To The Reader's Forum:
I continue to be amazed by delusional attitudes of many pundits about U.S. involvement in Iraq. For example, refer to the P-J editorial on June 18, 2014 and the Cal Thomas column on June 19, 2014, wherein the writers still believe the invasion of Iraq was in America's national interests, and that the current sectarian violence should be blamed on President Obama for pulling out U.S. troops after 10 years of fighting a no-win war.
Thomas goes so far to quote Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" and the portion "that these dead shall not have died in vain" and connecting it to the fact of nearly 4,500 U.S. deaths during our time in Iraq. The obvious inference is that the situation in Iraq should receive the same level of "devotion to that cause for which [union troops] gave the last full measure of devotion" - saving the United States from permanent separation.
If Thomas' stated "noble cause" of invading Iraq was to eliminate a dictator and substitute a friendly democracy, and/or the dubious argument that Iraq could become a staging area for terrorists, then by all measures the U.S. would never be able to leave. Now that the majority Shiites are in power, they have effectively squashed involvement of minority Sunnis and Kurds. A "democracy" in Iraq is merely control by the majority. Sectarian violence is inevitable whether we have troops there or not. Further, at the time of invasion, the issue for Iraq was "weapons of mass destruction," remember? The staging area for terrorists was Afghanistan; remember 9/11?
Pure and simple, invading Iraq was war of choice done under false pretenses. While the soldiers went to war, believing in a code of duty, and died or were injured doing what was expected of them, it does not make the reason they went to war "noble, or even valid."
Thomas calls Iraq part of a "war for the future of the planet." If that dubious assessment is true, it is only because we created it. We sent hundreds of thousands of troops to the area and we did not win anything. If we keep hundreds of thousands of troops there we will not win anything, but U.S. troops will continue to die.
No one wants to say someone died in vain, but Iraq and other areas like it are simply incomparable to our Civil War, which took 620,000 soldiers' lives and wounded another 880,000.
Is no war in vain?