The Firelands area was hit with another grim reminder of the consequences of the Iraq war recently when Lance Cpl. Jeremy Shock of Green Springs was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee in Fallujah. He wasn't the first from around here to be killed in combat. Hopefully, he'll be the last.
His death, however, comes at a critical time in Iraq and Washington. The war was clearly on the voters' minds a month ago when Republicans were voted out of Congress, and Democrats were voted in.
Before the elections, President Bush told the country Democrats would "cut and run" and at the same time tried to distance himself from the label of "staying the course." We believe it's time to get rid of these slogans altogether. They're buzz words designed to replace thought and meant to convince others quickly.
Presidential hopeful John McCain, R-Ariz., wants to send more troops in. Fine. Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants plans to pull out. Also fine. We don't know what the answer in Iraq should be. We hope our nation's leaders are working toward it.
What we do believe is that the first goal should be, through healthy bipartisan discussion, a determination of a clear policy. Then enunciate that to the American people -- again, without the buzz words designed to score political points -- and enact that policy.
Even those of us on this board who are anti-war believe an immediate withdrawal of troops would be disastrous. As a consensus, we believe it's less a matter of when than how.
Time and again, Bush has said we're fighting terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here. And if we leave, they'll follow us. We're split on that issue. We will say the government should at all costs avoid creating new future enemies, such as what happened 30-40 years ago with the Shah in Iran. We're also quick to remember the now coincidental photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein.
We hope Bush and presidential hopefuls can work with Congress to find a resolution that ensures U.S. safety in the future and limits the death of American troops and Iraqi citizens.