“The War in Iraq ”

It seems like everyone has an opinion about the war in Iraq so I thought I might offer mine. I get asked about it fairly often so here it is from “A Trooper's Perspective”.

First of all, I was never in the military. I wanted to get in when I was a teen but due to a ruptured eardrum I could not. I had surgery to repair that condition at age 22 and by then I was already into my law enforcement career. My father was a WWII veteran and I have many friends who are both vets and active military however so I definitely have an opinion.

I do not mind admitting I voted for President Bush despite being a democrat for 22 years since the age of 18. I think my entire family are democrats as well. Despite that, I vote for the person and how I feel about that person. With that in mind I voted as I did with no regrets.

I do not agree with everything that has been done since the war began nor with everything that was done leading up to the events that started it. However, I do not believe in Monday morning quarterbacking although I have been guilty of it myself sometimes. Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say.....

One thing I resent is the open and malicious bashing of our president. When American citizens do that on National News it becomes World News. Our enemies are emboldened by such talk and I firmly believe that costs American military lives abroad and may cost American lives on our soil as well. They hate us with a passion already. Seeing and hearing our in-fighting on our own newscasts and in print does nothing but encourage violence against us. (The U.S. as a nation)

The Vietnam War was over about the time I was six or seven years old so I was not able to understand it well. The first Gulf War started in late 1990 if I remember correctly and I remember it clearly. It ended relatively swiftly because it was easy to identify the enemy because it was the then Iraqi Government and a ruthless dictator who invaded a neighboring country. The objective then was to expel Iraq from Kuwait and once that was done the mission seemed essentially over. I remember that following the first gulf war Iraqi defied numerous resolutions and UN weapons inspections for several years. It always seemed clear to me they were hiding something and it had to be weapons or weapons research. For that reason alone I have always thought someone should attack Iraq and remove the regime from power since they clearly wanted to promote violence and to keep the region volatile. It was a shame we, the British and a few small nations had to go it alone in the second gulf war. I am grateful President Bush had the backbone to do what the rest of the world should have done collectively.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 shook this nation like no other event in my lifetime. It made the Oklahoma City Bombing seem like a routine traffic accident. Few people seem to even remember it any more. I think that is a shame. 9-11 threw this state and this nation into an economic downturn like no other. It cost this state, nation and the world countless billions in security upgrades and all of us the inconvenience and embarrassment of being treated like potential terrorists at airports and even our own state capitol. Not to mention all the grief, stress and lives the event of 9-11 caused in itself.

One thing I know for certain is that there has not been one significant attack on American soil by foreign terrorists since 9-11. Several have been thwarted both in the U.S. and in some of our Allies' countries that quite possibly could have been executed had it not been for increases in security.

Another thing I am sure about is they can't shoot at you as well if they have to keep their heads down. I wish this war would end yesterday. I wish the billions of dollars the war has cost us could have been used for domestic programs. I wish a lot of things but I will leave it to the democratically elected president and his staff to make the decisions. If I disagree I will do so privately. No enemy of this country will ever hear me screaming from a rooftop that our president is no good. I think pulling out now before the job is done would be a huge mistake and that all the money spent and lives lost up to now would be wasted. I also believe that in a few years this war will seem like a very good idea.

I realize this article strays from my usual topics in an extreme manner. I know that not everyone will agree with me but that is OK. One thing I have that has happened to me in recent times is my skin has gotten much thicker. That was actually a blessing. Someone might ask why I am writing about a war I am not physically a part of. Before you go far with that I'll mention that during the year and a half I have been patrolling Cimarron County I have stopped several cars right here with races of people in them known to be hostile to our nation. Fortunately, as far as I know, none I have contacted were hostile to me or this country. Troopers are asked to watch for signs of terrorism the same as Border Patrol, FBI and other law enforcement agencies. We now have to record phone numbers and employers on citations as a result of 9-11 so that additional information can be gathered if need be. An Oklahoma trooper issued a speeding citation to one of the 9-11 hijackers on I-40 not too long before 9-11. The future hijacker was not a known threat then. I think if we all knew everything and everybody that circled the courthouse in Boise City over a year's time our eyes would be wide open for a while. Many would not be so quick to be critical of our president and the government as a whole. Fortunately for us, most of it drives on through without stopping here.......

In closing I will say an old and likely dirty politician told me just a few years ago that one thing all politicians know is this: “People have short memories”. I think that about says it all..........

Truly, “A Troopers' Perspective”

Trooper Duane Johnson #280

Oklahoma Highway Patrol