National politics hits the local level

I know many families in the Valley read the recent news about our own James Crossan being injured in Iraq and instantly felt concern for their own family members or friends who may be serving overseas in the military.

Nothing anyone says can diminish the anxiety you may have for a loved one fighting for our country. But injuries to a local Marine put a face on the war that maybe we haven't had to up this point. Crossan, who will endure months of rehabilitation, made me think more about this whole Iraq conflict.

Maybe it's because recruiters are pestering my own senior at Mount Si, hoping to lure him to their branch of the armed forces after graduation. Whatever it is, it raises questions about our involvement.

People who know me, or consistently read my opinions in the pages of the Valley Record, may not agree with my approach or thinking. Hey, it's freedom that allows us to have any opinion at all. But some may say I lean to the Republican side. That's possible on some issues, but I honestly don't affiliate myself with either party. I have specific beliefs and neither party is cut and dried in supporting all of what I feel is important. So, after hearing and reading news accounts of the war in Iraq, I really started to question our need to send the James Crossans of our Valley to a distant location that appears in as much turmoil now as it did when ruled by a ruthless dictator.

Whatever it is we should be doing in Iraq, I'm not convinced there is a clear plan. I'm also not convinced that allowing continued insurgent attacks to sway our resolve with regards to our goals in Iraq is a good idea either. Does it send insurgents the message that America is growing tired of casualties and wants to bring troops home? Does that give them the impression they are winning? Does it help us the next time we feel the need to free an oppressed country from the stranglehold of a ruthless dictator?

So, what's the answer? It's easy for elected officials in Washington, D.C., to throw out their opinions. In fact, it's just about as easy as someone sitting in a publisher's office in Snoqualmie. But let's put together a real plan so this seemingly indefinite war will have a definitive goal and time frame. We can't always be the world's police force and, yes, I would be willing to pay $3.20 a gallon for bio-diesel if it meant my nephews wouldn't have to fight in the Middle East.

So Dave Reichert, as my elected representative, I hope you are hearing our concerns. I also hope our two state senators are listening because the support of your constituents in the next election is on the line.

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