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Missing Memorials to Two Lost Wars

| March 17, 2013

Detail from the memorial on Omaha Beach in Colleville-sur-mer, in Normandy. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Detail from the memorial on Omaha Beach in Colleville-sur-mer, in Normandy. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Can you hear it? If you listen carefully, you might detect the sound of indifference at what ought to be a significant marker. Ten years ago this week, American forces joined by a so-called “coalition of the willing” invaded Iraq in one of history’s bloodiest fool’s errands since Pope Urban II launched the first of too many Crusades a millennium ago.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive.com flaglerlive George Bush and his band of neoconservative brothers never found weapons of mass destruction. They didn’t win an ally in the Middle East. They didn’t reverse the decline in American influence there. They didn’t get the oil deals they were looking for, once Iraq figured out that it didn’t have to give anything away. But some 4,500 American soldiers did find their death there—a small number when compared to the more than half a million Iraqis killed in the war. And the war dug one of America’s greatest money pits since Vietnam, devouring close to $1 trillion.

The debt triggering paralyzing sequesters and making American politics look like buffoonery in the eyes of the world is a direct result of those criminal miscalculations. Thanks to an Obama administration complicitly smothering the past, not a single member of the Bush administration was brought to justice for those crimes. Afghanistan’s 2,200 American deaths and $600 billion waste so far doesn’t have more to show for it, other than once again proving Afghanistan’s resilience as western empires’ undertaker.

At some point not a single American soldier will be left in those ungrateful lands, not even in the form of American cemeteries like the 20 that pay tribute to the liberators of World War I and II in six European countries. I walked around the Normandy cemetery at Colleville-sur-mer earlier this month, on a hill overlooking Omaha Beach, where some 9,400 Americans are buried, their memory marked by white marble crosses or Stars of David. It’s a place of reflection now, but also a tourist stop. It nostalgically reaffirms what was once possible, what has been unthinkable since: the American soldier as liberator and hero.

Perhaps the brief and merely aerial Balkan interventions of the mid-1990s aside, World War II was the last justly fought war involving Americans. Its memorials reflect it, down to the recent, crassly triumphal World War II memorial on the Washington Mall, which—with its phallic and wreathed colonnade, its redundant fountains, its plodding granite demolishing the Mall’s old lines of elm created by Frederick Law Olmstead—could have been designed by Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect.

It’ll be difficult to memorialize the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are likely to be as grim and deceptive as the war themselves. How to do you put up a memorial to a crime? The Vietnam War memorial comes close. It does not pretend to celebrate or romanticize a colossal error. It’s a collective grave, listing, as it literally sinks below ground, every name of every American killed in Southeast Asia between 1959 and 1975.


We are getting hints of how the Iraq and Afghan failures will be memorializes. The wars, lost as they were from the start, aren’t celebrated. But the soldier is. We have the cult of the returning soldier, looped over and over again through those local-television clips of GIs surprising their child at school or at some dance. We have the cult of the uniform, honored and celebrated at major and minor sporting events, and reflexively praised in politicians’ speeches down to that “moment of silence” local governments are so fond of now, at the beginning of their meetings. We have the odd cult of the military, perceived as the least fallible, most admired institution in America even as it failed its last two biggest tests. It is the cult of war for its own sake, masking the futility and loss of wars we’d rather forget, of wars we are forgetting.

Memorials to soldiers are inevitable, even—if not especially—in loss, out of respect for the price they were forced to pay in vain. But they’re nowhere near the whole story, these war memorials. They never have been. The memorial that awaits and that may never rise, because it aims too close to home, is the memorial to the widows of war, to the orphans of war, to the mothers and fathers who saw their sons and daughters die before themselves. Ten and 12 years on, those are Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s heaviest costs, the costs that’ll never show up in any ledger or even in the history books, but that keep exacting a price from people living their lives with a void they’ll never fill.

You can hear the silence surrounding those victims, too. It’s easier to celebrate the uniform, to memorialize the dead and polish up that voiceless granite. It’s easiest to forget about those left behind.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here. This column is also syndicated through Florida Voices.

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25 Responses for “Missing Memorials to Two Lost Wars”

  1. forest says:

    Mr.Tristam well written. I totally agree with your observation. From a young age I watched the Vietnam war on T.V. And the more I watched and read the more I came to realize that I was next on the chopping block. Fresh meat for the war machine. Coming close to being drafted I joined the Airforce. I felt better to serve in a capacity that suited my terms. The broken men and women thier families were sacrificed in the name of profit and a government machine that rode the wave of patriotism that past wars carried. Today our nation fails to totally cleanup the sour constant intrusion onto other nations. As if we are so perfect as to pass judgement.

