The American situation in Iraq has worsened critically since further fighting between Sunni and Shiite factions escalated into what strongly appears to be a country now in the twilight of a civil war. My prayers to my Lord are that soon the Bush administration, Pentagon officials and newly elected leaders find and develop a strategic and effective plan to pull our troops out without any further foreign or domestic attacks against any nation on God's earth.

Already a war where defenders of democracy have sometimes been burdened with substandard provisions, they more recently have become embroiled in a controversy between supporters and skeptics of the president's current policy on Iraq, and may now be questioning their individual purposes there. Being caught in this emotional shuffleboard, either individually or collectively, eventually promotes deterioration of morale within a unit, and perhaps an entire division. When this occurs, those affected become detrimental threats to other units of the peacekeeping mission.

The duty of a guerilla fighter is to cause the opposition as much terror, humiliation and confusion as possible at the least expense to his collective army by using tactics which are unpredictable and sporadic. Clandestine operations of any sort are applied, and Iraqi insurgents have incorporated many of the same tactics they for decades have used elsewhere. Recent reports of increased hostilities and suicide bombings now integrating into the mainstream of Shiite-Sunni clashes are only in the embryo stages; a sorrowful woe heading to all allied forces.

Presently battling an enemy often obscure and uncertain, the doubtful toll on peacekeepers ranges above awesome, as soldiers must always register many questions which can overtax their professional training to make prompt field decisions and not have to face guilt, or reprimanding consequences, later. Should Iraq's inner conflicts impact into a recognized civil war, allied troops would then be directly entrapped between two colliding forces. Enlisted troops and officers patrolling the streets, and elsewhere in Iraq, then would be involved in further attacks where, as the centerpiece in a crossfire, units would be divided in their personal defense, and in greater risk of suffering more casualties.

As all faiths within our community entered into respective holiday seasons, we should remember we all will face the same God, whoever you know him as today. Blend your prayers for the benefit of those serving in Iraq, and for our leaders facing this challenge to make the right decisions to bring them home. I further urge all who know or have a loved one serving in Iraq, to write them frequently and express your love and appreciation for them as human beings now, more than ever.

Nicholas J. Vocca

Ashtabula

Star Beacon Print Edition: 1/5/2007

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