership and the leadership in our
military. These men should be drummed out of the military with their
heads in shame for the needless loss of the lives of our young men
But that's not the worst of it. What business did they have calling
up our Reserves and National Guard to attack another country. These
troops are for emergencies and to protect our nation. I know the
law, that these troops can be called up.
On the other hand, they are to be used for short periods of time,
not for long periods of time as they have been abused in Iraq. I
note that the recruiters are having a hard time in the Reserves and
the National Guard. I can't blame the people for walking away. I
would if I'd been lied to this much.
As a man of three wars, from Korea to Viet Nam to Gulf War I, I am
embarrassed by such men as General Mattis. If he was under my
command, I'd have him disciplined for ignorance and leading his men
astray. No, it is not "fun" to kill people.
Killing is a serious business, not something you brag about to
businessmen or to the media about. We never told our men to kill for
the fun of it. You killed to save yourself and to achieve an
objective, never for the "fun of it."
I fear that we have hit the bottom in our military men and women.
Lower level officers are now afraid to report atrocities for fear
that they will lose their rank, men are afraid to admit they are
shot, women are afraid to report rape, when they report rape they
are told it was their fault!
What has this man's army come to? Have we totally lost our honor? To
be a military man in this army means to be immoral, a liar, to
accuse the innocent and to not grieve for killing women and children.
This is not the military or the country I served. The men running
our government at this time are either mad or totally immoral and
have not place in this world as leaders. That is why they must turn
out such people as Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Mattis and Abizaid and
bring in some new leadership who better represents what we are as a
In the process, they may as well take such fools as Bill O'Reilly
and let him put his body where his mouth is in terms of Iraq. Let
him go to Iraq and see how it feels, let him smell death and let him
dodge bullets the way our troops do in Iraq. I'd like to see how
much of a smart-ass he would be then. The same is true of that
falsely serious Richard Perle; I'd have him take his fat behind out
in the boot camp and work him until he learned to sweat. I'd do the
same with Paul Wolfowitz. Paul has never had the respect of
intelligent men, only men who thought Paul was intelligent. How they
were deceived. I've known Paul since he was a bootlicker in his
youth in Washington, DC.
Until we regain our moral stature and moral bearings, we shall
continue to be hated in this world for good reason. We no longer
defend freedom and liberty, we are the new British colonialists, we
are the new plunderers, we are the new imperialists. This makes me
ashamed of our country.
What do I hope for? I hope some of our military men, men of honor,
will stand up and call these immoral and ignorant men what they are.
If our military is to defend its honor, it must stand up now. If
not, then our military men are part of the problem, not part of the
solution. I am not advocating revolution, but I am advocating the
right to resist immoral duty and men who think that "killing is
fun," and men who think that bombing a city into the earth, as was
done in Fallougha, will make us more friends and fewer enemies.
We must get out of Iraq, pronto, before we lose more troops, make
more enemies and show our military vulnerability to the watching
world. We are not the formidable force the world thought we were,
our troops are exhausted and yet have not won a victory, and our
will to victory is fast disappearing. We should get out before we
needlessly kill more Iraqis as well. Killing over a hundred
thousand, 100,000, according to the Lancet in England is enough to
make me more ashamed than when we learned of Mi Lai in Viet Nam. We
killed more in Fallougha than in Mi Lai, and yet no one has
apologized to the dead or the men and women who survived the
devastation, the Dresden like bombing of Fallougha. Where has our
moral leadership that we taught at West Point gone to? What are they
doing in OCS these days? I dread finding out if the officers I've
seen in Iraq are a fair sample.
How low we have sunk.
General Upman is a pseudonym for a retired general who would rather
not reveal his name because of his former leadership positions in
the U.S. Staff Leadership and because he does not want to argue with
old friends at the officers clubs when he visits
March 2, 2005