Thursday, June 02, 2005

Fighting an uphill battle

Iraqi soldier trainees like to take four-hour siestas. Many of them don't, however, like to shower or clean up after dinner. Some also don't understand it's a bad idea to smoke in bed in close quarters.

Those are a few of the interesting tidbits in today's Birmingham News interview with Jeff Hinton, a recently retired Marine master sergeant from Tuscaloosa County. The story paints a picture of a war in which American soldiers, who were placed in a very difficult spot thanks to their civilian leaders' poor planning, nonetheless work valiantly to make good things happen in Iraq.

Hinton expressed hope that the war will turn out for the best and that Iraq one day will be a peaceful democracy. He also offered a sobering dose of reality from the ground. Hundreds of U.S.-trained Iraqi recruits have deserted, and, in Hinton's words, "There's no order in the country."

Hinton is right that the United States could use more help from its allies to stabilize Iraq, but President Bush's unilateral approach to foreign policy has slammed shut that window of opportunity.

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