2007-06-29 / Editorial/Opinion

Two Young Men Gone, How Many More Before We Know That It's Time To Go?

Another young Rockaway native has died in Iraq, this time, the victim of what is euphemistically called an IED - an Improvised Explosive Device. Sergeant Alphonso Montenegro, 21, graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 2004, when he was 19 years old. He joined the Army and was on his second combat tour in Iraq when the explosive device tore through his Humvee and killed him and three others from the Second Brigade "Dagger" Combat Team. He enlisted in the Army in order to pay for a college education and to go into one of the medical fields. He had come home in December of last year, but his unit was recalled when it became clear that there were not enough boots on the ground to satisfy President Bush's plan to pacify the dissident religious groups that have all but taken over the nation. Montenegro is not the first Rockaway man to die in Iraq. In August of last year, Belle Harbor resident Lance Corporal Michael Dennis Glover, USMC, 28, died when he was shot in the head by a sniper while trying to save other men in his platoon. The death of two Rockaway men added to the list of 3,560 others is two too many. It is clear by any standard that the majority of Americans are opposed to continuing a war that seems to bring nothing but more American deaths and less headway in bringing democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan. And, for what? It is just as clear that the Muslim fundamentalists who wrack the nation do not want American democracy or culture. The elected government cannot rule, cannot control the sectarian violence between the two warring Muslim factions - the Sunni and Shiites, who have been warring since the 13 th Century over who should have succeeded Mohammad, and probably will always continue to war between themselves. Should American citizens die standing in the middle of what amounts to a civil war? We think not, and most Americans now agree with us. The Surge has done nothing to quiet the nation. It has put many more Americans in harm's way - some for a second and third time. There was a popular song that helped to end the Vietnam War. The lyrics were telling. "How many times must a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?" President Bush and his minions must stop turning their heads. It is time for us to go, and perhaps we should worry less about what will happen to the Muslim factions should we go, and worry more about young men such as Alphonso Montenegro and Michael Dennis Glover, and those they left behind.

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