LETTER: Conversations with a fly — troop withdrawals

To the editor:

“Pssst!” While on a nature walk, recently, I heard Fly-on-the-wall calling to me. “Have you seen any Secret Service agents around?”

Taken aback, I responded, “Uh, no, Fly, what gives?”

“Robert and President Trump are hunting. Evidently, I aggravate the president, so one of the agents is lurking around with a can of Raid.”

“Wow, Fly, why is he hunting with Mr. Lee while it’s pretty busy in Washington?”

“Well, Syria has him baffled lately, so he wanted to talk it over with Robert.”

“That’s not a bad idea, Fly. Mr. Lee has wisely advised the president not to pull our military from Syria. But what are they hunting for?”

The longtime Rockingham Guns & Ammo denizen sighed, “Aw, it’s Obama again. They want to haul him in for withdrawing from Iraq too soon and getting ISIS started.”

“That’s pretty tired stuff,” I noted. “Don’t they recall that President Bush and Iraq’s President Maliki reached an agreement and established a withdrawal timetable before Obama took office? Don’t they understand that Iraq’s government, not to mention about 75 percent of Americans, wanted us to leave? Why, Iraq wouldn’t vote for a status of forces agreement to protect our troops.”

Fly shook his head, “You should have heard them around the campfire last night. It’s no surprise that Trump couldn’t explain that U.S. abuses at the Abu-Ghraib prison, and a few others, left the Iraqis in no mood for keeping us around.”

“But surely they both appreciate that after sacrificing so much to establish Iraqi democracy, we couldn’t overrule their parliament and become dictators,” I noted.

“Heck,” Fly added, “I thought a president could explain to Robert that we just cannot put a lot of troops on diplomatic rolls. That works for a few of them attached to an embassy, but anything more requires a separate agreement.”

“Gee, Fly, did they not understand that Iraq was relatively stable by the end of 2011? Or that the Syrian civil war created a large area, and opportunity, for ISIS to grow? They only became a factor around 2014.”

“Whoa!” Fly chuckled. “You’re a bit naive about that campfire conversation. Even the hounds were yawning. They were busy enough keeping the marshmallows from burning over the fire!”

“Well, Fly, I’m still hopeful that Mr. Lee has Trump’s ear about Syria.”

“Speaking of that,” Fly chortled, “I flew into that ear, yesterday, and let me tell ya’ what I saw …”

“Enough, Fly, I don’t need THAT information!”

Douglas Smith