    Our nation swallows our young men and women spits them out. Lets start a new army one that protects our borders, builds infrastructure, and educates to build a nation of proud Americans not desperate Americans.

  2. Liana G says:

    Pierre, you quoted “devouring close to $1 trillion” but a recent report in Reuters has it at 2.5 trillion and increasing to 6 trillion to include the cost of other casualties including healthcare for the wounded. I guess Osama’s wish did come true – his aim was not to necessarily win the war, as Americans define winning, but to bankrupt America. Allah is great?

  3. Proud Soldier says:

    I was one of those Soldiers who have had the privilege of serving this great country in combat in the Middle East. I have had the misfortune of having to endure the horrors that accompany experiences related to combat experience and if asked to do so I would GLADLY do it all over again. Unlike some people who have never served or wore the uniform, I am a PROUD American who understands the price of freedom. I paid that price and have no regrets. This article is extremely offensive and disrespectful to those who have fought for their country and those who are currently engaged in combat operations. Maybe if the author of this article had his citizenship revoked and returned to the country where his ancestors are from, he might have a better appreciation for America. Especially, those who serve. If we don’t complain and we are the ones putting our life on the line, then who the hell are you to question our mission overseas. Sometimes I wonder why we fight to afford certain people freedoms?

    • Bunnell Resident says:

      Proud Soldier,

      I too have served twice in the middle east and I am proud of that service. For this I agree with you totally. Although I disagree with Pierre’s article, he is entitled to write it. Revoke his citizenship? I think part of the reason we serve is to defend the rights of those we disagree with. I wonder if Pierre would care to publish an article about Fast and Furious with the federal government conducting illegal gun running in Mexico, the Obama administrations refusal to enforce our nations laws as he swore twice to do so, etc. i find it ironic that Arizona passes its own immigration laws in response to federal incompetence and Obama sues Arizona. Colorado legalizes marijuanna in violation of federal law and Obama orders federal agents not to enforce federal marijuanna laws in Colorado. Selective enforcement based on what he agrees with is not upholding the laws of our land. The right course of action if he disagrees with the Defense of Marriage Act or any other federal law would first be to work with Congress and ask them to change the law. Obama the biggest hippocrite and greatest danger to our national security continues unchecked with zero scrutiny from the media. I want the truth on Benghazi, I want to see his college record, and I want to know if he took federal student loans by applying as a foreign student. Not one paper he ever wrote in college has ever been disclosed. The truth would be refreshing. I just wonder if the truth ever be known that he is not even eligible to be President, would all the laws he signed be null and void?

  4. Jack Howell says:

    I read with great interest what you wrote. You make some excellent points and valid statements in your assessment of these two wars. Afghanistan was a loss from day one. Did we not learn anything from the Soviet Union’s failure? The politicans get in and out of war. Unfortunately, the politicans don’t listen to the military professionals unless these professionals are “yes men”. Looking over the past few years of senior flag officer leadership in these wars I think this is the case. These flag officer’s were horrible as history is now starting to point out.They were looking out for their carrers only so you don’t say no to the administration. Rules of engagement have the taste of political correctness written all over them. It makes me sick that these ROE’s are mandated by our political leadership and forced upon the troops in the field. If you have never been in the heat of battle,you can’t relate! I have been in the heat of battle, watched troops die and was helpless to engage the enemy because of bull shit ROE’s. So let’s understand one thing. The United States has the best trained and equipped military in the world. We can win any war but not if our hands are tied behind our backs. This happen in Vietnam and is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is one other way to win these wars in the Middle East and other Third World Countries….cut the financial aid and take care of our Country’s needs first!

  5. confidential says:

    I totally agree…cut all financial aka foreign aid, as we can’t afford it! Lets aid our Americans at home first and bring all our soldiers home to be employed in repairing our decaying infraestructure with the trillions we waste in unjustified wars looking for invented WMD’s and already dead Osama and followers!
    If they want to kill each other out there in the world is not our responsibility to stop it any more as “we can’t afford it”.

  6. Freddy says:

    I have in the past disagreed with Pierre’s very liberal postings but I have to agree with him on this one.

