QUESTION: This week marks the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, which was predicated by a search for weapons of mass destruction. When students of history look back at the decision to go to war in Iraq 50 years from now, what kind of legacy do you think will the war leave? In the long run, was the war in Iraq worth the American lives lost?
Should have entered Iran as well
When all of our equipment and manpower were intact and finished in Iraq, we should have totally smashed Iran’s Radical Islamic minority, returned Persia to the Persians, and put a total and complete end the one sided 31-year Jihad against America, Israel, and the women of the world that The Code of Chivalry demand we protect. Imagine how life would be different today?
Worst foreign policy decision by the U.S.
I do give President Bush credit (at the time) for getting serious about our involvement with Iraq. For 10 years prior, America had been enforcing (and paying for) a "no-fly" zone while the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) inspectors played a cat-mouse game with the regime. Bush forced the hand and insisted they "put up or shut up." Unfortunately he felt he couldn't wait a moment longer (after 10 years) and succumbed to VP Cheney's drumbeat for war. Cheney has done away with the perfunctory "we" lately and just use "I' when talking about the Iraq decision. Had Bush waited a few more months, the AEC report would have come out stating what we found out the hard way, no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was just a puppet regime in its dying days.
We invaded with no plan as to what to do after "shock and awe," as if there was any chance Iraq could withstand our military. But we thought Iraq would be greet us with open arms and become a strategic ally in the region.
4,487 US military gave their lives; Over 32,000 US troops wounded and must be cared for.
Over $2 Trillion (yes, that is 2-1,000 Billion dollars) spent and untold billions ongoing costs for troops that served and need care.
And Iraq is about to lapse into a civil war and most probably fall under the influence of Iran.
We had the entire planet's support after the Sept. 11 tragedy.
We had the world's support(and shared cost) to invade Afghanistan and rid them of the Taliban, the enemy that attacked us.
We squandered that support and goodwill to invade Iraq.
My feeling is that history will judge this to be our worst foreign policy decision to date, by far.
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War in Iraq was a total disaster in many ways
The Iraq war was a total disaster in so many ways I'll only list a few. President Bush's ego trip, for starters, cost more than 4,500 American troops their lives to date and everyday several more commit suicide. Another 30,000 plus were wounded. To date that war is estimated to have cost about three trillion dollars all off budget with no end in sight and no provision to pay for it.
The cost of caring for those wounded physically and mentally will be compounding far into the future.
There were other direct costs which are hard to measure but the indirect costs are also substantial.
Iraq is now in chaos and is no longer a viable buffer against Iran. The war in Afghanistan was largely ignored once the war in Iraq started and was not as effective in eliminating our enemies there. Our standing in the area as a force for peace and democracy was damaged.
Perhaps the most damaging effect of that needless war was the diminished trust of the American people in our government, due to the way we were misled about the justification for the invasion.
Veterans important role models and need care
March 29, 2013 will be the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, for American troops. Almost 50 years and I’m still confused about what exactly is the legacy of that war. To preface my response, I am a veteran. I served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in-country in Vietnam for 11 months leaving in May 1972. I was not in a combat role, as were Marines and Army “grunts”, for whom I have highest respect for what they had to endure.
I think part of the legacy of Iraq will be the veterans who will be in leadership roles in business, finance, science, technology and government. Because of their experiences in Iraq they will have a greater understanding of what it takes to work together towards a common goal. Many of these veterans will be very apparent in our communities due to the advances in body armor used and the advances in military medicine.
To those wounded in combat zones, death from those wounds dropped from 24% in Vietnam to 13% in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have all seen the results, of the IED’s used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Corpsman on the ground is able to provide critical care immediately and get the wounded airlift to medical facilities. We have all seen the pictures of these soldiers who lost multiple limbs, yet were saved due to the above mentioned advances.
Page 3 of 5 - I had the heartfelt honor to meet Marine Cpl. Todd Nicely from here at the lake who sacrificed so much. He will be an exemplary role model of the fortitude and perseverance that will be the legacy of the men and women who served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is one facet of the Vietnam legacy which I hope isn’t part of the legacy of Iraq in 50 years. In 1979, 2.4 million veterans of Vietnam had to file a class action law suit regarding the diseases which resulted from exposure to chemical herbicides known as Agent Orange. It took 5 years for an out-of-court settlement by seven chemical companies. This was followed by challenges to the settlement and it wasn’t until 1988 that the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the settlement. Finally, in 1991, President George H.W. Bush signed the Agent Orange Act which mandated these diseases be treated as results of wartime service in Vietnam and the exposure to Agent Orange. If I may as a side note, to anyone reading this who served in Vietnam and isn’t aware of the diseases resulting from exposure to Agent Orange, go to www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange for more information. This now also includes veterans who served on the Korean DMZ from 1968-1971.
