The Hard Lessons Of Iraq

Nearly 5,000 of our fine men and women died in Iraq.

Who’s going to explain Iraq to their loved ones now?

Who’s going to explain why, if it was so important that we had to go to Iraq in 2003, we just walked away?

Iraq is back in our living rooms every night. Only this time, it’s not a prime-time miniseries about how American military superiority topples the bad guy and democratizes a brutal dictatorship.

This time, it’s about a war with another bad ending for the United States — another Vietnam.

We’re watching the Iraqi government we created and propped up with billions being humiliated by a bunch of Muslim extremists in pickup trucks.

A third of Iraq is in the hands of ISIS. The Iraqi army, like the South Vietnamese army we trained before we bailed out of Vietnam, dropped their weapons, stripped off their uniforms, and pretended to be plumbers.

How can the families of our dead and wounded soldiers stand watching Iraq split into three parts and descend into a bloody sectarian Hell again?

I feel so sorry for the military families. What do you say now to a Gold Star Mother who lost her child fighting in Iraq?

Can you explain to her what her son died for? Or explain why we wasted 5,000 American lives and spent a trillion dollars there — and then left?

What was it that was so vital to our national interest that we went there in the first place?

If the whole idea of going to Iraq simply was to get rid of Saddam Hussein and his invisible weapons of mass destruction, we should have just sent some Special Forces guys in to do the job in the middle of the night.

Or we could have dropped a few smart bombs on Saddam’s favorite palace, the way my father did with Gaddafi in Libya in 1986. We didn’t kill Moammar; but after that, he didn’t misbehave.

I had serious doubts about the United States going to war in Iraq in 2003. But I joined the bipartisan parade and supported the commander in chief.

I figured George W. Bush knew more than I did about the situation in the Middle East. I also figured he had lots of good reasons to go to war and assumed his administration knew what it was going to do after our easy military victory.

The Bush II administration thought it was going to re-engineer Iraq into a democracy where Sunni, Shia, and Kurd would live in peace and harmony like Germans, Italians, and French do in Switzerland.

My friend David Hackworth, who died in 2005, knew better. He was the most decorated solider in the history of the United States, a critic of the military, and a great military journalist.

“David,” I once asked him, “when will there be peace in the Middle East?” His answer was blunt — “When they’re all dead.”

I’m afraid “Hack” was right. The most powerful country on Earth hasn’t been able to force peace to break out in the Middle East — or even just Iraq.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

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Comments

  1. RacerJim says:

    If I were an OIF/OEF Gold Star family member I would tell David Reagan to take his apology and shove it.

    PROUD Vietnam Veteran

  2. Linda From NY says:

    I agree with Michael Reagan about going to Iraq, we should had never enter into Iraq in the first place, 5000 lives lost and a Trillion of tax dollars spent, on what? training these people to defend their own Country and for what, they took off like scare rabbits. All of those precious lives of our sons and daughters were lost and now these muslims terrorist have taken over.

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