  7. Pierre Tristam says:

    Proud Soldier:

    Your service is not in question, nor does the piece question the valor shown and respect due the professional soldiers like you who’ve put in their time in the Middle East. But you make a leap between service and valor as an individual and valor as a military mission, confusing the two. The two are not the same. I argue that Iraq and Afghanistan were enormous mistakes and involved war crimes. Those mistakes were triggered by the foolish ambitions of the Bush administration, and in Afghanistan reinforced by the foolish illusions of the Obama administration. I argue that the 6,700 American lives so far, and the well over half-million Iraqi and Afghan lives, were wasted. That’s not an offense to the soldiers. The wasting of their lives is the offense.

    You also make common assumptions about wearing the uniform and fighting for freedom that don’t apply here. As I’ve argued on several occasions, it does not take only wearing a uniform to protect freedom. Every day ordinary Americans who raise their children, go to work, teach, fight fires, arrest criminals, write physics papers, conduct bypass surgeries, drive school buses, empty septic tanks, volunteer their service, run small businesses or large, serve on government boards—all those Americans are engaged in protecting freedom in their own way. These days, they’re doing so more than soldiers fighting in the Middle East. Once again, I’m not saying that to criticize the soldiers themselves, but to point out the difference between the act of serving in and of itself, and the purpose to which that service is being put, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    You refer to service in the Middle East as paying the price of freedom. The fact is that by every objective measure (economic, political, humanitarian, strategic), the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have and continue to diminish our freedoms, not enhance them, both at home and abroad. At home, the two wars, along with the “war on terror,” have significantly scaled back civil liberties, expanded the powers of arbitrary government—the powers of searching and snooping our private communications, our bank accounts, our whereabouts—and dangerously expanded government’s power to arrest and even kill outside legal channels. The Constitution is severely weaker today than it was 12 years ago because of those wars. Soldiers have done nothing to keep that from happening. They have been pawns in the very instrument of making that possible.

    At home, economically, the wars have ruinously weakened the American economy, fought as they have been on credit—a credit we no longer have, as we once did. The wars will continue to exact a price in the trillions as we pay for the fallout in coming years. Soldiers have done nothing to keep that from happening. They are the instrument of the price we are paying, in vain, to dig the hole deeper.

    Abroad, and especially in the Middle East, the two wars have ravaged American prestige, they have ravaged American influence, and they have lost us more ground in the Middle East than we’ve gained, with Iran and Turkey (and even Qatar, in terms of diplomatic influence) far, far bigger strategic winners than the United States. We have done little more than lose. Soldiers’ service in Iraq and Afghanistan has literally been the instrument of that loss, even as it was portrayed as a defense of freedom, to make the loss go down easier with the American public, and of course to keep those tax dollars flowing. In sum, those wars have been wars on freedoms, not wars in defense of freedom.

    Finally, you make a disturbing comment that shows to what extent the notion of wearing the uniform for its own sake has overtaken the notion of wearing the uniform in defense of those freedoms you and I surely cherish. You suggest that my citizenship should be revoked to give me a better appreciation of the freedoms we enjoy. You must not be getting the irony of your statement. What freedoms are you protecting, if we are not to speak our mind, freely criticize, analyze and reassess what we are about, and in so doing hopefully make us stronger? Your statement would fit in a Soviet society. It does not fit in the America I know, or at least the America I prefer to know, and live for. If the only America you deem worth protecting is one where the rest of us must bow at your boots, unquestioningly, then it’s certainly not worth protecting or living for, and yes, I would gladly revoke my own citizenship and move, say, to Normandy, where the better notion of America is still appreciated. But we’re not there yet, even as those wars you’re defending are accelerating our way there.

    You, of course, are free to keep fighting your fight. I need not ask you the favor to keep letting me fight mine: you’re not in a position to grant what we have earned, and intend to hold onto and fight for our own way. In spite of the many wars on our freedoms, yours among them.

    • Bunnell Resident says:

