Ken Bode, a former senior political analyst for CNN and currently the Pulliam professor of journalism at DePauw University, wrote a piece in the Indianapolis Star that's worth passing on. (And, yes, for the umpteenth time today, I'm not sure who turned me on to this, so the hat tip goes unmentioned.)
Actually, what Mr. Bode has published isn't his essay; it's a letter from "an Indiana soldier awaiting promotion to captain while preparing for a return deployment to Iraq."
In part, this soldier writes:
Can someone, anyone, tell me what success in Iraq looks like? It's rather hard when the commander in chief changes the objective every year or so. Let's see, from 'WMD' to 'a democratic Iraq' to 'a stable Iraq' to 'stop terrorists from controlling Iraq.' I'm hoping next year will be 'stop Iran from controlling Iraq.'Now there's a young soldier who understands strategic thought. May he live through his deployment and get a chance for some academic respite at one of the war colleges.
I feel like Bill Murray in the movie 'Groundhog Day.' This time around I already know what is going to happen for the next 18 months.
The bottom line: My battalion will deploy again, most of us will make it home, some will not. Soldiers' extraordinary sacrifices will be wasted because the leadership of our country is incapable of providing an achievable goal or the resources to pursue it. No positive change in Iraq will occur.
In the mean time, I'm wondering, too: what is our goal? what does the end-state look like?