Positive signs may signal changes in U.S. role in Iraq

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2003

As all eyes focused on the media whirlwind around West Virginia private-turned media heroine, Jessica Lynch, something quite significant happened in Iraq.

After a hurried trip to Washington by L. Paul Bremer III, the American administrator in Iraq, the White House said last week it planned to speed up the process giving independence back to Iraq.

At first glance, many felt this was a knee-jerk reaction by the U.S. plagued by an ever-increasing American body count.

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Now, it appears the plan to speed up the return to Iraqi independence came, not from Americans, but from members of the Iraqi Governing Council. Perhaps the announcement, followed by definitive action, will help dissuade further U.S. bloodshed.

I hope that's the case.

The Jessica Lynch television movie and book release sparked much conversation across America, particularly after the over-glamorized story of her capture and rescue were debunked a bit.

Perhaps the most interesting one was "Do you think she's still a hero?"

Of course she is: she along with every other American and Allied soldier who put on the uniform are heroes.

Regardless of whether or not one believes politically we should have ever fought the war in Iraq, the support for our troops should never wane.

Many, many Tri-State born soldiers have served in Iraq. Their lives have been changed forever.

Before the first shot was fired in Iraq, military officials knew that the venture would not be quickly resolved. The relatively easy part, if war can ever be easy, was the military domination. The toughest part, the nation building, will take years.

Bush administration officials now say they may be able to officially turn over the reigns of

governing to Iraqis by as early as June. And, since my nephew is scheduled to begin basic training for the U.S. Army in May, that deadline would come as wonderful news for our family and for countless other American families with loved ones overseas.

Regardless of whether the U.S. and new Iraqi government can make that deadline or not, U.S. soldiers will continue to be in harm's way for many, many months to come.

With a little luck and much prayer, perhaps the bloodshed will cease.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached by calling (740) 532-1445 ext. 12 or by e-mail to kevin.cooper@irontontribune.com.