      Pierre,

      Well written and for once I mostlyagree with you. (rare occasion). I would never endorse revoking your citizenship or even try to quiet your opinion. Your assessment on the wars I disagree with. War crimes? Did they begin and end with the Bush administration or did they perpetuate under Obama? If it is offensive to contemplate drone strikes in the USA as Rand Paul spoke out against, why is it ok to do it in Pakistan or any other country? As a former Soldier, if I fired into a building without verifying my target and ensuring I did not harm civilians, etc. I could be tried for a war crime. Drone strikes do kill innocent people and we are doing it in countries where we are not even at war. How would we feel if another country conducts a drone strike in Florida to kill an enemy of their country? Would we feel less offended if they actually killed only their intended target and that the target was actually a really bad person? Would the unintended killing of a few innocent civilians by a foreign drone strike be permissable, excusable, or would it cause us to go to war in response? What war crimes are you referring to. Are you saying the nation as a whole is conducting unjust wars that amount to war crimes? Or, are you just referring to the fact that in every war, some Soldiers do bad things? At least we prosecute our Soldiers who conduct war crimes. How do you feel about Benghazi? Are you outraged that we have done absolutley nothing to retaliate against the perpetrators even though they claimed credit for their actions and we know who they are? Will you consider a retaliation to be unjust and just another American folly? How about Libya. Was Obama right or wrong to support those who overthrew Quaddafi? How many people need to die in Syria before intervention would be justified? I prefer no wars and little or no intervention around the globe. Our biggest threat to freedom and liberty is right here at home. I just pray a real leader will come along and be elected President. Someone who doesn’t want to or need to hide his past or disguise his agenda.

  8. confidential says:

    While extreme conservationists keeps brainwashing 1 out of 3 Americans with their distortions, lies and prejudice, the rest of us in the less bloody “home battle front” will have to continuo fighting against it, as we have successfully done so far. Can’t wait for 2014 to clean House and Senate and move our country forward.

  9. johnny taxpayer says:

    What exactly are the war crimes you charge the previous (and I suppose if you’re consistent, the current) administration of? It’s a great line to throw out there and get people up in arms on either side, but it always seems to end there, without providing specific allegations. Are you alleging that invading Iraq and/or Afghanistan even after multiple UN resolutions and specific congressional authority is on par with the atrocities that ultimately led to the Nuremberg tribunals?

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      The Iraq war was sold on false pretenses starting from its false linkage to 9/11. It was an illegal war from the start, having not been sanctioned by the United Nations (as was the first Gulf War). You might remember that in early 2003 Bush tried to go to the Security Council to get his war authorization, but had to withdraw the attempt when even France would have vetoed it. Not a single member of the Bush administration was prosecuted over the deceptions and lies that, we now know, were fabricated to press the case for invasion, and that led to the proconsul year of disasters under Bremmer (whose leadership was itself, between its corruptions and bloodletting, also let off the war-crimes hook), through the Abu Ghraib scandal, where only a few small-fry nobodies took the fall for a sanctioned policy of torture that endured in Iraqi and Afghan prisons all the way to Guantanamo. Afghanistan’s origins had the cover of legality, but the Obama administration, beginning with its decision to launch a “surge” of its own in 2009, went down the path of its predecessor, then in my view certainly opened the war-crimes questions with its illegal drones war which, as you now, now claims to legitimately target Americans if need be. Throwing in the comparison to Nuremberg is a clever way to call a bluff, but let’s not make that comparison: we don’t have to be dealing with Hitler or Stalin, who are on altogether different scales of evil, to invoke war crimes (as Israel reminds us regularly with its bloody incursions on Palestinian territory). Nuremberg gave us only part of the story too, since the victors always exempt themselves, though I don;t see the difference, war-crimes wise, between a death camp and the firebombings of Tokyo and Dresden, among other immense urban centers leveled by air, which obliterated mostly civilians, or the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Iraq and Afghanistan have been revealing their share, on a different scale and minus the accountability.

      • John DeWitt says:

