Be it in Burlington, Vermont or Burlington, Massachusetts, what really irks me is the status quo by which the discontented masses follow when dissenting against our government. Specifically, I am referring to the individuals, at the media and sub-media level, who continue to deface our great nation solely for the purpose of harming an administration’s legacy with little purpose or immediate progress visible on the horizon. What I find frustrating are the political zealots who do not do their research, refrain from substantiating their claims, and turn to counter-factual reasoning when disagreeing with national policy. Let me state that I recognize the legitimacy of a citizen’s prerogative to disagree with decisions made at a governmental level, and this notion brings to mind the overly quoted and trite words of Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That being said, I continue to disagree with statements that touch upon such concepts as pulling our troops out of Iraq or searching for some semblance of causality in the decision to invade Iraq. The former idea holds no political or logical weight. Pulling our troops in an immediate exodus would harm the democratic process, increase the viability of the present and future insurgency, equip the Near East with a cesspool in which terrorists can ferment (albeit the already existing pockets in the feral cities of Afghanistan and the Northwest territory of Pakistan), halt the existing watershed and contentious change of political democratization in the Arab world, and serve to undermine the last four years of American Foreign Policy, the Bush Doctrine, and the Powell Doctrine. Even if our intent was misplaced and poorly disseminated, that does not change the circumstances of the situation in Iraq. Our exit strategy must follow some logical rubric regardless of our original intent. A planned and tactical extraction that works in conjunction with the training of Iraqi troops and the dissipation of insurgents is a plausible solution that will take time. Americans must look past the short-term and embrace war with the long-term resilience that is implicit and necessary in American unilateralism. This Global War on Terror is being conducted in a piecemeal fashion and considering the decentralized terrorist system, all threats cannot be squashed but can only be reduced. Because of this, military might is not the only weapon we should use to combat terrorism (see the strategy present in the acronym DIME). Let us concern ourselves with long-term goals, the strategy, the tools and the risk involved in the war on terror, and not be misguided with short-term wishes that continue to infringe upon our success. This is neither the time nor the place to debate whether the war was justified, for there are great arguments for and against, but the fact of the matter is that America is there and must deal with this situation in the most beneficial way for America first and for the people of Iraq second. Consult the U.S. Department of State, the epicenter of America’s diplomacy, and they will agree with this claim, off the record. All extra-national interests are subservient to the interests of the United States of America. The idealists must get real (pun intended), take a step back, and realize that peace can only be attained, in this case, by a little bit of war. Counter-intuitive? Considering the circumstances, I think not. It is a terrible world and sometimes bad things have to be done for the right reasons but seeing that the political rhetoric cannot exclaim the veracity of this argument, you, the reader, will have to do some research, some reading, and trust me for now. In the meantime, stop airing every little grievance, separate short-term goals from the long-term, support our troops (unless you can use your magic wand, say an incantation, pacify terrorists and reclaim our troops) and tell Cindy Sheehan to give it a rest.