When did we decide we were at war with Iraq? Didn't we go to Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussein? Isn't he gone now? What are we doing there now?

No matter what you think of the non-existant connection between Iraq and 9/11, the reason we went there was to get rid of Saddam Hussein. He's gone. Who let the military decide we were then going to go to war against the Iraqi people? They think they're fighting some force of soldiers. They're not, they're fighting people who are pissed off that the US is acting like an occupying force in their country. The problem is exaserbated by the fact that we seem to only be causing havoc over there. People are dying in attacks against our troops and in attacks by our troops. We need to stop thinking of Iraq like Vietnam. We need to stop thinking of Iraq even as a war. It's not a war. We say we're there to help them but then we say we need more troops and more money to fight. STOP FIGHTING THE IRAQIS. THEY ARE NOT OUR ENEMY.

The military is locked into the war mindset. They shoot at us, we get more troops and shoot back. How about this: Take half the troops out. That way there are logically less targets for them to shoot at and less of our presence in the region for them to be pissed at. Then, after half the troops are gone, take a billion or two dollars of the hundreds we're spending on the care and wellbeing of those troops and start helping the people. Resupply and restaff hospitals. There are hundreds of military trained doctors and nurses sitting around doing nothing in Iraq. Let those people do their jobs. Let them help people. Someone whose daughter or son's life was just saved by a US doctor is much less likely to shoot at us. Take another couple of billion and rebuild schools. Stop thinking like a military occupying force and start thinking like people out to help. Iraq is now a major humanitarian aid program. Let other countries help, they'll be glad to for the good publicity if nothing else.

Take away the reasons some Iraqis have for hating us and they'll stop. Instead of giving billions in contracts to US companies, make the contracts contingent on hiring and training Iraqis to do the job within some reasonable timeframe. Instead of importing US based Haliburton employees, make them turn the operation over to Iraqis within 5 years. Hell, keep the Iraqi company owned by Haliburton even. Just make sure the jobs are going to Iraqis and the money going into their economy.

Whatever you think of the reasons we went into Iraq, we're there. We blew up the country and we need to help them rebuild it. We can't just leave. The only way to turn Iraq into a breeding ground for US-hating militants faster than keeping our military there is to leave and abandon the country to chaos. We have the money to help if we get out of the War In Iraq mindset, all we need is the heart to make it happen.

Then once we've learned our lesson over there, maybe we can use that heart to make the same changes in our own country.