Monday, May 07, 2007

Crosses of Lafayette: Tribute to Johnson Clark

Photo by Brant Ward, 11/27/2006

Yesterday at the Crosses of Lafayette, there was a memorial service for Johnson Clark who together with his wife Louise and Jeff Heaton, conceived and promoted the Crosses of Lafayette project to protest the war in Iraq and pay tribute to our fallen heroes. The first crosses were planted the weekend of Veterans Day, November 11, 2006 and my first post was on November 14, 2006.

What began as a small local effort to bring our troops home has generated worldwide attention and support. The latest convert is the Los Angeles Times. We can all be proud of Johnson Clark.

Yesterday's LA Times featured this editorial:
Bring them home
Iraqis need political reconciliation, not occupation; and U.S. troops shouldn't referee a civil war.
May 6, 2007

WHATEVER THE future holds, the United States has not "lost" and cannot "lose" Iraq. It was never ours in the first place. And however history will judge the war, some key U.S. goals have been accomplished: Saddam Hussein has been ousted, tried and executed; Iraqis have held three elections, adopted a constitution and established a rudimentary democracy.

But what now? After four years of war, more than $350 billion spent and 3,363 U.S. soldiers killed and 24,310 wounded, it seems increasingly obvious that an Iraqi political settlement cannot be achieved in the shadow of an indefinite foreign occupation. The U.S. military presence — opposed by more than three-quarters of Iraqis — inflames terrorism and delays what should be the primary and most pressing goal: meaningful reconciliation among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

This newspaper reluctantly endorsed the U.S. troop surge as the last, best hope for stabilizing conditions so that the elected Iraqi government could assume full responsibility for its affairs. But we also warned that the troops should not be used to referee a civil war. That, regrettably, is what has happened.

The mire deepens against a backdrop of domestic U.S. politics in which support for the ill-defined mission wanes by the week. Better to begin planning a careful, strategic withdrawal from Iraq now, based on the strategies laid out by the Iraq Study Group, than allow for the 2008 campaign season to create a precipitous pullout.

With four out of five additional battalions now in place, there is no reason to believe that the surge will help bring about an end to what is, in fact, a multifaceted civil war.

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