Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Longer in Iraq, more lost lives

Emanuel Pickett, 34, worked as a police office in Wallace, in Duplin County, N.C., for 13 years. He died Sunday in Baghdad. The Wilmington Star News reported he was married and had three children. His fellow officers described him as a tireless worker and someone who loved Atlantic Coast Conference basketball.

The loss of Picket’s life shows why talk about slowing the pullout of troops in Iraq hits North Carolina squarely in the chest. Thousands of other men and women in this state are similarly in harm’s way, either with the guard or troops deployed from Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune, two of the largest military bases in the nation.

Here's how Gen. David Petraeus put it in his testimony on Capitol Hill.

“We and our Iraqi partners recognize that improving security for the Iraqi
people is the first step in rekindling hope. The upward spiral we all want
begins with Iraqi and coalition forces working together and locating in the
neighborhoods those forces must secure.” But the operation “will take months,
not days or weeks, to fully implement,” and “will have to be sustained to
achieve its desired effect.”
Petraeus’ testimony “indicated no letup in deployments to Iraq for a weary Fort Bragg community,” wrote Henry Cunningham, military editor of the Fayetteville Observer.

Keeping more soldiers in Iraq longer inevitably will mean more North Carolinians such as Pickett will die - a loss that families and communities will never recoup.
It’s been more than five years. More than 4,000 American lives have been lost. Is it imperative to keep troop levels up? Is it fair to troops and families to slow the pullout? Or would a slowdown be an unneccesary risk of more valuable lives?


Anonymous said...

I attended high school with Emanuel. He was a fine young man who gave of himself unselfishly to his community and his country. Wallace is heart broken as are those of us who knew him.