        Israel’s bloody incursions on Palestinian territory? Barely a square inch of land on this planet has not been conquered by someone. The only territory the Palestinains have is because Israel has been good enough to cede it to them. The lands Israel captured as a result of wars it did not start is legitimately theirs. What about rockets raining down almost daily on Israeli territory from Palestinian territory? Where is your outrage? Not to mention the rockets kill indiscriminately and are meant to terrorize the Israeli population. I suppose we take sides with whoever we sympathize with the most. As for me, I remember Israel and its citizens mourning the loss of American lives on 9/11. I also remember the Palestinians jumping up and down in the streets celebrating the attacks of 9/11. The Palestinians are not our friends, never will be and we have no reason to lend them support. Would you advocate the United States giving all the land back to Mexico it took from them in the Mexican American war? Obviously we took what is now pretty much all of the SW United States. Not to mention we burned Mexico City in the process. What about the genocide commited against our native American brothers and sisters? War crimes is an easy accusation but it is much more complicated than that. What we can be sure of is that as the world population increases, demand for resources will also increase. We can expect more not fewer wars which is just the ugly truth. I hardly count a sanction from the United Nations as anything that would lend legitimacy to any war. The United Nations is corrupt through and through. Nations inevitably will act in their own best interests. Assuming as you will that getting blessed by the UN for the first Gulf War made it legitimate, then the Iraq war must also be legitimate. There was no need to justify the Iraq war based on WMD. Iraq lost the Gulf War and part of its surrender agreement was they would allow unfettered inspections of facilities we suspected of having WMD. Iraq violated the terms of that cease fire/surrender during the Clinton administration. When weapons inspectors discover 3000 liters of sarin gas, Saddam kicked the inspectors out. So where did those 3000 liters of sarin gas go? Some of it was used to kill over 5000 Iraqis in one village alone. Yes, there were WMD. Was it as extensive as expected? No. Again, in war, the victor dictates the terms and that is what we did. Same with big government. When the government provides a citizen with welfare, medical care, free cell phones or anything else it becomes like your parents. You will then do as you are told or risk losing your parental support. As for me, I would rather die from a curable disease than live under government controlled health insurance. Redistribution of wealth is evil, corrupt, and flat out theft. I am so tired of the government trying to pick winners and losers in society rather than believing in free markets. It would be very refreshing for the federal government to just butt out of the economy. They can’t because stealing from some to buy the loyalty of others is where they derive their power. My favorite quote from Ronald Reagan: The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, the trouble is they know so much that is just plain wrong.

  10. johnny taxpayer says:

    Interesting. We probably agree on drone strikes, and how disastrous of a “administrator” Paul Bremmer was/is, but that’s probably the extent of it. Military action does not need “UN sanctioning” in order to avoid the claim that the action itself is a war crime, but even if it did there are a multitude of UN resolutions that provide a sufficient defense to that claim. The claim that the war was sold on “false pretenses” I suppose depends on what your individual definition of a “lie” is, not to be confused with the ridiculous “definition of is, is” argument put forth by the previous, previous, administration (who incidentally bombed Iraq on multiple occasions during his own tenure, and therefore is likely guilty of war crimes himself using your standard.), but the commonly accepted definition of a lie is essentially “knowingly making a false statement”. Notice that definition doesn’t include making a mistake, relying upon intelligence reports incorrectly, or even giving undue weight to intelligence reports that support your position, all of which could easily fall under such broad terms as stupid, perhaps ridiculous, or even idiotic if you’re so inclined, but does not however fall under, nor can they accurately be defined as a “lie”. If there was a war crime committed at Abu Ghraib it was the sensationalism given by the media which did directly lead to both American and Iraqi deaths not to mention no doubt extended the stay of the US military in Iraq by at least 3-4 years, not unlike the multitude of Coran burnings reported by the media, at least a couple of which were eventually shown to be entirely fabricated, but only after loss of life.
    You say the comparison to Hitler or Stalin is unnecessary for something to rise to the level of a war crime, yet it is exactly the Nuremberg Principles which define modern war crimes, because of Hitler. There is a huge difference between dropping an atomic bomb or fire bombing a city, and death camps designed for the sole purpose of eliminating an entire race, even if the bombing results in large “civilian” deaths. The former are actually acts of peace, designed to bring an end to war and the carnage and suffering that goes with it, the ladder, like actual war crimes, are simply evil acts to serve evil purposes. Forcing prisoners to form a human pyramid, making very poor decisions, or even being incompetent at your job (Brennon) do not rise to this level.

  11. Jack Howell says:

    Pierre,

    I think that General William Tecumseh Sherman sums it up best:
    .
    “War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”

    Nobody but politicans want war. However, when they release the dogs of war the objective is to win. There can only be one first place on the field of battle. My goal in combat is simple. Locate, close with and destroy the enemy…. I want the other guy to bleed to death for his country! I don’t want to see civilians killed but if it is a case of them or my Marines, they lose plain and simple. That is what warriors are trained to do and I was dam good at what I did! I make no apoligies!

    Colonel, United States Marine Corps (Ret)

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Colonel, as long as we have men like you watching our backs (men who know the measure of a bullet as well as the measure of a soul), the Republic has nothing to fear–from within or without.

  12. madirishman says:

    You write, “American forces joined by a so-called “coalition of the willing” invaded Iraq in one of history’s bloodiest fool’s errands since Pope Urban II launched the first of too many Crusades a millennium ago.” You also describe Vietnam as a “colossal error” but fail to mention neither that 58,000 American lives were wasted in that venture nor that it was escalated on a lie. To skip over Vietnam and compare Iraq to the crusades is, I think, a bit of a reach.

