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October 16, 2007

Fred Hiatt
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

I usually spend a good hour every morning reading the front section of the paper version of the Washington Post.  Call me old fashioned but there is something satisfying about a physical newspaper.  So, I was a bit surprised to find this piece via Matt Yglesias when I got into work this morning.  Turns out that an op-ed by 12 former Army Captains, who served in Iraq, just doesn't qualify as newsworthy enough for the paper version of the op-ed pages.  More of the article below the fold.

Today marks five years since the authorization of military force in Iraq, setting Operation Iraqi Freedom in motion. Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on, Iraq is in shambles...

Against this backdrop, the U.S. military has been trying in vain to hold the country together. Even with "the surge," we simply do not have enough soldiers and marines to meet the professed goals of clearing areas from insurgent control, holding them securely and building sustainable institutions. Though temporary reinforcing operations in places like Fallujah, An Najaf, Tal Afar, and now Baghdad may brief well on PowerPoint presentations, in practice they just push insurgents to another spot on the map and often strengthen the insurgents' cause by harassing locals to a point of swayed allegiances. Millions of Iraqis correctly recognize these actions for what they are and vote with their feet -- moving within Iraq or leaving the country entirely. Still, our colonels and generals keep holding on to flawed concepts...

This is Operation Iraqi Freedom and the reality we experienced. This is what we tried to communicate up the chain of command. This is either what did not get passed on to our civilian leadership or what our civilian leaders chose to ignore. While our generals pursue a strategy dependent on peace breaking out, the Iraqis prepare for their war -- and our servicemen and women, and their families, continue to suffer.

There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.

America, it has been five years. It's time to make a choice.


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I'd be interested to know what Mr. Hiatt did consider newsworthy enough to put into the print edition of the paper. What op-ed pieces were printed in place of this statement by the 12 former Army Captains?

I wrote the WAPO about this very article and am still waiting a reply. I find it totally outrageous that they would do something like this.

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you know?
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