Thursday, September 2, 2010

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Fulfilling yet another promise, President Barack Obama has pulled out the last remaining combat troops from Iraq. Now Republicans are complaining that President Obama and the Democrats have not given enough credit to the accomplishments of George W. Bush. And they are absolutely right. So now, on behalf of all Democrats (if I may be so bold), give full credit for the Iraq War to George W. Bush and the Republicans.

I give them full credit for fabricating intelligence about doomsday weapons in order to lead us to war.

I give them full credit for creating a war without finishing the one we started originally, which stretched our military so thin that Osama Bin Laden was able to escape justice.

I give them full credit for creating a stronghold for Al-Qaeda and Iranian extremists in a country previously devoid of both these elements.

I give them full credit for Baghdad only having five hours of power a day despite being the capital of a country that sits on top of a massive amount of energy resources.

I give them full credit for spending over a trillion tax payer dollars.

Most of all, I give them full credit for the 4,403 dead American soldiers, 318 dead international coalition soldiers, and estimated 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians.

Make no mistake, this is no victory. There will be no ticker tape parades, and at this point, nobody is going to drape Mission Accomplished aboard an aircraft carrier for a cheap photo-op. It's hard to say what to do when a war ends that never should have begun, but we now have an obligation. The mental and physical toll on the soldiers that managed to return from this war is incalculable. We obviously didn't learn from Vietnam that a nation-building war against a shifting, guerrilla enemy is a futile effort. I can only hope that, despite forgetting that lesson so soon, we have not forgotten that anger about the war should not and can not be directed at our military. So many of those Americans who came back from Vietnam were forgotten by their country, as were the families of those who didn't. Let's not do that to the Americans who return from Iraq. The war itself may have been a partisan issue, but this is not. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, anybody who is reading this: Don't forget the true cost of war lies most heavily on those who fought it.


Chris Rhodenbaugh said...

I must say it is difficult to "like" this article, it is just so sad. We cannot allow the feeling of relief that we are ending combat operations make us forget the sacrifices from the troops and their families and the lessons learned about the role of the US military in the world.

Bill said...

Actually, the Opinion Research Business poll conducted a couple years ago came up with an estimated Iraq war death toll of over 1 million.

And we're still leaving about 50,000 American troops in Iraq.

Still, a very good post, Tim.

Rabi Abonour said...

I'm not sure I believe that 1 million Iraqis have died as a result of the war. Probably well over 100,000, but 1 million is hard to believe.

Good post.

Bill said...

That's a fair point. I've researched the matter more, and the OPB has not been forthcoming of their methodology for that survey, and calculating war deaths is a bit outside of their expertise as an opinion polling group.