    Now Mr. Tristan, was it that President Bush lied to the American people or was it President Bush was lied to, or both, or neither? The Commander in Chief has the awesome responsibility of determining what might be a threat to the safety and security of the United States of America. There are many factors, that because of national security, we will never know all the details involved with securing this nations safety. I think the President did what he thought was in the best interest and security of the United States and he had plenty of advice going forward in 2003.

    One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.”
    – President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

    “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
    – President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

    “We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction.”
    – Madeline Albright, Feb 1, 1998

    “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”
    – Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

    “[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
    Letter to President Clinton.
    – (D) Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, others, Oct. 9, 1998

    “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”
    – Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

    “Hussein has … chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.”
    – Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

    “We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering them.”
    – Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

    “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”
    – Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”
    – Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”
    – Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

    “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”
    – Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/wmdquotes.asp

  13. Jim R. says:

    None of the above comments negate what MLK said in his speech at Riverside church, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the word today is my own country ”
    Who is droning six or more countries in violation of their sovereignty?
    Who sells or gives away more weapons than any country? ( including that sarin gas Saddam used on the Kurds)
    If you think the rest of the world sees the U.S. as using it’s military power as a force for good I have a bridge to sell you, they hate and fear us, they don’t love us.
    If you look at that commercial for the U.S. Navy and don’t see the irony of an aircraft carrier with a deck loaded with weapons of death and destruction, and calling itself ” A Force For Good ‘ then you are too far gone to reason with.
    Members of the military are taught to obey, not question, so of course they always see themselves as the good guys, whether they kill the enemy or innocent civilians.

    • madirishman says:

      To Jim R.

      Your right and I hope we can stop spreading violence, weapons and indiscriminate drone attacks but you know what? When that Navy hooks those aircraft carriers and other ships up to a port and starts producing fresh water and electrical power to some third world country hit by and earth quake (Haiti) or a tsunami (Indonesia, Sumatra, India, etc.) and start helicopter and medical services I’m sure some of those people are thinking this is “A Force For Good”, are thankful for it and many wish they could live in the land of the free and the home of the brave! Those that hate us…..maybe our government should stop giving them billions of our borrowed dollars.

      • Jim R. says:

        If they clear the decks of those weapons of war and focus on lifesaving and doing good things, then they will be “A Force For Good”
        As far as being the land of the free, as Pierre points out we are becoming less so since 9/11, to the point that it’s fair to say we are in a state of incipient fascism.

  14. Seadog says:

    Saddam and sons were psychopaths that needed killing, I dont have a problem with it. As far as Afganstan after 911, I would have been disgusted with the USA if we had not gone after Osama bin Laden. Like Murphys law says it allways costs more , takes more time and dont turn out how you think it would when you started, maybes thats Seadogs law.

  15. Sherry Epley says:

    As a peace loving woman, I simply will never understand why we ever would go to war (under any political leadership) with out having a clear set of goals firmly established. Why didn’t we declare victory and get out of Iraq immediately when Saddam was eliminated? Why didn’t we also declare victory and get out of Afganistan immediately when Bin Ladin was finally brought to justice?

    Why are we wasting precious lives and tax payers’ hard earned money on unending, undeclared wars? Consider the possibility that if the children of members of Congress, and the Executive branch of our government were required to serve at least 4 years in the “active” military, we would have far fewer of these horrible military situations.

    Why do we, as humans, never learn from our past experiences?

  16. Pierre Tristam says:

    From a story in today’s (Wednesday, March 20) Times: “A decade after the night that American bombs first rained down on Baghdad, the president joked about wearing a green tie for a belated St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Congress noisily focused on whether spending cuts would force the cancellation of the White House Easter egg roll. Cable news debated whether a show about young women has too much sex in it.
    But on one topic, there was a conspiracy of silence: Republicans and Democrats agreed that they did not really want to talk about the Iraq war. The 10-year anniversary of the American invasion came and went on Tuesday with barely passing notice in a town once consumed by it. Neither party had much interest in revisiting what succeeded and what failed, who was right and who was wrong. The bipartisan consensus underscored the broader national mood: after 10 years, America seems happy to wash its hands of Iraq.”

  17. Jim R. says:

    America can wash and wash but the blood will still be on it’s hands. directly or indirectly at least a million dead Iraqi’s, 4 million displaced, it’s historical artifacts stolen or destroyed , and after all our efforts they are in a civil war with death and destruction a fact of daily life. Sure we want to wash our hands of It, we have new places to spread our tender mercies and democracy, like Iran and Syria , so many countries, so little time.

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