Area Military Families React to Army Proposal to Keep Troops in Iraq Until 2009

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

Rockford's Jerry Pennington couldn't be prouder of his son Todd, an Army Reservist in Iraq since last December, who's not ready to leave until the mission is accomplished.

"If he feels that his presence is needed, or the presence of the United States is needed, than I support him wholeheartedly. I don't give him any second thoughts," Pennington said.

Pennington strongly supports the U.S. Army's top general, who is weighing the possibility of keeping 130,000 plus soldiers in Iraq until 2009. Though the human and financial costs grow by the day, Pennington argues if the U.S. closes out early, it would open up catastrophic consequences.

"Sure we've lost 1800 lives, and I'm liable to lose my son. We don't know what’s going on day by day, but if we go over there now with all this time we've put into it - time and money and the loss of life - it's not worth it now to pull out," Pennington said.

While his son hunts for insurgent bomb devices north of Baghdad, Pennington says Iraq's postponed completion of its constitution will go a long way towards making the nation better able to govern itself, and rely less from U.S. forces.

"I think the insurgents that's over there, whether its Iraqis or people from the outside Iraq that's causing problems, they are the ones that's going to cause even more trouble, and we're going to have to show our stance that we are standing behind the people," Pennington said.

Pennington believes even if a prolonged Army stay means another tour, another year in harm's way for his son, it's worth it. After all, it's his son - and thousands of other American troops - who are reshaping a nation, and re-writing history.

"I think the people who want our troops home don't know what it's like. They are all talk and no action, and their actions can be erased where the actions of our soldiers cannot be erased."

Actions and military service overseas from American troops which could last as much as four more years.


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