Unfortunately, I see part of the Iraq legacy being the Veterans Administration (VA) and their lack of resources to deal with the number of wounded servicemen in a timely manner. Sources I found indicated that during the Iraq War there were 32,221 military Wounded in Action (WIA). Just imagine if during the Iraq War the VA had to deal with the number of WIA which occurred during Vietnam, 303,644.
The news reports we hear about the backlog of service connected claims is a shameful and disgraceful scar on our government. The current and previous President asked these men and women to “go into harm’s way”. To not be adequately prepared to deal with the results of warfare on the human body is difficult to comprehend, especially in light of our history.
The last part of the question asked “in the long run, was the war in Iraq worth the American lives lost?” I can’t answer the question and make sense of the response. I still can’t say for sure that the friends I knew and lost in Vietnam were for a worthy cause. My father was in WWII, I was in Vietnam and my son, a Navy Corpsman was in Afghanistan. If when my grandchildren are grown and don’t have to worry about wars and serving their country in a fighting capacity, then I possibly could say, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country in some part or parcel did it for a worthy cause.
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American people misled about war in Iraq
This is such a hot-button issue for everyone. I personally think of the lives lost, the lives damaged, the veteran suicide rate, the PTSD, and think what a disgrace it is for our country.
4,500 are dead and thousands injured. We were told it would be short-term. We were told it would cost almost nothing. We were lied to about those weapons of mass destruction. The facts speak volumes and this is what historians will see. One life lost is too many.
On the financial side, couldn’t we have balanced our budget with the money we spent there? We still give money to places like Pakistan and they were hiding Bin Laden for years. I am unclear of the role our country wants to play on the global stage. And I don’t understand why America needs to stick their noses into everybody’s business. Iraq didn’t want us there. To me, this war was a desperate act by an incompetent president who didn’t know what else to do. Shame on us.
Ridding Iraq of Hussein helped Iraqi people
America has always had a proud tradition of standing up to bullies and supporting people who yearn to be free. We did it in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War. Our very founding as a country stemmed from our desire to be free from tyranny. The liberation of the Iraqi people from a despot was a noble endeavor and families of those who paid the ultimate price should be assured that the war was not in vain.
Saddam Hussein was a bully. He killed his own people. His regime was responsible for unspeakable atrocities on his own people. He bullied his Arab neighbors to the point that they turned to the United States for assistance. If he didn't have weapons of mass destruction, he certainly led the world to believe that he did. He was a clear threat to any semblance of stability in the Middle East, a part of the world which is arguably the birthplace of much of the world's problems.
If we are to have any hope for peace and stability in future generations, we, and our allies, have to take a stand against such despotic regimes. When I see questions like this, it reminds me of what happened in Vietnam, a conflict that developed in a small nation that wanted democracy over enslavement by a communist ideology, a war in which the American military never lost a single battle ...but we lost the war because of the politicians in Washington and the liberal media.
Page 5 of 5 - No one should ever be ashamed of America's efforts to help relieve the world of bullies and to help those people who desire freedom over tyranny. If there is any question that should be raised about Iraq, it should be "Did we leave before securing a lasting legacy of peace and prosperity?"
UN not accountable for Hussein’s actions
Hindsight is always 20/20
At the time it seemed like the right decision. If anyone is to blame it's the UN for it's total ineptness and of course Saddam Hussein for his arrogance. Pity that innocent people always end up paying the price for the decisions of mad men. Also we must consider we don't know the full implications of not invading. Perhaps they would be better perhaps not. I do say peace is what we want. What we should strive for. Ultimately it's also worth fighting for.
War nearly bankrupt the country
As stated above, it was a disaster in every measurable metric. The amount of money spent and the sad loss of soldier and civilian lives as well as the hit on our reputation in the world can never be recovered. Just as the terrorists on 9/11 had no idea how much destruction they could do to those buildings, they likely had no idea how successful the whole attack and the poor decisions made following would be in nearly bankrupting this country.